From Gogol to Google – the making of Yandex

April 29th, 2011

It takes something out of the ordinary to unseat Google from its customary first place in any market. But with 60%-plus of all search traffic in Russia flowing through Yandex, the company – also a significant presence in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan – is a major player in the Russian-speaking world. By comparison, Google has just a quarter of the Russian-speaking market.

Of course, the internet is rarely bound by national borders, and since 2010 the company has offered (as opposed to the Russian At the time, the search engine referred to the move as ‘the beginning of a long journey’  – which could be taken as a nod towards the enormity of the work ahead, or alternatively, as a statement of intent for its ambitions.

And Yandex today seems to be flourishing. In 2011, it raised some US $1.3 billion on NASDAQ in the biggest dotcom IPO since Google. Meanwhile, by some measures, it has become the fourth biggest search engine in the world, after Google, China-based Baidu, and Yahoo. By late 2012 it was beating out Bing – at least in terms of the volume of search requests.

Russian literature – and Russia’s biggest search engine

Yandex was co-founded in 1997 by Arkady Volozh. The 50-year-old applied mathematics graduate is CEO and director of the search firm. Fêted as a serial entrepreneur, Volozh was GQ Russia’s businessman of the year in 2012 and has a personal fortune of some US $1.3 billion, according to Forbes. Graduating from Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas in 1986, just as the Soviet Union was confronting its economic decrepitude, Volozh seized the opportunity to start a newly-legal private business, importing computers.

Co-founding a series of tech companies, including Arkadia and CompTek International, Volozh toyed with programmes to search Russian classical literature, before working with his schoolfriend, Ilya Segalovich. Having graduated from S. Ordzhonikidze Moscow Geologic Exploration Institute, Segalovich was following a similar path from the fossil fuel economy to the digital world. At Arkadia, Segalovich developed work on an application for non-structured information with Russian morphology – parsing the Cyrillic alphabet searches in the Russian language. In 1997, Segalovich became Yandex co-founder with Volozh, having coined the name from ‘Yet Another iNDEX’. Despite dying at just 48 in 2013, Segalovich found time to help orphans and special needs children by co-founding Moscow-based Maria’s Children Art Rehabilitation Center.

Ask Yandex?

So why is Yandex thriving? Volozh has suggested  a range of factors behind its success, including the relatively high internet usage by Russians– and its strong tradition of producing programmers. Add to that the awakening of a once-socialist nation’s dormant consumerism, and the conditions for triumph are clear.

On a technical level, the search engine is uniquely positioned to make sense of the Cyrillic alphabet used by Russian – a specialism beyond the globe-straddling focus of Google. Quite simply, Yandex understands the Russian language and its syntax better than Google, meaning the search results are better for users. So while the search giant struggles to gain a chokehold on niche markets, Yandex wins out in Russian with its better grasp of the local content. Even when used for searches in English, some say Yandex has a cleaner layout, less intrusive adverts – and similarly good results.

It’s not afraid to take on the king of the jungle, either. Just look at a recent Google-aping campaign. Rather than the traditional encouragement to ‘ask Yandex’, the thrust of this message is that the search engine now knows what you want – no need to ask. It’s the language of Big Brother; but employed in the digital fulfilment of capitalist dreams.

And Yandex is also not shy about taking the bull by the horns. In March it announced it has recently started to remove links from Moscow area commercial queries – as they were not adding to the quality of results. In their place, Yandex says it will measure how humans interact with sites to help determine ranking.

Enriching the ecosystem

Like the biggest internet companies, Yandex refuses to stand still. It has steadily increased its clout by acquiring smaller businesses to expand its portfolio. This includes improving aspects  such as its geolocation capabilities through Israel-based KitLocate, or integrating KinoPoisk – ‘the Russian IMDB’ – into its search.

While it has expanded outside of former Soviet countries by entering the Turkish market, today Yandex is seemingly focusing on growing its product range for the domestic market. In addition to the core search offering, Yandex has the usual suite of email, cloud storage, maps, news, electronic payment systems, and many more. Then there’s the focus  on mobile applications, which is set to see its services pre-installed on Android smartphones from two manufacturers.

The immediate future could be rocky though. Yandex has warned that the economic sanctions against Russia caused by the ongoing tension in Ukraine could have a serious impact on its business – an unfortunate situation for a company which has stood up to the government, and in support of a free internet.


April 20th, 2011

Jaime by Daniel Regan. BM Production for Headmasters

Here at BM we love working with the team at the Brighton Headmasters salon, they used model Jamie to enter this years L’Oreal Colour Trophy, where they got through to the final London show and received a superb fourth place.

