A year ago, on April 21, the founder of the social network "VKontakte" Pavel Durov found out about his dismissal from the post of general director. This was the result of a long corporate war that he waged with the Mail.Ru Group and the UCP foundation. “Thus, today VKontakte is under the complete control of Igor Sechin and Alisher Usmanov. Probably, something similar was inevitable in Russian conditions, but I'm glad that we lasted seven and a half years,” he wrote then. A week later, the entrepreneur became a citizen of the Caribbean state of Saint Kitts and Nevis and focused on the development of his new project, the Telegram messenger. Durov’s affairs are quite successful, last year he was included in the international list of promising young entrepreneurs, his messenger became popular all over the world, well-known publications like Wired or Dazed interview him. Life around remembered what happened during this time with the largest Russian social network VKontakte.
In September last year, the long history of the sale of VKontakte ended. Mail.Ru Group media holding, owned by Alisher Usmanov, completely absorbed the company. He bought 48% of the shares from the second shareholder of the social network - the UCP fund Ilya Shcherbovich. The deal was then valued at 1.47 billion dollars.
After that, the holding agreed to terminate litigation between Durov and Shcherbovich. And on October 10, Alisher Usmanov even congratulated Durov on his 30th birthday from the pages of his newspaper Kommersant. Scherbovich, on the other hand, began to work in a different market: recently it became known that his fund and Gazprombank had bought Stroygazconsulting, which had once received large contracts from Gazprom.
Boris Dobrodeev. Photo: ONF / TASS Press Service
Relative of VGTRK
After Durov left, Boris Dobrodeev, son of the General Director of the All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company Oleg Dobrodeev, became acting director. Since 2013, he served on the board of directors of Mail.Ru Group and worked on VKontakte as deputy director for investor relations. After Mail.Ru became the sole owner of the social network, Dobrodeev became the head of the company. A little later, he became the director of strategy and development of Mail.Ru Group.
Recently, he spoke in the State Duma and asked deputies for tax benefits. "Our company is actively competing with Google, the major Chinese players in the Internet market. Many of them have significant tax benefits in their countries, and it would seem logical for us to provide similar benefits to Russian Internet companies," he said.
Last year, the social network disabled the ability to embed video from it on other sites. In parallel, she began to collaborate with Channel One: he began to post on VKontakte his programs “Evening Urgant”, “Let them talk”, “Health”, “While everyone is at home”, “Just like that”, “Ice Age”, Posner, What? Where? When ?, Man and Law. Videos are monetized due to the built-in advertising, the revenue from which the social network is shared with the TV channel. Pirated videos of the same programs are deleted by moderators.
In addition, VKontakte began sending people who wanted to watch popular foreign TV shows to the Amediateka online cinema, receiving a commission for everyone who visited the site. So from the largest online warehouse of pirated content, the social network is turning into an advertising platform for film and television producers. For example, a video search for a new episode of Game of Thrones does not return results.
Headquarters "VKontakte". Photo: Fotografff / Shutterstock.com
After the fall of the display advertising market, Mail.Ru Group decided to focus on new sources of revenue. In particular, she intends to post more mobile and video ads. This is not least true of VKontakte, because its rival Facebook has already relied on video content.
The social network wants to place more advertising and is trying to become more comfortable for companies. She recently launched a community post metric that numbers over 10,000 users. Their administrators can find out how many people saw the post, followed the link and shared information. It is assumed that this option will help brands and advertising agencies more accurately evaluate the effectiveness of advertising on VKontakte.
The number of VKontakte failures has increased markedly in the past year. The reasons were different. In the summer, the social network fell due to the heat. In September, users of some countries could not access the site due to a cable break in Finland. January 24, there were problems with the network equipment.
In April, the social network fell for several days in a row. The company's operations director Andrei Rogozov explained the technical problems by a contest in one of the popular communities, which attracted too much user attention.
By the way, Durov himself recently also publishes on VKontakte mainly messages about contests for Telegram developers. For other reasons, he now writes on Twitter in English.
Cover: Hubert burda media