This is not just a post, this is the first update to my book Your First 50 Right Steps to Enter the Russian Food Market. The book consists of independent chapters that can be bought individually and from now on I will periodically release updates to the information publish in the first edition of my book.
Time goes by and situation on the Russian food market changes, so I believe that I bear personal responsibility to update this information for the people who have bought my book about the Russian food market.
Tesla, Google, Apple, Windows periodically release updates to their software, and I am going to release updates of my book.
My first update will be about social networks in Russia. I considered this very important for two reasons. Firstly, because social networks are one of the simplest ways to promote your food products in the modern world. Secondly, because I recommended this very Russian social network in Chapter 26 of my book. It is the youngest and fastest growing social network in Russia called Yandex.Zen.
Yandex.Zen is a social network based on artificial intelligence that analyzes your search queries on the Internet and shows you its posts that match your requests and your interests.
Here is what I wrote in my book about Yandex.Zen social network:
The youngest, strangest and fastest growing social network in Russia is Yandex.Zen. This is something like Instagram and a blog. Its essence is as follows. Russia has its most popular Internet browser, Yandex and Yandex.Zen social network works only in this browser.
When you open Yandex browser, the browser will recommend you articles from Yandex.Zen under the search box. Usually, small posts and pictures with text are posted in Yandex Zen. They are put on the screens of a computer or a smartphone as cards like in Instagram.
A huge advantage of this network is that Yandex browser’s neural network recommends you these “article cards” depending on what you read or search on the Internet.
So, an advertisement article about your products or your company will be shown only to those users who are really interested in this topic. It’s very convenient, isn’t it? Everything you post will be seen and read only by your target audience.
Yandex.Zen articles are very simple to post. It is similar to creating an article in Linkedin. In this network, you can create a page and post only your own posts on it. Readers can leave comments, like and subscribe to your channel.
By the way, this is the only social network in Russia that pays money if people read your posts. After your posts have got more than 7,000 readings per week, you can activate monetization and receive money from Yandex.Zen service. As I said, this is not a very common network, but its popularity is growing very rapidly among companies.
By the way, for all Android mobile phones, which are delivered to Russia, Yandex browser is a must. It is ten times more popular than Chrome and Safari because Yandex is better in searching information in the Russian language than Google.
Yandex.Zen is the main social network I use for Russia. I have been using it for more than 6 months. It is very convenient for me because my business is very specific to Russia: I am a business adviser to food business owners, so I provide a number of unique services related to food industry.
So, it is very important for me that only my potential customers and people who are directly involved in food industry see my posts.
Why am I writing this post? Because I have been using Yandex.Zen social network for more than 6 months and have run into a very serious problem. This problem is in the title of this post: Yandex.Zen does not control its AI which controls its social network.
The AI does not only pick the people who are interested in your content, it also analyzes your posts. It is the AI that decides how and how many impressions to give to your post and whether your post violates any rules or not.
It is thanks to this AI, some of my posts have been shown more than 3 million times and read by about 200,000 people. There is also a video that has already been watched by more than 1.8 million people. And it is thanks to the same AI, I have posts read by 20 people only. As you can see, 200,000 and 20 are very different numbers, although I write only about food industry.
One day I decided to write to Yandex.Zen support team to find out why such things happen. The answers I got have become the reason for this article and this first update to my book.
As you can see in the image, at the moment I have 151 articles, 4,625 subscribers and more than half a million readers a month. My Yandex.Zen channel is about 6 months old.
The other day I got a message saying that my channel had publications violating the rules of Yandex Zen, which reduced the number of readers of my articles.
Before those restrictions, about 38,000 people a day used to read my articles.
In other words, almost 40,000 people used to learn about me, my services or the food products I presented while I did not spend a cent on advertising or promotion in this network.
Now let’s look on what has happened to the channel
It has only 59 visitors per day. 38,000 and 59 … The difference is very significant.
Of course, I wrote to Yandex.Zeb support service and asked, “Please tell me which of the 151 articles violates the rules, so that I delete it and avoid mistakes in the future. Or do I need to delete all my postes?”
I got the following reply:
Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to indicate which articles have not passed the system’s check. We get only a general report of the system, but no information about violations on specific articles. Therefore, you need to identify publications that have not passed the system check by yourself taking into consideration Zen requirements.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to write! We will be happy to help you!
Yandex.Zen Support Service »
I had no words to express my disappointment. Yandex does not control its AI and recommends its users to figure out their mistakes on their own. HOW???!!!
