Type of site
|Owner||TUT BY MEDIA LLC|
|Created by||Yury Zisser|
|Launched||October 5, 2000|
TUT.BY is an independent news, media and service internet portal, one of the 5 most popular website in Belarus in the Russian language, and the most popular news web portal in the country. TUT.BY is based in Minsk, Belarus. In 2019, the website was read by 62.58% of all Belarusian Internet users with monthly visits rate around 200M mln.
TUT.BY publishes around 200 articles on domestic and foreign agenda daily, including original stories and video, analytics, special projects, and online broadcasts. Apart from the news section, TUT.BY has numerous specialized sections (Auto, Lady, Finance, Afisha, Realty, Sport) and services like weather, exchange rates, etc. The editorial standard claims to prioritize socially important, actual topics on Belarus and world agenda in compliance with Journalism ethics.
Tut.by was registered as an online media on January 21, 2019.
On October 1, 2020, following coverage by Tut.By of the 2020 Belarusian protests, Tut.By had its media credentials revoked for three months by the Ministry of Information, citing a court order that found that Tut.By published "prohibited information". Tut.By stated that it intends to continue operating.
Launch and early years
In March 2000, tech journalist Sergey Dmitriev posted on the forum of the newspaper ‘Computer News’ (lit. ‘Komp'yuternyye vesti’) that he had an idea to create a free Belarusian email service. The post attracted the attention of Yuri Zisser, then the head of the private enterprise "Nadezhnyye programmy". On March 15, 2000, they had their first personal meeting, this day is considered to be the start of TUT.BY. Dmitriev invited Andrey Kononovich and Kirill Voloshin (journalists of the newspaper ‘Komp'yuternyye vesti’). Zisser invited Danil Rudenko, a first-year student in BSUIR and a programmer with experience in developing electronic mail services and websites. Kononovich, Voloshin and Rudenko contributed to the launch of the project. The portal’s name was made up by Zisser’s friend Nikolay Romanovsky, other variants were ‘holub.by’ and ‘busel.by’. The founders wanted Tut.by to become Belarusian Yahoo! and copied its business model. The development started in July and was finished in Autumn 2000.
Tut.by was launched on the 5th of October, 2000, within months it became the most visited site on Bynet. At first, it comprised free email service, news, weather forecast, currency rates, fuel prices, and a guest book. Later in 2000, the forum was added, soon Hoster.by hosting provider was registered. In 2000 Tut.by had more than 20,000 unique visitors daily, by April 2001 daily traffic reached 1.2 mln visits. Yury Zisser was awarded Person of the Year on ByNet title in 2002.
In January 2002, the E-commerce centre was launched to provide free and paid services in site development, design, promotion, hosting, and domain registration. In October 2002 the project became profitable, around 75% of income received from Hosting.by services and only 25% from the advertisement. By the end of 2004, more than 30 theme sections were separated, including music, culture, education, etc. At the same time, Kirill Voloshin was awarded Person of the Year on the ByNet prize. In 2004 Marina Zolotova took the post of editor-in-chief.
In the beginning, Tut.by functioned as a news aggregator, a digest with a strong shift to business and economics. It published news from such agencies like Interfax and BelTA, media like Kp.by, etc. In 2005, the marketplace Shop.tut.by was launched, then followed by a Finance section with data on currency rates, savings, credits, personal finance management service, etc. At the end of 2006, Tut.by launched an IT department, and in a year a web-journals section was added. The company had 18 employees then. In the same year, 85% of annual revenue was brought by advertising, the rest by hosting services. In December 2007 the portal launched its radio.
In 2009, Tut.by went international. In collaboration with Russian and Kazakhstan partners it launched the Nur.kz news portal. In 2010-2012, similar partnerships were made with Azerbaijan (Day.az), Uzbekistan (Olam.az), and Nigeria (Naij.com). Naji.com soon grew to 250.000 unique users and its Facebook gained 0.5 mln subscribers.
In the 2010s, the company continued its rapid development. By 2011 the staff grew to 50 extrabudgetary and 90 office workers. The mobile site version was launched and soon had more than 19,000 unique visitors per day. In Autumn 2012, the marketplace was launched. In 2013, the first regional office was opened in Gomel. As of 2013, Tut.by homepage got 503,000 unique visitors daily, in 2014 Tut.by had 47.89% of all audience on ByNet.
By 2015, forums at Tut.by accumulated more than 240,000 threads and 16.5 mln posts. In 2015, the catalog of Belarusian enterprises was separated into an independent editors office and received a new name Tam.by (wordplay ‘Tut’ lit. meaning ‘Here’ and ‘Tam’ meaning ‘There’).
