The move to a shorter and simpler .com domain is associated with Vkontakte's efforts to expand their global reach. As Ilja Perekopskij, Vice-President of Vkontakte, told Forbes, international expansion (starting from Europe) is one of the company's key strategic goals for 2011. Vk.com is shorter, simpler and easier to remember for foreigners claimed Pavel Durov, founder and CEO. Vkontakte's revenue and user metrics are looking really good so far. According to Ilja Perekopskij, in 2010 the company's turnover was $98.3M, $44.76 of which came from advertising. Now their monthly revenue is $8-9M, 60% of which comes from advertising, 30% from applications and 10% from other services. By the end of the year Vkontakte plans to increase their revenue by 70%-100% compared to last year.
Last week Vkontakte quietly removed it's open registration policy - you can now create an account only through an invitation. It was announced on the company blog that only users that have tied their accounts to their mobile phones would be able to send invites to new users. Supposedly the new invite system makes the registration simpler and safer. Simpler because when inviting someone you can already indicate their name, birthday and school, making it easier for non-tech-savvy users to create an account. Safer because it reduces the number of fake accounts and bots entering the system. So is Vkontakte aiming for exclusivity all of a sudden or is there something more to it?