Pay-For-Popularity Social Net Badoo Gets $30.3 Million For Russian Expansion

Badoo, a photo-heavy social network that is perhaps best known outside of its native London, has given up a 10 percent stake for a 750 million ruble ($30.3 million) investment from Russian financial group Finam, with the aim of expanding in Russia. Launched in 2006, Badoo eschews advertising and instead asks users to pay ($1, £1 or one euro) to give prominence to their profiles – some 20 percent of its 12.7 million members do so already, though the fee is waived in the UK while it builds the user base there. The site is popular in south America, France, Spain and Italy, and has offices in 11 countries.
“Our fist priority is to present the project on the Russian market,” Finam’s Alexey Baso told CNews. An office is opening in the country and the site is being translated to Russian, with an accompanying marketing campaign imminent. But Badoo will have to compete with the likes of Odnoklassniki, Vkontakte and Moikrug, as well as a localized version of MySpace; Facebook is also set for several localizations. Via TC.