While Google has dominion in most countries, in Russia it’s just a footnote to Yandex, the country’s leading search engine. To ensure the continued market-share leadership, Yandex has partnered with the search site known as Rambler.
Yandex’s Partnership Fortress
There are five – count them, five – Internet-ready countries that don’t turn to Google as the primary search engine. For the curious, those countries are China (where Baidu leads), Japan (where Yahoo Japan, whose results are run by Google, leads), Taiwan (where Yahoo leads), South Korea (where Naver leads), and Russia (where Yandex leads). Russia’s Yandex, which recently went public with a $1.3 billion IPO, is unwilling to give up that spot, and has partnered with Rambler to ensure just that.
In some ways, this deal looks similar to Microsoft’s partnership with Yahoo: Yandex is running Rambler’s search and ad element in much the same way as Bing is running Yahoo’s. However, the purpose is quite different.
While Microsoft and Yahoo were joining forces in a bid for survival against the monolithic beast that is Google, Yandex is already the superior entity (64.8 percent of search market share) and is fighting to keep a one-sided fight going in its favor. It would be more like if Yahoo had decided to throw its chips in with Google back in 2010.
Rambler is no small deal. Founded in 1996, Rambler now reaches 14 percent of Russia’s Internet-accessing audience: 4.2 million users. That number increases to about 17 million if you include all of Rambler’s side-projects. There are plenty of those: the Lenta.ru online newspaper, the Top 100 internet catalogue, the Price.ru product comparison site, and the Rambler-ICQ instant messaging service, to name just a few. However, since many of these sites aren’t search-oriented, Yandex won’t be reaching all 17-million users.
This isn’t the only partnership Yandex has forged, either. The company is taking care of ad and/or search elements on Russia’s Bing.com, Odnoklassniki, Livejournal.ru, Mail.ru, Nigma.ru, and Qip.ru. It should be noted, however, that several of these sites use Yandex’s input as a complementary feature to their own advertising or search elements.
Rambler provides an ideal example. According to TechCrunch, “Rambler will [also] show ads placed via Begun, a contextual advertising platform, in which Rambler has controlling interest.”
In any case, Yandex’s deal solidly fortifies its position of dominance in Russia.