Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of Vkontakte (Russia's biggest social network) prefers to keep a low profile in the media. He rarely gives interviews and almost never looks in the camera when his photos are being taken. Though he frequently addresses the 2.7M audience of his personal blog and this month Pavel gave an extensive interview to Forbes.ru. The article gives an insight on Pavel's early days and Vkontakte's future plans. Perhaps the interview itself was part of the company's strategy of raising its profile before entering other markets and possibly going public. Rumors about Vkontakte's IPO resurfaced a few weeks ago but has been unconfirmed so far. Vkontakte was founded in 2006 by Pavel and two of his friends. Today the social network attracts the largest audience with estimated 26 million unique daily visits. Read on to learn how it all started and where the company is at right now.
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.