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The Russian web giant Yandex has launched a marketplace for household services such as cleaning, plumbing, appliance repair and even delivery services.
The Yandex.Master platform resembles the likes of the recently well-funded Thumbtack, though it has the benefit of operating in Russia, which its U.S. rivals do not. The company will only deal with service companies, whether they are small or larger like the Taskrabbit-esque YouDo, rather than individuals.
“We want to sign off a contract and to control the quality — both are quite tough to realize if you work with individuals in Russia,” a Yandex spokesman told me.
Yandex.Master is beginning operations in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. At first, it’s a desktop-only service, though the company is planning an iPhone app too. It is initially free for both users and providers, though Yandex said on Tuesday that “monetization is expected to begin next year” by charging providers a fee for each client contact.
This is yet another example of the tech world’s mania for middlemen, but remember that Yandex has more than 60 percent of the Russian search market – it is well placed to insert itself into various value chains, if it’s able to help providers drum up more business.
The company already offers a taxi service aggregator called, naturally, Yandex.Taxi. The company said it now handles over 700,000 taxi bookings each month in Moscow and Saint Petersburg alone.
Outside of search and the so-called “sharing economy,” other services from the company include the Dropbox competitor Yandex.Disk, and a bundle of Google-rivaling services for forked Android devices called Yandex.Kit.