Mail.ru kills its Twitter killer, wants a bigger slice of VK

Gigaom

In January 2012, I reported how the big Russian portal operator Mail.ru was aping Chinese peers by launching its own microblog service.

Whilst China’s Twitter clones have flourished, as it approaches its first anniversary, Mail.ru’s Futubra is to be closed. According to a message on the website:

“Every day since launch, we have improved and developed Futubru.Unfortunately, this was not enough for sustainable growth of the project. So, we decided to close the project.

“For us, it was a great experiment, and the knowledge gained in the course of it is extremely valuable. Our team has switched to new projects, which you will hear about in the future.”

Figures for Futubra’s user based are not available. East-West: “Mail.ru Group CEO Dmitry Grishin had publicly conceded this past July that Futubra’s audience was not meeting expectations.”

What is known is that Grishin and Mail.ru’s largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov are hoping to add to their 39.9 percent stake in leading Russian social network Vkonakte (VK).

“If there is a reasonable market opportunity, we plan to increase our share in Vkontakte. Concrete negotiations are being held on a continuing basis … and we’ll [soon] reach our goals,” Usmanov said last week (via East-West).

“We are interested in acquiring any [additional] stake in Vkontakte. I believe in this company, which will be the phenomenon of the Russian internet.”



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