We all use different social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn in our modern life. And in most modern social networks, it is AI that monitors the operation of the network. However, there is always a person who can double-check and correct AI’s errors!
Over the past year, I turned to different social networks for support. For example, in LinkedIn an employee of the support service helped me fix everything manually. It took us about 10 minutes. Another situation was when my account on Facebook was accidentally blocked. Facebook support service team manually checked my account again, found the error, apologized and fixed everything within 15 minutes.
I also had a problem with registering a Pay Pal account from Russia. The system did not allow authentication. I contacted the support service, they answered me right away, found all the problems, fixed them manually, explained why their system blocked my authentication, told me how to avoid this in the future and wished me to enjoy using the platform. Since then I have been using Pay Pal for many months and have not experienced any problems anymore.
Another example is my problem with a hotel which I booked via Booking. Upon arrival in the hotel location, I found out that the hotel I had booked did not exist. That hotel was in Booking database but did not exist in fact.
I immediately called Booking’s support service, explained everything, the operator checked all the data and immediately returned the money I paid for my reservation. Moreover, they found a hotel nearby and booked it at a discount rate from Booking. Do I think that Booking cannot be trusted? Of course, no! I am very grateful for their understanding as assistance in that difficult situation. Now I always use Booking.com.
Why am I writing all this? Just to show that not only Yandex.Zen, but also many other IT companies and social networks are not ideal. However, in all other cases, the person from the support team was able to resolve my problem manually and help me fix their AI errors. Those companies value their clients because millions of people like me, who are ordinary users, bring them profit.
I personally call such attitude a RESPECT to your client.
There was an excellent post on LinkedIn some time ago. A small piece of video from a surveillance camera where Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players of our time, was going to the changing room after a match he won, but the guard did not let him in because Roger did not have a pass.
Mr. Federer calmly stopped and waited for his coach to catch up and bring the pass. Then he showed the pass to the guard and could enter the changing room.
The caption for this post said that a professional always respects a professional.
So, for all the social networks and IT companies I have cited above I am just the same “professional” as they are, and we do a common business. I write posts on their social networks and develop them by paying for the services I need, and in return they provide me with the opportunity to do this quickly and efficiently. I believe this is a very good example of cooperation in the modern Internet environment.
It should be noted that I am a fan of Yandex. This company is indeed the leader on the Russian IT market, and it is the market driver and innovator. Yandex has launched so many new products for the Internet and IT community like no other Russian IT company has done. There is no company in Russia that can rival with Yandex, there are only companies that can pathetically copy their new products.
Yandex is Amazon, Uber, Google, Delivery Club and Facebook in one for Russia. It is neither a joke nor an irony. Yandex provides all these services. Now, in February 2020, I am reading an article that Yandex is already testing its unmanned vehicles in Los Angeles, and I certainly take pride in this Russian IT company.
But at the same time, I can see that what is on the surface and what is inside are completely different things.
There are foreigners who enthusiastically publish articles about Yandex on Facebook or LinkedIn saying that they have brilliantly tested their unmanned cars with an artificial control system. But I am personally in a situation where Yandex cannot control its artificial intelligence even on its social network, so I will never get into their cars without drivers.
This article is not an angry article about Yandex, it is an update to my book about entering the Russian food market.
In this article I would like to give some recommendations on how to use Yandex.Zen to all those several thousand people who have already bought my book and to those who will buy it in the future.
There are three main things you need to remember while using this Russian social network.
1. Taking into consideration that Yandex.Zen support team is incapable of resolving problems associated with blocking or drops in reach of your posts on this social network, I recommend launching two or three channels. This is not prohibited by Yandex.Zen rules.
Post different content so that there is no plagiarism, but all you content should be about one topic which is in some way related to your products.
In case the reach of one of your channels is reduced, as mine now, and the reach to you audience dramatically drops, you will be able to continue promoting your product on other channels. Thus, you will not lose traffic and, therefore, interest to your food products.
In the meantime, you will be able to get in touch with the support team and try to resolve this issue.
2. Yandex.Zen has introduced some new rules that each post will “live” for only three months. After that it will not be displayed by Yandex browser. In other words, Russian Internet users will not be able to see your articles in Yandex browser.
BUT! These articles can still be found in Google browser. At the moment Yandex search engine finds approximately 440,000 articles from Yandex.Zen social network whereas Google finds more than 9,000,000.
