Yandex Establishes Toehold in Turkish Search

A year after Russian search engine Yandex announced its intention to expand into Turkey, the company announced it has taken some 2% of search.
That may seem like small beer, and it leaves the rest of the world’s 16th largest economy firmly in the grip of Google, but Mehmet Ali Yalçindağ, chairman of the board of Yandex, Turkey, is confident that the company will secure at least 25 and possibly 30% of the market.

“We can get to 30% easily,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “The only question is whether it takes us three years or five.”

The reason for Mr. Yalçindağ’s confidence comes from Arkady Volozh, CEO of Yandex. Speaking at a press event here at DLD in Munich he coined a law of search. In the six countries in the world that have meaningful choice in search, he said there are “three orbitals.”

He said: “The first orbital company will take about 60% of the search market, the second takes about 30%, all the others will account for about 10%.

“In the other countries it is about 90% to 10%.”

The irony of a Russian born in the Soviet Union bringing choice to a Western country is not lost on Mr. Volozh. He said the test for Yandex would be in the next few years. A 2% market was on line with their projections, but if they are to hit 30% in five years they will need considerably larger share in the next couple of years.

Mr. Yalçindağ said that after one-year customer awareness of Yandex in Turkey was 85%. He said that the brand and marketing had all focused around Yandex as a Turkish company, including powering search pages for three of Turkey’s leading soccer teams: Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Besiktas. In a pointed swipe at Google, “We are registered here, and pay our taxes here,” he said.

Asked before the event about the progress of their browser Mr. Volozh said the market share they had achieved in two months, had taken Google two years.

Before joining Yandex, Mr. Yalçindağ was a senior executive at the Dogan Group, one of Turkey’s largest media groups.


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