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Odnoklassniki
Type of site
Social Networking
Available in13 languages:
OwnerVK
Created byAlbert Popkov (founder and head)
URLok.ru
Commercialyes
RegistrationRequired; no payment needed since August 31, 2010
LaunchedMarch 4, 2006; 17 years ago (2006-03-04)

Odnoklassniki (Russian: Одноклассники, lit. 'Classmates'), abbreviated as OK or OK.ru, is a social network service used mainly in Russia and former Soviet Republics.[1] The site was launched on March 4, 2006 by Albert Popkov and is currently owned by VK.[2]

The website currently has more than 200 million registered users and 45 million daily unique visitors. Odnoklassniki also currently has an Alexa Internet traffic ranking of 56 worldwide and 7 for Russia. Odnoklassniki is the second most popular social network in Russia, behind VK (VKontakte) but ahead of Facebook, which is in 3rd place.[3]

History

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Odnoklassniki was launched on March 26, 2006[4] by Albert Popkov, a telecommunications professional residing in London. Having previously been involved in similar projects in other European countries, Popkov initially developed Odnoklassniki as a hobby project from March to November 2006. During this period, it was only mentioned commercially within a friendly advertising agency as an advertising platform.

However, due to a significant increase in userbase, Popkov established a separate legal entity for the service. By July 2007, Odnoklassniki had grown its audience to 4 million users. In February 2008, a British company called I-CD accused Popkov of Copyright infringement, alleging that he used proprietary information from his previous employment to create a site similar to Passado, a project 192.com he worked on until his resignation in November 2005. Popkov denied these allegations,[5] but was eventually dismissed as managing director of Odnoklassniki.[6] in November 2009, after the first day of trial in the Royal Courts of Justice,[7] I-CD dropped all charges against Albert Popkov and Odnoklassniki[8] after Albert Popkov and Odnoklassniki agreed to pay them an undisclosed amount in settlement.

In September 2008, Popkov sold a controlling interest in Odnoklassniki to Digital Sky Technologies (DST), the owner of Mail.ru. DST and its subsidiary Forticom acquired a 58% stake in the network.[9] Paid registration was introduced in Odnoklassniki in 2008, but this led to a decline in popularity as users began migrating to the main competitor, VKontakte.[10] As a result, Odnoklassniki discontinued user registration fees in August 2009, reverting to a free model.

As of a certain undisclosed date, Odnoklassniki had more than 45 million registered users, with 56% of the audience consisting of users aged 25–44. It was ranked fifth in terms of monthly reach among all Russian-language resources targeting internet users aged 14–55 in July 2009, according to TNS Web Index.

Over the years, Odnoklassniki introduced various features and updates. These include the launch of a service in January 2009 that allowed users to clear their personal pages of unwanted guests, the introduction of beta testing for games in early April 2010, and the release of a beta version of video chat on December 24, 2010.

The network also added several new sections and functions, such as the ability to divide friends into groups, single authorization for third-party sites, a music section for listening and uploading MP3 files, and the inclusion of links to various projects of the Mail.ru Group in the top panel of "Classmates".

Odnoklassniki expanded its reach by providing localized versions in different languages, such as Azerbaijani, Uzbek, Armenian, German, Turkish, and Tajik. It also implemented features like group moderation, the ability to tag oneself in friends' photos, and the option to send videos and share photos in private messages.

Additionally, Odnoklassniki introduced advertising formats, launched its own messenger called OK Messages, included live broadcasts in communities, and developed a video app called OK Video for Smart TV. The social network also faced challenges, such as being blocked by the Ukrainian government in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea and dealing with technical issues that temporarily affected site availability.

In recent years, Odnoklassniki continued to innovate with features like the "Recommendations" service, new emotions beyond the "Class" button, a video feed on the mobile app, and an ad account for small businesses and content creators. The platform also launched a portal called "We are in the museum," focusing on art-related content, and saw an increase in users following the blockage of Instagram in Russia.

