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Yandex and Seznam video deal points to a realignment of Eastern European search

Strategically a very significant step was announced in eastern Europe today — Yandex’s video search system is to power Seznam as part of a wider partnership agreement! The video search service is at videa.seznam.cz and has been re-developed specifically for Seznam, the Czech language and its users. Seznam has a leading 56% share of the Czech search market according to Toplist’s November 2011 figures.

The new video search engine is based on the Czech language, and takes into account the Czech grammatical structure. Users will also soon be able to automatically correct spelling mistakes and typos in their search queries using the service.

However, this arrangement is much more significant than just a sharing of video technology. Yandex has expanded its team to include members from the Czech Republic which means that we can expect much more cooperation to come out of this partnership.

It makes sense for the two most successful slavic search engines to cooperate in this way and could be a precursor to a complete re-alignment of search marketing in eastern Europe.

Seznam’s new service is based on the same technology as Yandex.Video, Yandex’s video search service for the Russian-speaking audience. Users can search for videos both on the Czech internet and across the entire web. Videa.seznam.cz searches on more than 200 Czech video resources and currently works directly with twelve major video hosting services, including Idnes.cz, Stream.cz and Voyo.

“Yandex and Seznam first met ten years ago and have since stayed in touch, sharing our experiences,” says Arkady Volozh, CEO of Yandex. “Our companies have a lot in common. Like Yandex, Seznam is the leader in its home market, despite the presence of major global players. We are glad that we are now not just colleagues, but partners who share technologies with each other.”

During my last visit to Moscow, I was fortunate to discuss Seznam with CEO Arkady Volozh. It was apparent then that Yandex’s view was that cooperation made most sense. Seznam, the smaller partner in the relationship, may have been concerned about being overshadowed by a much larger partner. However, the threat from Google in the Czech Republic and eastern Europe generally has clearly helped the management team to revise their thinking.

“Seznam.cz and Yandex both share the same goal of keeping the world of search diversified. We are happy that the mission of the company whose video search technology we chose out of four competing search providers was similar to ours. We also appreciate long-term partnerships and are happy that Seznam.cz together with Yandex will bring video search to Czech users,” says Pavel Zima, Chief Executive Officer of Seznam.cz.

Every day, about three million web users visit Seznam.cz. Over 5% of queries on the web portal are related to video search.

Seznam.cz is the largest Czech Web portal visited by every Czech internet user at least once a month. On its homepage it provides up-to-date news, information and e-mail, as well as search engine and links to field-specific websites also belonging to Seznam.cz (such as real-estates offers, car offers, etc.). Seznam.cz uses its own search engine technology. It is the only Latin alphabet technology all over the world that managed to keep the majority on the local market in spite of Google´s presence and trial to change this situation.

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Andy Atkins-Kruger

CEO at Webcertain
Andy is the CEO of Webcertain. He is a trained linguist with 20 years of experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. Webcertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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