Odnoklassniki head Ilya Shirokov: we have no plans for world domination, not yet!
I 11 July 2012

Odnoklassniki head Ilya Shirokov: we have no plans for world domination, not yet!

What was the purpose for launching the English version of Odnoklassniki? Do you plan to re-brand the network as ‘OK’ (or somehow else), the way VKontakte was renamed VK?

We have no plans for world domination, not yet! We wanted to have an English version so that the 20% of our users, those who live outside the CIS, could use the platform to communicate easily not just with their former compatriots, but with the English-speaking locals as well. Odnoklassniki subscribers today live not only in the former USSR countries, but as far as Brazil, Australia and some 220 nations around the globe.

What is your strategy for OK’s mobile service? Will there be more new, specific services added to the mobile offer, like mobile games, photo storage, etc.?

Odnoklassniki mobile version is very important to us, especially when more than one third of all users actually log in to the network from their mobile devices. In some countries, Uzbekistan, for instance, mobile Internet is even more widespread than broadband. That is why, our mobile version supports practically all the functions of the basic version: you can upload photographs, comment on status messages, etc. We also pay a great deal of attention to applications for various mobile platforms. For example, the iOS app supports video calls and streaming audio. Our aim is to allow subscribers to have full access to all our services, regardless of where they log in from: laptop, phone, tablet or any other device.

Many experts are skeptical about monetization prospects of long-existing social networks on mobile platforms. What steps is OK planning to take in this direction?

We see no significant revenue difference between our basic and mobile versions. I’d rather say that it’s easier for people who have a nice smartphone or a tablet to pay for the services. For instance, quite a sizable number of our subscribers play online games on their mobile gadgets. They are an active, a solvent audience. If a social network owner wants to have good monetization prospects, all they have to do is make sure that the mobile version they offer their users is a handy one.

What new tools is OK going to offer businesses, and how will this direction develop?

We are actively re-working Odnoklassniki groups. Soon they will become more convenient for companies and agencies. There will also be changes made to brand groups and official pages, we will introduce group stats and categorization.

How will OK’s platform for developers evolve?

We have always paid a lot of attention to games and applications developers, and we do sel ect the most interesting, the highest quality games for Odnoklassniki users. We cooperate a lot with developers, and we are moving towards developing mobile platform games, following the general market trend. We constantly keep developing our partnership schemes. For instance, app developers can earn on Odnoklassniki, they can now receive money from both users who pay for the apps and fr om advertising.

Recently Odnoklassniki has been on the news quite often with more and more local versions. What is the reason for such a regional strategy?

Odnoklassniki is among the most popular social networks in many countries. In some of them, like Moldova, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Georgia, we are the market leader, and these countries are wh ere we started implementing localized versions of the network. Localization process happens in a few phases: first the site’s mobile version is launched, then the basic version. For Odnoklassniki, localization is not just about translating the site into this language or that. The plan is to adapt the content, too. Our goals are rather obvious, as we do our best to let the users communicate with their friends and families in their native language.