In 2016, Tut.by had more than 780.000 unique visitors daily and more than 7.7 mln views, its staff almost reached 300 employees. That year on weekdays around 200 articles were published on the main page. I.Tut.by social network accumulated 150.000 registered users by 2016.
In 2017, TUT.BY was recognized as a well-known trademark in Belarus. It pioneered quality infographics on the ByNet, making this visualization tool an important part of the News section. The company’s public account on Viber became the most popular among other media and reached 285.000 subscribers. In 2017, Rabota.tut.by had more than 155.000 active resumes and 19392 vacancies published. In March 2018, Belarusian audience of TUT.BY for the first overtook big online platforms like Yandex, Mail.Ru, and YouTube.
As of 2019, more than 8.5 mln Tut.by pages were stored in Google index. More than 70% of users visited the site’s mobile version According to Tut.by, in May 2019 a new record was set as news of all subdomains got 178 million views (web + apps, according to Yandex.Metrica).
The founder of Tut.by Yury Zisser passed away on the 17th of May, 2020.
On August 9, 2020, the president of Belarus promised to punish tut.by for its election-related reporting, and the website went offline.
Social responsibility and non-commercial projects
In 2003, Tut.by established the Belarusian Content Projects Award for promising noncommercial websites. The competition significantly contributed to the development of independent media in ByNet.
In 2014, the company joined the UN Sustainable Development programme. Since then the company annually published Sustainability reports on its initiatives in human rights and environment protection. In the same year TUT.BY and life:) mobile operator launched the Freebasics project, a joint initiative to ensure the availability of mobile Internet. TUT.BY supplied news for the project alongside Wikipedia, UN Women and others. Among other projects, TUT.BY and BelarusFeed created a collection of postcards “Welcome To Belarus”. The postcards were handed out to foreigners travelling to Belarus to mark the introduction of the 5 days visa-free entry.
In 2017, TUT.BY was among 30 Belarusian companies that signed the “Cooperation agreement of the socially responsible companies in Belarus in the implementation of corporate social responsibility projects”. The agreement was initiated by the local social fund Fond Dobra, part of the UN Global Compact Network Belarus. In November 2018, TUT.BY became the info partner in the II European Games 2019.
State censorship and independent media
In the late 2000s, the editors office decided to change course from news aggregator to independent journalism with its own texts, reports, and investigations. Though big agencies usually could publish the news instantly, Tut.by won his audience by giving the news with “a human touch”, without state censorship and in compliance with journalist ethics. Social issues and events with a public outcry were developed by Tut.by staff journalists and users could openly share their opinions via comments and on the site's forum.
On December 19, 2014, Tut.by was blocked in Belarus for several hours. Officially called DDoS attack, the blockage was actually a part of a massive strike against the country's independent media. In December 2014 the amendments to state Mass Media Act were issued, putting the responsibility for any comments on a website upon its owners. Consequently, Tut.by had to relocate its forums to a new domain name talks.by to avoid blockage for user comments.
On December 25, 2016, Tut.by journalist Pavel Dobrovolsky was beaten by police officers directly in the Frunzienski district court. Dobrovolsky was on professional duty, covering the hearing of the case of two graffiti artists. OSCE called this situation unacceptable and called authorities to ensure the journalist’s safety. According to the portal analysis, at least three attacks on journalists happen in Belarus annually.
In 2017, State Ministry of Information issued a warning to editors office for an article on Belarusian citizens who fought at the Donbass war. Though the government itself acknowledged that at least 140 Belarusians took an active part in the fights, the article was called by the Ministry to be “threatening to the State's interests”. According to the Belarusian law, two official warnings in a year could lead to the site’s blockage. In a 2017 interview, the founder of TUT.BY Yuri Zisser mentioned that there were serious issues with freedom of speech in Belarus and only gradual, civilized dialog with the government and much effort could turn the situation to the best. Zisser received the “Advocacy Leader 2016” award from the Assembly of business circles for his lasting effort to promote this dialogue between business and government.
In 2018, the so-called BelTA case took place. In June 2018 the editor-in-chief Marina Zolotova and 14 other employees of Tut.by were arrested for alleged unauthorized access to information from a state news agency BelTA. All except Zolotova were released soon, she was charged under the article of the Criminal Code. OSCE Representative Harlem Désir called the case and massive fine to be ‘deeply alarming’, BAJ representative called it an intimidation signal for all independent journalists in Belarus. The court sentenced Zolotova to a fine of 7650 Belarusian rubles. Later Zolotova recalled how former Minister of information Liliya Ananich invited directors of the leading independent media and advised them on the desired way to describe the economic situation in the country, asking not to “rock the boat”.
