A Patriotic alternative: replace the Ukrainian social network “In contact” and “Classmates”?

For the second day of the Ukrainian Internet providers one by one implementing the decision of the Council of national security and defense to block the Russian Internet services. On Wednesday access to the resources of the sanctioned restrict the two largest mobile operator — Kyivstar and Vodafone in the coming days lock promises to introduce a major operator of wired communications “Ukrtelecom”. It is including on social networks “Vkontakte” and “Classmates”, which, according to their owner company Mail.ru Group, used by over 20 million Ukrainian users.

The company itself already informs users on how to bypass the lock, using services like VPN or TOR. At the same time, it is expected and a certain outflow of Ukrainian users of “Vkontakte” and “Classmates” in other social networks in the first place, to the international giants Facebook and Twitter. However, along with Ukrainians and offer local solutions — especially local social networks that take on the mission to become a Patriotic alternative to the “hand of the Kremlin” on the Internet.

The pioneers of the market

The first attempt to create a “Ukrainian Facebook” can be considered a project Connect.ua launched back in 2007. “At that time in Russia start a “contact” and “Classmates”, and many believed that the social network will be something like regional portals in the country. In Ukraine, this niche was empty, ” says IT commentator, the author of the book “Startup in a million. How Ukrainians earn status on the technology” Timur Crow.

Connect.ua rapidly gaining popularity in the first months of operation, quickly attracted nearly half a million users. However, the project could not compete with the social network “In contact”, which aggressively came to the Ukrainian market, and in the end closed in 2012, performatives in Dating service.

In 2008-2012 in Ukraine appeared a few local social networks, such as Friends.ua, Frendin or Profeo, but they all closed a year or two.

“Social is a business that rests on a critical mass of users, find enough of them on a single national market, even considerable such as the Ukrainian, it is difficult, especially when there are international initiatives,” — explains Alexander Olshansky, President of IT holding Internet Invest.

Patriotic boom

The real surge in the creation of new Ukrainian social networks came in the spring-summer 2014, when with the beginning of the Russian aggression have been calls to boycott “Vkontakte” and “Classmates”. New services loud run almost every week, but over time, quietly closed.

So, the project page “Friends”, a social network supposedly only for Ukrainians, functionality and design is very reminiscent of the “In contact”, now redirects users to the page of the social network of the Afghan KabulJan. The site is still one running in the period of the project WE.UA already more than a year is under construction. Do not respond page platforms, microblogging boxy.com.ua and zozu.org.

There is a choice

However, some local projects continue to operate, positioning itself as alternative to Russian social networks.

One of them, TS. UKR (“TSE Ukraina”), now offers users a “contact” automatically migrate to the new platform, all your photos, videos or audio recordings. Actually, the resource interface is very similar to a Russian predecessor, the number of users and other statistics are not yet available, even to potential advertisers.

Social network UkrFace also a similar design for the “In contact” and Facebook was created in 2014 “to unite East and West Ukraine.” Neither the founders nor the approximate number of users, the DW could not figure out.

The oldest still operational to date projects — a social network “Ukrainians”, created in 2009. The design and functionality of the project apparently remained unchanged since the date of Foundation — a social network whose goal is “the unity of the nation and raising the national spirit”, does not support the video and audio and are mostly focused on text communication.


Who needs it?

According to Timur Ravens, the draft national social networks in Ukraine are a matter of individual enthusiasts and doomed to failure.

“Each of the next national social network — it’s a pathetic imitation of a normal product and an attempt to cash in on patriotism. They do not offer the user any original ideas, it’s just a carbon copy of Western sites, with a much more modest functionality and isolation within the country. Ukrainians want to be part of the international community and not confined within the country, as is happening in China, ” he explains.

Arthur Orudjaliyev, managing industry online edition of AIN, reminds that the Ukrainian internal IT-market is rather poor, so it is unlikely to ever be sufficient income for investment in complex development level of Facebook or “contact”.

Alexander Olshansky adds: as any Internet business related to user generated content, social networks are risky business for investors in Ukraine. “Seriously nobody is engaged in it, because at any time you have on the servers law enforcement officers “want” to find something illegal. First it was porn, then pirated content, now that’s all looking for separatist materials “, — says the expert.