New Ukrainian social networks emerge to challenge Facebook, VK, and Odnoklassniki in domestic market

Facebook may have established itself as a global leader in social-networking and VK (founded in Russia as Vkontakte) may have captured a strong market share in Russian speaking countries as an alternative service, but they have not stopped a host of competitors from entering the Ukrainian market. Within the past year, SocialFace, Zine, Ukrainci, Druzi, and WeUa have emerged in the country as domestic challengers to the more established players.

This past spring, several competitors to Facebook have sprung up as Ukrainians have decided to boycott Russian-founded services such as VK and Odnoklassniki. Several of these newcomers have adopted a “patriotic” approach to the social-network mold. Druzi (“Friends” in Ukrainian), for example, claims more than 215,000 users since it launched back in March.

Unlike other networks, which aim to expand their reach, administrators of this site actually aim to limit access to the site to users from Ukraine. Another site, WeUa, has also emerged as a Ukrainian-oriented social network with a reported 163,000 users to date. It is web-exclusive at this point, but they are reportedly planning to roll out apps for iOS and Android within the next four months. A third competitor, Ukrainci (“The Ukrainians” in Ukrainian), aims to provide another alternative when it launches in just over a month (32 days, to be exact).

SocialFace, which remains in beta, represents a broader attempt to attract Ukrainian users. Unlike the aforementioned networks, which bear a national bent, this network is open to all. The service resembles Facebook for the moment, but founder Aleksandr said in an exchange with online tech publication AIN.UA that further development will be “only hand made.”

Zine, which partners with SocialFace, offers a platform for sharing famous quotes, life rules, and general thoughts. Unlike the others, which are aiming to compete with Russian VK and Odnoklassniki, this service essentially aims to become a Ukrainian rival to Twitter. The service just launched and claims just under 100 users, who have shared more than 300 thoughts with their followers, AIN.UA reported.

Meanwhile, the popularity of existing Russian social networks is declining in Ukraine as visitors tend to use more Western sites – at least if measured in page views. In the year to July 2014, the share of VKontakte’s pages in the total volume of page views declined from 37% to 21.9%, while Odnoklassniki saw a fall from 10% to 3.6%, according to StatCounter. By contrast, Facebook has expanded its share from 29% to 41.5% and Twitter grew from 7% to 14%. However, Russian social platforms are still market leaders by the total volume of their local audiences, reported

Topics: Data & reports, Internet, News, Social networks
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