Yandex, the Russian mega-portal has signed a partnership deal with Mail.ru, one of the largest sites in the RuNet. Mail.ru provides email and portal services, much like Hotmail.com, and currently has a 5.7% stake in the Russian search market. Google had been providing the search facilities on this popular portal up to the end of 2005; a useful foot hold and venture into the Russian market. According to the independent statistics site, LiveInternet, Google currently has a 13.8% stake in the Russian market, compared to Yandex’s 51.9%.
Under the new partnership, termed a strategic alliance by both parties, Mail.ru will be given access to the search facilities of Yandex as well as joining them into their new contextual advertising program: Yandex Direct. Adverts from Yandex PPC customers will be displayed across the Mail.ru portals and network of holding sites.
This network of sites has an estimated monthly audience of more than 15 million users or 80% of the entire audience of the Russian Internet. Among the holdings of Mail.ru are:
- Mail.Ru: the largest Russian Mail service
- List.ru – the oldest directory of RuNet
- Molotok.ru – popular Russian auction site
- Torg.ru – the commercial portal
Mail.ru examined many potential partners, including several large Russian and foreign search systems, including their previous supplier [Google]. “The decision to select Yandex as our partner, with their systems of contextual advertisement and search, was accepted on the basis of the sum of many factors”, said Dmitry Grishin, Director-General of Mail.ru. “On the one hand there is the possibility to give our portal users a high quality search mechanism, adapted for the Russian users; On the other – due to this collaboration we plan to considerably increase our incomes from the sale of contextual advertisements ”
Mail.ru and its holdings represent a sizable asset in the RuNet. It must be quite a blow to Google to have their contract ended at Christmas. Far from merely competing with the big three SE’s, Yandex now seems to be pushing them out of the Russian market.
Source: Yandex News
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