Russia’s largest social network, VKontakte, grows in Brazil — thanks to Google

Updated 12:06 p.m. ET with Google’s response. Updated July 17 with new details from VK.

As Google’s Orkut marches to the guillotine, Russia’s VKontakte (VK) is welcoming the social network’s remaining users with open arms.

Orkut was once the largest social network in Brazil, until Facebook surpassed it in January 2012. Since then its shutdown was imminent; after operating for ten years, Google announced plans to cull the site two weeks ago.

But Orkut’s remaining user-base isn’t seeking refuge in Google+, nor are they joining Facebook as much of Brazil’s connected masses did years ago — at least, that’s what VK suggests in a celebratory announcement released today.

According to VK, 380,000 Brazilians “now make themselves at home on vk.com.” VK tells VentureBeat that “100,000 new Brazilian users were added in the first few days after the Orkut shutdown news. And according to Google Trends, queries for both VK and VK.com have skyrocketed since June.

Queries for “VK” on Google

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 2.31.07 PMQueries for “vk.com” on Google

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 2.32.29 PM

Interest in VK’s official Android app also rose significantly in Brazil following Google’s announcement, according to app tracking site App Annie.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 3.05.58 PM

Reached by VentureBeat, a Google spokesperson refused to disclose the size of Orkut. VK tells VentureBeat that Brazil is now its second most popular country by the number of daily registrations.

To accommodate its new Brazilian users, VK says it has “added more than a dozen new features and improvements” and shares that its support team “has been reinforced by more português brasileiro speakers.”

The second largest site in Russia, VK claims to have over 260 million registered users with 60 million daily active users. VK is dwarfed by Facebook’s 1.28 billion monthly active users, yet the company is clearly growing in Brazil, even if it only ended up with Orkut’s scraps.


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19 comments
Callum Atwal
Callum Atwal

Vk is awesome as they host all content on showbox

Mark C
Mark C

I think one reason VK has beat FB in Russia is that VK allows users to share pirated material.  VK being a Russian company can play by different rules.

Brandon Jepson
Brandon Jepson

Maybe a threat in other countries because of the file sharing integration (which is awesome).

Max Jacobi
Max Jacobi

> VK claims to have over 260 million registered users with 60 million daily active users. VK is dwarfed by Facebook’s 1.28 billion monthly active users

I don't see how it's dwarfed by Facebook's 1.28 billion MONTHLY active users since 60 million DAILY active users makes 1.8 billion monthly active users.

Renato Farias
Renato Farias

I live in Brazil, work with technology and I absolutely have never heard of this.. No, they didn't get big in Brazil

Emerson Crux
Emerson Crux

Maybe that's why Putin was happy with Rousseff and wishing to narrow down relations between the two countries... Brazil and Russia following the same path...

Andrew Asmakov
Andrew Asmakov

VK is rubbish. Used to have account there but deleted it about a year ago. KGB.

Rose DF
Rose DF

Mark doesn't care, the dude has enough money to live 1,000 times over lol

Tim Gurevich
Tim Gurevich

@Mark C Being Russian myself, I'd like to say that this is bullshit. Nobody uses Facebook in Russia because it is very awkward to use. There are a lot of adverts; it is very difficult to get used to its complicated interface. And the popularity of VK has nothing to do with piracy, as a lot of people think.