Please note that the information provided is accurate up until September 2021, and there may have been additional developments

A service was launched on January 23, 2009, which allows a user to clear their personal page of uninvited guests by removing them from the list of views as well as allowing the blocking access from all users that they are not "friends" with on the service.

After the introduction of paid registration in 2008, the popularity of the site fell sharply and users began to use to the main competitor VKontakte. On August 31, Odnoklassniki canceled user registration fees, and became free again. Odnoklassniki network has more than 45 million registered users.[as of?] According to TNS Web Index, 56% of the audience are users aged 25–44. The share of managers and specialists is 19% and 28%, respectively.

In early April 2010 beta testing games became available on the site, the developers were i-Jet.

On December 24, 2010, users of Odnoklassniki publicly released the beta version of the video chat.

Service blocking in Ukraine

In May 2017, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree to impose a ban on Mail.ru and its widely used social networks including VKontakte and Odnoklassniki as part of its continued sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea and involvement in the War in Donbass.[38][39] The move was widely criticized as censorship, and Reporters Without Borders condemned the ban, calling it a "disproportionate measure that seriously undermines the Ukrainian people’s right to information and freedom of expression."[40][41] Respondents in an online poll on the UNIAN site declared that 66% were “categorically against” the ban of Russian sites and another 11% said it would be easier to “ban the whole internet, like in North Korea”.[42]

According to the Internet Association of Ukraine the share of Ukrainian Internet users who visit Odnoklassniki daily had fallen from 35% to 10% from September 2016 to September 2019.[43]

From October 2008 to September 2010, only a limited functionality account could be registered for free. In this version it is impossible to post, upload and rate photos, leave comments in forums and visit other users' pages. In order to use these features, a paid short message had to be sent.[44] In addition, the site provides a number of paid services: deleting ratings of their photos, disabling the user online status, and providing a wide range of emojis.[44]

Currently, it is free to delete ratings of your photos as well as guests from your watch list.

On August 31, 2010, social network management canceled paid registration. The official reason was "developing new effective ways to combat spammers".[45]

In February 2016, the social network, together with its partner bank VTB 24, introduced the ability to make money transfers between users of the network. Transfers are made between MasterCard, Maestro, Visa payment cards issued by Russian banks and linked to user profiles.[46]

Awards and recognition

Technology

The server that hosts odnoklassniki.ru is located in Moscow, Russia on the Golden Telecom network. The programming language used on the site is Java and the main language used for the site's textual content is Russian. The site uses the Apache Tomcat web server.[63] Odnoklassniki is actively using 12 technologies for its website, according to BuiltWith. These include IPhone / Mobile Compatible, SSL by Default, and Apple Mobile Web Clips Icon.

Extremist content

Mauricio Garcia, perpetrator of the 2023 Allen, Texas outlet mall shooting, reportedly used his account on Odnoklassniki to promote white supremacist and neo-Nazi views, and in particular to target Asians. A reporter for Bellingcat suggested that Garcia may have picked this platform because of its lack of content moderation.[64]

See also

References

  1. ^ Social Media in Russia, Dreamgrow.com, 2011.
  2. ^ "About the project". Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
  3. ^ "What you need to know when entering the Russian market". ecommercenews.eu. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  4. ^ "Odnoklassniki social network birthday". infoniac.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  5. ^ Британская компания требует отдать ей "Одноклассники.ru" NEWSru, December 3, 2008. (in Russian)
  6. ^ Альберта Попкова сняли с должности гендиректора "Одноклассников" Archived 2011-01-07 at the Wayback Machine rb.ru, September 15, 2009. (in Russian)
  7. ^ Инсайд: Стенограмма прений в суде по иску i-CD Publishing к Альберту Попкову Archived 2011-01-07 at the Wayback Machine ROEM.ru, October 29, 2009.
  8. ^ Британская компания отозвала иск к создателю Odnoklassniki.ru Альберту Попкову SNOB.ru, November 25, 2009. (in Russian)
  9. ^ (in Russian) Vedomosti, September 15, 2008 [1]
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