Daniel Regan Shoots Headism Exhibition

April 6th, 2011

If you have been on the Underground recently you may have seen some of the posters for the exciting new exhibition called ‘Headism’ from artist Phillip Levine.

Here at BM Models we are especially anticipating this exhibition as it has been shot buy our very own talented Daniel Regan who we are lucky enough to work closely with; he has been involved in shooting many of our productions and models creating stunning images.

The exhibition is created by artist Levine who uses his own head to create and display works of art since losing he bagn to loose his hair in 2006. The exhibition will be a multi-media experience and combines the talent of the artist Levine, body artist Kat Sinclair, sculptors John and Tristan Schoonraad and photographer Daniel Regan

Regan’s images in the exhibition will showcasing 10 of Levine’s head designs, as well as being used on the Underground poster campaign. Headism will run at NL Dutch Cultrual Pop Up Space, west London,  between the 4th and 9th of May.

We are really proud of this amazing photographer and cannot wait to see the exhibition when it opens!

Introducing Bernadette

April 3rd, 2011

Here a BM we are proud to introduce one of our new faces to you, Bernadette. She joined our agency in February after coming along to our open casting, and since then she has been a very busy girl!

Bernadette’s first photo shoot was with Headmasters Salon’s creative team. Headmasters Salon Brighton are wonderful at supporting our new faces, the shoot utilised the skills of their amazing team, make-up by Ellie Gill and was shot by Jesper Mattias for his second collaboration with BM Models.


Her second shoot was a couture photo shoot for upcoming label Featherstone Frock, the photos from which will feature in for both their look book and new website.

Last Friday Bernadette walked for the very first time, after a little bit of training from Bethania, at IGIGI’s charity fashion show to Brighton’s fashion scene. It was an amazing event that we were so happy to be involved with, and the night was a great success!

This week the final year fashion students at the University of Brighton booked Bernadette for their look book, where she was able to model their fantastic creations. BM Models just loves being able to work with, and support fresh talent at universities; after all they are the future of the fashion industry.

This is just the beginning we have a lot more planned in her modelling future, she has already been booked to walk for London Graduate Week in June. So stay posted!

Our New Faces on the Catwalk for Charity

March 24th, 2011

IGIGI Fashion Show in BrightonGot plans Friday? Well  you do now!

Clothes, models, cocktails and a chance to shop, what better way to spend a Friday right!

Four of BM Models lovely new faces are walking at IGIGI’s show on Friday 25th, and we can’t wait to see them. Or what they are wearing! They will be showcasing IGIGIi’s spring summer fashions as well as lots of other local brands

Not only is there all this lovely stuff going on you get to feel a it good as it is all for charity, with the money going to Knowles Tooth Children’s Charity! So quick go get your ticket

New Faces: February

March 6th, 2011

After a successful open casting in january we would like to introduce you to our four new faces: Adam, Bernadette, Henriette and Grant!

Welcome to BM Models, we just can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you all!

Our lovely Lydia at London Fashion Week

February 26th, 2011

Lydia from BM Models for Pierre Garroudi at LFW

Pierre Garroudi’s A/W 2011 The Royal Collection was presented last weekend, a catwalk of beautiful purple creations, extraordinary purple wigs and bold and energetic models including BM’s Lydia Taylor! Photo Credited to: Max Letek (

Advice series: Some Model Advice from BM!

February 26th, 2011

Here at BM we want to help you, the undiscovered and up and coming models of tomorrow, to make the most of your potential.

It can be a daunting old world out there for a model, with so much to learn and understand about the industry. That’s why we will be writing a series for you detailing helpful tips and advice from people that have been there and have a little bit of insider knowledge.

Over the coming months we will be writing about: how to find and agency, how to prepare for castings, the runway, walking in heels, and anything else we think you might need to know.

So stay posted!

Rodhus Gallery and Fashion Sussex

February 8th, 2011

Lana and Jade were involved with launch of Rodhus Gallery, Fashion Sussex hosted this fabulous night where our models wore brilliant Renaissance Design for. The Rodhus Gallery is a new Brighton venue boasting creative studios, a library, a showroom artist and office spaces.

Lana Rodhus launch party

Rodhus launch party

Gresham Blake

February 1st, 2011

The Brighton designer celebrated their 10 year anniversary, and to celebrate held a wonderful event at the The British Engineerium in Hove, for their event they booked our Ngozi, Christina and Ivan. BM has worked with Gresham Blake several times now and loves to be involved with this company!