After negotiations last year, Google won the contract away from Yandex to provide Mail.ru with contextual and organic search results. However, it’s become clear that instead of a transition from Yandex to Google, Mail.ru seems to have decided to go it alone and use results from their own in-house search engine Gogo.ru.
This shouldn’t be too surprising. As I noted back in December, Mail.ru always had aspirations to enter the search market with their own technology. In one move they have managed to make Gogo.ru the third largest search engine in Runet with 9.1% market share.
Google still has the contract for their contexual results which makes Mail.ru their largest Russian publisher but it seems the plucky engine has decided that they need to carve their own place in the market. Google should look out for signs of them developing their own contexual system.
As my friend Svetlana Gladkova points out, the initial deal may have been to keep Google organic results as a backup plan while they tested Gogo.ru under pressure. Now the tests have been successful they have no reason to use Google results.
So Yandex loses the extra market share that Mail.ru provides but importantly to them, Google makes little ground on this deal. Yandex will keep their position as market leader with a comfortable 55% against Google’s 30%.
Time will tell if Mail.ru market share continues to climb. On historical evidence, Gogo.ru was not well received by Russian users with a market share of 0.3% at it’s peak in July 08 which tailed off to 0% for the last 9 months. Mail.ru is giving their search platform exposure but if the results are poor it may prove a risky strategy.