Odnoklassniki.ru – Russian classmates

I’m always amazed and shaken when ugly things work. I know they often do, but every time it happens, it’s like the first time for me.

There are many examples around, MySpace.com being the most well known. The idea behind it is nice – to provide a place for youngsters to communicate and share pictures and music. But the way it is implemented is truly ugly. Yet, MySpace.com is one of the top visited web sites on the Web.

Odnoklassniki.ru is another example of this. (Odnoklassniki is a Russian word for “classmates”.) Again, the idea was pretty good – create a way for people to find their classmates and all friends easily. 10, 15, 20 years later names and faces tend to fade out and we don’t remember them all that good anymore. So, those of us who want to get re-connected with friends from the old days have some troubles locating those. With Odnoklassniki.ru it becomes pretty easy – pick the region, area, and school or college where you studied, specify the years during which your were there, and you’ll be shown other people who are registered on the web site, who studied at the same place during approximately the same years. Names and pictures are there, and those help a lot.

The way the whole thing is setup is terrible though. First of all, the web site is horribly slow. Always. I’ve been registered there since forever, and I was checking it out once in a while – always slow. Secondly, it tries to be everything – a contact manager, a search engine, people directory, photo sharing and rating service, messenger, forum, and so on. Needless to say, it sucks badly at most of these. There is not a single function that works properly.

But, the main thing is that it works. The web site is very popular in Russia and lots of people register there every day. I myself managed to find and connect with people who I lost and forgotten a long time ago.

When I think about how these things work, this quote comes to mind (from Pirates of Silicon Valley movie):

Steve Jobs: We’re better than you are! We have better stuff.
Bill Gates: You don’t get it, Steve. That doesn’t matter!

61 thoughts on “Odnoklassniki.ru – Russian classmates”

  1. Sorry for my interfering.. I am ivolved in some sort of research as a reporter of a small russian magazine. I wonder why people even from the North America try to connect odnoklassniki.ru? How did they manage to find this website? Are all these people russian immigrants?
    And is there any other website in Russia equal to odnoklassniki.ru and vkontakte.ru well-known by foreighners?

  2. Aleksandra,

    There are a lot of Russian people living abroad. Some studying, others – work, yet others – live permanently.

    Finding the web site is pretty trivial with any “odnoklassniki”/”одноклассники” related web search. Also, the site being very popular, I’m sure it receives a great deal of viral word of a mouth advertising.

  3. Guys! can I get some help on registering onto odnoklassniki. I can’t seem to find a single place where I can do this.


  4. Dear All,

    this site does not provide support for Odnoklassniki.ru. If you have any problems with that web site, you should contact their support/forum/etc.

    Any further requests for help with Odnoklassniki.ru will be moderated. I think we have enough information in this thread to solve most common problems anyway. :)

  5. There are over 130,000 (documented) Russian immigrants living in Brooklyn alone. In New York State there are close to 400,000. I think that if we take all the Russians from all over the world 0 that 20% that log onto the website, outside of Russia, that number is not so big anymore. All my friends are addicted to this website and love to connect with their classmates from back home.

    But I woudl still love to know how one can register.


  6. Laura,

    no problem ;)

    By the way, I don’t think that ALL Russians that live outside of Russia use Odnoklassniki.ru . Internet connection and basic computer skills are still necessary to use web site, and I think not everyone (by far) has them.

  7. Hi Leonid, I am absolutely agree with you, the idea is good, but speed is terrible, I have seen that adv. tells that they reached up to 10M users. Do you have an idea what DB are they using to manage it? Is it mysql, or something different?

    thanks for the post

  8. Arm2Arm,

    I don’t know which DB they are using. Chances are that it is MySQL, as it is what most web applications are running on. However, the performance is always good to remember, that it is most always up to the database administrator, sysadmin, and/or programmers. The limitations and implementations of the actual database server are rarely the cause of problems. At least of those which are visible to the end users.

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