Summary:

Russia’s top social network Odnoklassniki.ru is testing Google’s search box, both companies confirmed to business paper Kommersant, in a pos…

Russia’s top social network Odnoklassniki.ru is testing Google’s search box, both companies confirmed to business paper Kommersant, in a possible ad-sales split between the two companies in one of the world’s fastest growing online ad markets. With Google’s acquisition of RuNet portal Rambler’s Begun contextual ad agency recently blocked by anti-trust authorities, the search tie-up could offer a further foothold in a market that is booming despite the U.S. slowdown in the growth of web ads.

One Russian ad agency boss told Kommersant that an Odnoklassniki.ru deal would add five percent to the 32 percent share of the Russian ad market Google (NSDQ: GOOG) would enjoy if the Begun deal goes ahead. It’s said to be the brainchild of new president Nikita Sherman, who has set about adding more paid features and driving monetization opportunities. Kommersant says the deal could make the portal an extra $1.5-$2 million next year, though the estimate isn’t explained.

Odnoklassniki, a classmates network, claims over 22 million accounts and six million daily users and is Russia’s third-biggest site with 10.4 million monthly uniques, behind searcher Yandex and portal Mail.ru, according to TNS. Google has 33.1 percent of Russian searches, behind Yandex’s 46.3 percent, while Mail.ru has 8.1 percent, according to Liveinternet. Russian web ads spend grew 73 percent year-on-year in H108 and was forecast to reach $600 this year (MindShare Interaction); longer term, it’s forecast to grow from 2007’s $400 million to $4 billion in 2017 (Lehman).

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