Friday, September 11, 2009

Russian Social Network - ( plans to compete globally against Facebook and MySpace

Social networks have spread enormously within only the last couple of years. Although Facebook is a global leader(230 million users, acc. to eMarketer), followed by MySpace (130 million), there are still a number of similar online platforms leading locally, such as: StudiVZ(Germany)- over 15 million users, Tuenti(Spain)-around 13 million users (comScore), Skyrock(France)-over 17 millions and VKontakte (Russia) - over 42 million users.

Even though accused for its high similarity with Facebook's interface, often called "Facebook's clone" (see the picture below), VKontakte (translated: InTouch) has rapidly grown its users' data-base and has now plans to compete against Facebook globally.

It has acquired a new domain name: (as confirmed by GoDaddy, September, 2009). Also, according to their Executive Director, Lev Leviev, VKontakte is planning to launch globally in the nearest future. Moreover, as of October 2009, Vkontakte will become avaliable in 12 language platforms (at the moment there're only 4: Russian, Ukranian, Belarusian and English).

Judging by recent statistics (view comScore link below), Russians spend more time on social networks than the rest of the world. Among the 40 individual countries reported by comScore, Brazil follows Russia at 6.3 hours, whereas Canada registers 5.6 hours, Puerto Rico - 5.3 hours and Spain - 5.3 hours. The United States is ranked number 9, with 4.2 hours and 477 pages per visitor per month.

Interestingly enough, a new study made by Mobile Marketer (January 2009) shows that Facebook and vKontakte are now the most visited social networks for mobile Opera Mini users, according to Opera's latest State of the Mobile Web report.

So, although local social media champions are facing promissing uprise, the question is : could they compete on the global market, by convincing the international audience? Clearly, the focus will be on innovation and distinct marketing techniques applied locally.

Would be great to hear your thoughts on this news or similar stories.

Sources that caught my attention while preparing this article:

1. TechCrunch Europe:

2. Mobile Marketer :

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Alan Jordan on September 12, 2009 at 2:49 PM said...

It's true. Russians spend a lot of time on their computers; they have a true passion for it, and they are also very good programmers.

I know, because I have lead some international software programming teams.

I will have one reservation. My experience in working with Russian programmers is that it is important to make certain that all firewalls are well established. I would like to make certain that this site respects my privacy, and that I do not attract hackers by being on it.

To be honest, I also have these concerns with American sites, so perhaps it shows bias on my part, and for that I'm sorry. However, my bias is based on experience. I feel that others may have the same reservations. So, V.K., please address these concerns in your U.S. product launch, and I look forward to enjoying your site.

Nadya Tatarciuc said...

Thank you for this comment, Alan. I agree, there's a huge need for research if they plan a successful product launch.

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