DER SPIEGEL - Andrey Andreyev wants to make his Internet startup the next Facebook, he says, “the next $100 billion company.” From his offices in London, Andreyev oversees Badoo, a growing online-dating and social-networking site. Badoo has 157M members globally, with ~100K more joining each day. The site is part social network, similar to Facebook, and part dating service. Market research shows that 16 of the 20 most popular websites in Europe are American, while the remaining four are Russian. Indeed, the IT boom is the Russian economy’s most notable success since the fall of the Iron Curtain. Another major player in the Internet industry is search engine Yandex. Yandex is the only comprehensive, global search index other than Google and Microsoft’s Bing. Yandex has 3,500 employees with 60% market share in Russia, outstripping Google. It has expanded beyond the borders of the former Eastern Bloc. Yandex hopes to win away up to 20% of Google’s market volume in Turkey. The climate, both in Russia and online, has grown harsher since Putin took over the presidency from Dmitry Medvedev in May. As president, Medvedev liked to be photographed with an iPad, he kept a blog and he presented himself in his Sunday speeches as the Internet’s greatest protector. As recently as December, Putin lauded the Internet as “free and enormously democratic.” But that was campaign rhetoric. The new Internet law allows authorities to block websites without a court order.
by Benjamin Bidder
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