- Winner in the nomination “Most popular and visited Internet portal in the Republic of Belarus” (International festival and contest Choice Of The Year 2002).
- Best PR project with advanced web marketing by PRemiya 2003.
- Finalist at Kiev International Advertising Festival in 2004.
- “Leader brand” according to the nationwide poll in the product group “Information websites” in 2004, 2005, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
- Best search engine at TIBO 2005.
- Best News Portal Prize at Golden Site Awards 2005.
- Brand of the Year Award winner in News Web Portal in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013
- Best Search Engine at Belarus Choice of the Year Award 2009.
- Brand of the Year Award winner in Socially Responsible Brand and Brand Leader in 2010.
- Best IT company in Belarus in nominations Team Spirit and Collective Work and Best Company (under 200 employees)
- 2015 – TUT.BY named a socially responsible mass media source for the regular coverage of the CSR projects of Belarusian business (the award for corporate social responsibility by the International social economic fund Idea).
- 2016 – Winner among internet portals in the consumer nomination of the professional republican contest Brand Of The Year.
- 2016 – CEO Alexander Chekan got the ‘Mentor of the Year’ Award.
- TUT.BY became an 11-times winner in the category “Information websites” at Brand Of The Year 2017.
- Afisha.TUT.BY and Realty.TUT.BY won the nomination “Media with the best audience involvement”.
- In 2018 42.TUT.BY was among the winners of the international internet-media award ‘Mediator’. Lady.TUT.BY won the nomination “Most read media” in 2018.
- TUT.BY сhief editor Marina Zolotova was named Person Of The Year 2018 by Nasha Niva newspaper and became the first laureate of the Belarusian Journalism Honor award. The award was established in memory of Ales Lipai, the founder of the BelaPAN information agency. The award is presented to journalists who combine professional achievements with civil action and contribute to the development of the media in Belarus and the emergence of the country as a democratic state.
- In February 2019, YouTube sent the “Silver Button” (an award handed to the authors of popular channels) to TUT.BY as the portal’s video channel reached 100,000 subscribers.
- In May 2019 TUT.BY topped the Media IQ ranking as the Belarusian media with best compliance to journalism ethics.
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- "«Новости ТУТ, а компании ТАМ»: проект каталог TUT.BY объявляет о ребрендинге и выходе под новым брендом TAM.BY" [“News on Tut.by, Companies on Tam.by”: Ta.by to Rebrand and Separate] (in Russian). KV.by. 2015-08-25. Retrieved 2020-07-08.
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- "Belarus: Activists, Journalists Jailed as Election Looms". Human Rights Watch. 2020-05-22. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "Портал TUT.by сообщил о хакерской атаке" [Hackers Attack Tut.by] (in Russian). Naviny.by. 2020-05-29. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "20 лет Байнету: как зарождалась и как менялась зона .by" [ByNet Turns 20: .by Zone History] (in Russian). Deutsche Welle. 2014-05-05. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "Первый благотворительный аукцион доменов .BY стартует 1 октября" [First Charity Auction to Start on the 1st of October] (in Russian). Hoster.by. 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "На вторичном рынке доменов в Беларуси оживление: на продажу выставили красивые имена" [Domain Name Auctions on the Secondary Market of Belarus] (in Russian). News Mail.ru. 2020-02-19. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
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- "9 заметных белорусских проектов, которые объединили технологии и культуру" [9 Important Belarusian Projects Uniting Technology and Culture] (in Russian). Zavtra.by. 2017-04-24. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "Душевные открытки "Welcome to Belarus" от TUT.BY и BelarusFeed" [Welcome to Belarus Postcards by Tut.by and BelarusFeed] (in Russian). Marketing.by. 2017-03-16. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "TUT.BY выпустил Отчет об устойчивом развитии по итогам 2016 года" (in Russian). Tut.by. 2017-05-23. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "life:) открывает бесплатный доступ к Facebook и TUT.BY для своих абонентов" (in Russian). Belarusian Business. 2017-04-13. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
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- "Cooperation agreement of the socially responsible companies in Belarus in the implementation of corporate social responsibility projects" (in Russian). Dobra.by. 2017. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
- "TUT.BY стал информационным партнером II Европейских игр 2019 года в Минске" [Tut.by to Become an Info Partner of II European Games 2019 in Minsk] (in Russian). News 21 By. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
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