The Russian Internet giant Mail.Ru Group on Tuesday launched a U.S. brand under the umbrella name of My.com. The U.S. subsidiary is to carry three products: myMail, myChat and myGames. No matter how you slice it, by revenue, by visitors, or by ambition, the Mail.Ru Group is setting its sights beyond its homeland. Forbes noted that Mail.Ru is Russia's second-largest Web company by revenue.
The Russian-based Internet behemoth has garnered 100 million users in Russian-speaking countries of its social networking, messaging and online game applications.
Setting up shop now in the U.S., the titans have launched their new Web site, My.com, which offers the three mobile products for the tablet or phone.
Those who choose to climb on board will have their various email accounts aggregated by the myMail app, so they can access all their email conveniently in a single email client. Mail.Ru rolled out myMail (for iOS and Android), myChat, the mobile messaging service that delivers text, voice and video messaging for iOS and Android devices, and myGames, a collection of games that includes the popular Jungle Heat.
Avatars and Taps
The mail product supports accounts on major services, including Gmail and AOL.
"If half a dozen accounts are driving you crazy, add them all to myMail," says the site in inviting newcomers to its services. "You will then be able to see them all in your app and switch between them with just one tap."
The very idea of setting up shop in the U.S. to compete with the mail majors is heady enough, but so far the mail portion indicates the group did its homework on what the look and feel of a service needs to deliver to compete.
Presentation is clean and airy, and there are real-time notifications, which lend themselves to the instant experience that goes with mobile handhelds. Extra attractions include being able to bring avatars to the user's inbox; myMail can bring profile pictures of contacts to the message list and employ an avatar search algorithm to get pictures from e-mail services and Gravatar. If friends do not use avatars, the service will artfully display the first letter of the contact's name.
The My.com e-mail and chat services are free, and the games apps operate on a "freemium" model (free on download but charging money for advanced features).
The My.com operations are located in Mountain View, Calif.
"I'm happy to introduce our new products to the competitive U.S. Internet market," said Dmitry Grishin, chief executive of the Mail.Ru Group. "Russian developers tend to have outstanding backgrounds in mathematics, physics and engineering, which have propelled Russian companies to the forefront of the domestic Internet market. Now we will use all the skills and experience we've earned to enter the U.S. market."
Started in 1998, the Mail.Ru Group, among numerous assets, controls e-mail service Mail.Ru, and operates two of the three largest Russian language social networks. The Group has 3,000 employees and an audience of more than 100 million monthly users. Earlier this year, Grishin spoke about international growth targets for the group to Bloomberg News.
"The non-Russian-speaking audience can be potentially large for Mail.Ru Group," Grishin said. "We believe that our products can be successful in foreign markets and are working hard to prepare them for international expansion."
In Tuesday's statement, the My.com announcement stated that its vision "is to build an integrated communication and entertainment platform, dubbed 'Communitainment,' beginning with a family of mobile apps: myMail, myChat, and myGames."
Posted: 2013-11-21 @ 2:17pm PT
Small correction from My.com: myMail does not give users a @my.com address. Rather, the app lets you manage all of your existing email accounts more easily.