Yandex NV (YNDX:US), Russia’s largest search engine with twice the market share of Google Inc. (GOOG:US)’s in the country, started a location-based business listings and recommendations service similar to Yelp.
The Yandex.City product lets users search for restaurants, beauty salons and other businesses in 17 Russian cities based on the person’s location, the company said today in a statement. The service provides photos, user reviews and ratings to help decide which place to visit, Yandex said.
Yandex is expanding beyond traditional text-based Web search to fend off rivals such as Google. The new offering may generate revenue on advertising based on a user’s location and search words used, Yandex said. The company accounts for 76 percent of Russia’s text-based Web-ad market, according to Russia’s Association of Communications Agencies.
In the U.S., shares of Yelp Inc. (YELP:US), the service for online restaurant and local business reviews, have surged about fivefold since the San Francisco-based company’s initial public offering in March 2012.
Yandex, registered in Amsterdam and with its main offices in Moscow, has expanded into e-commerce and online video over the past year. It agreed to buy Auto.ru website for $175 million this week to enter the classifieds business.
Shares of Yandex have lost (YNDX:US) 21 percent in New York this year. They added 0.4 percent to $34.09 yesterday.
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