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New club for Russian search leaders

Last weekend saw the launch of the first Internet and Business conference to be held in Russia. It was a prestigious event and most of the companies and individuals shaping the new Runet were in appearance. With the current surge in investment and growth, the atmosphere was charged. It was a celebration of the last 10 years with many of the early adopters, such as Rambler, reminiscing on the progress the industry has made in that time.

During the banquet meal on the Saturday night it was announced that Yandex, Rambler, Mail.ru and RBK would be forming a professional branch association to represent search engine interests in Russia. This group will be used to discuss common issues facing the search providers as well as acting as a central contact point and policy maker.

The central objective of association will be shaping of united positions on different questions in the region of business in the Internet, interaction with the state, public organizations and with other professional branches.

Google /Yahoo! and MSN were not in attendance at the convention and it was unclear whether they would be invited to join this official body. The “Russian club” has conducted a series of in-house mergers and deals of late, with Yandex in particular aggressively pushing their market share; for example the ousting of Google from their contract with Mail.ru last December.

Indeed the attitude towards Google’s recent announcement to open an R&D centre in Russia was dismissive. With estimated staff levels of 100 engineers by the end of the year it was considered a publicity stunt rather than a serious effort to address their market share in Russia.

Source: Yandex News

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Nick Wilsdon

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