Pay-For-Popularity Social Net Badoo Gets £15.59 Million For Russian Expansion

Badoo, a photo-heavy social network that is little known in these parts despite having started in London, has given up 10 percent for a big 750 million ruble (£15.59 million) investment from Russian financial group Finam, with the aim of expanding in Russia. Launched in May 2006, Badoo eschews advertising and instead asks users to pay ($1, £1 or one euro) to give prominence to their profiles – some 20 percent of its 12.7 million members do so already, though the fee isn’t yet charged in the UK while it builds the user base. The site is most popular in south America, France, Spain and Italy, and has offices in 11 countries.

“Our first priority is to present the project on the Russian market,” Finam’s Alexey Baso told CNews. An office is opening in the country and the site is being translated to Russian, with an accompanying marketing campaign imminent. But Badoo will have to compete with the likes of Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte and Moikrug, as well as a localised version of MySpace; Facebook is also set for several localisations. Via TC.