“It’s easier to list the things Yandex doesn’t do,” Yandex Classifieds chief executive Anton Zabannykh said at the final day of the Global Online Marketplaces Summit in Miami. “In Moscow, it’s impossible to open your eyes and not see Yandex branding – we have Yandex taxis, Yandex Search, we’re everywhere.”
Yet, Yandex Classifieds — which launched four years ago with the acquisition of autos vertical Auto.ru — is the baby of the Yandex group. It has formidable competition in horizontal Avito, the classified giant owned by OLX Group — which also owns a leading real estate vertical in Russia, Domofund.
“We’re not No. 1 in real estate,” Zabannykh said. “The good news is we’re around No. 3; the bad news is the No. 2 is about three times bigger than we are.”
The Yandex real estate vertical started aggregating listings but realized it could generate revenue if it pivoted to a freemium classified business model that also sold leads to real estate agents.
They now work with developers to market their new developments on the Yandex real estate vertical. Yandex sells lead calls to real estate agents, who pay the equivalent of $50 to $70 per call. It’s a variation of the blind lead model often used by auto verticals that Yandex is deploying to real estate.
“I don’t like calls personally, but in Russia, real estate agents want calls,” Zabannykh said. “Maybe we’ll look at email leads, but not right now.”