This is very strange and not clear at all. Why is Yandex making its social network worse for its users?
Russians prefer Yandex browser and search engine to Google. However, Google is used by most CIS residents. All countries of the former USSR certainly speak Russian, so your posts in Yandex.Zen will not disappear at all, they can be found and read by Internet users from the CIS.
And as I wrote in my book, the CIS food market is very much interconnected with the Russian food market. So, to treat them independently will be a mistake.
If your website has a traffic of more than 10,000 people a day, you can connect your website to your Yandex.Zen channel. Then your channel readers will go directly to your website after they click on your new article in Yandex.Zen.
In this way your article will become more trustworthy for any search engine, and it will “live” on the Internet as long as your website is in operation. By the way, you won’t need to translate your entire website into the Russian language, you will just need to have a separate block of your website to post these articles for Yandex.Zen in Russian.
3. Yandex.Zen does not allow your subscribers to get notifications about your new posts.
My subscribers told me that Yandex.Zen artificial intelligence shows them a maximum of 1 article out of 20 new ones. It is very disappointing and very little, isn’t it?
Therefore, I had to create a separate mailing list for those readers who want to read my new articles without delays.
Conclusion: Should you use Yandex.Zen social network? Yes, of course. Such a reach with zero investment! No other social network can provide you with that.
The other day I found a tab in Viber which says ‘News’ and directs you to a feed with articles from Yandex.Zen. So, as you can see Yandex.Zen is now integrated with Viber messenger, which is more popular in Russian than Viber. So, now Viber users will be able to read your articles too. And this is a nice free bonus for your posts.
Yandex.Zen is a social network of articles, not pictures or videos. And reading is the oldest and the most favorite pastime for Russians. Yandex.Zen has been around for more than four years, but as you can see there are still some shortcomings and bottlenecks. Therefore, remember about the bugs I have described above and do not make my mistakes.
I was writing my book in the spring and summer of 2019 and published it on September 24, 2019. At that time Yandex.Zen was the only Russian social network that selected posts for you based on your history of searches on the Internet.
In December 2019, another Russian media company Mail.ru announced its social network @pulse, which operates on the same principles as Yandex.Zen. And a week later, Google announced its Google Discovery project which also selects a specific feed of posts for each Google user based on his interests and search history on the Internet.
While I was writing my book, Yandex.Zen was the only and dominant social IT platform of its kind. Now, at the beginning of 2020, you can choose from three similar platforms to post your information so that it reaches the people interested in your products.
You probably have a question why I do not post this article on Yandex.Zen to attract attention of its community.
Because my experience with Yandex.Zen shows that any article criticizing Yandex.Zen gets a low number of impressions, so a very small number of readings. Yandex.Zen administration does not like to be criticized. Or it is the artificial intelligence of this network.
In my case, Yandex.Zen system sent me notifications that “some of my articles violated the rules”. There were other cases too. Some other Yandex.Zen authors wrote that they had 300-500-800 posts and 30,000-50,000 subscribers, but at some point, impressions of their posts fell down tens of thousands times.
When they contacted the support team, they were told that our artificial intelligence minimizes the display of your articles as they were of a worse quality… Can you imagine that 500 posts were of a good quality, but then the quality got really bad?
At the same time, artificial intelligence does not explain what has become worse and why. The support service replies that authors need to continue writing and everything will be fine again. It seems ridiculous to me to hear such an answer.
What is the current situation with my Yandex.Zen channel? In the beginning, I deleted the last 5 articles, wrote 3 new ones and requested a rereview. The support service informed me again that there were articles that violated the rules, but they could not say which articles.
So, I deleted all 153 posts that I had been publishing on this network for the last 7 months and now I will wait again for the opportunity to submit the channel for verification. This can be done no earlier than 14 days. If my channel does not pass the test again, I think that I will delete it and I will no longer deal with Yandex.Zen.
Just like dozens of other authors, I will leave this network for another. Yandex.Zen is only 4 years old, but the authors are already leaving because their problems are not heard or resolved. If Yandex has come to this negative result in just 4 years, what will happen next?
If they do not respect or value me as an author, why should I write posts on this social network and develop it?
If you plan to enter the Russian food market or if you are interested in learning more about it, you can read my book “Your First 50 Right Steps to Enter the Food Market in Russia”.
As I have already said, I will be updating the my book regularly so that you can get the most relevant information about the Russian food market in the future.
Business Adviser on the Russian Food Market
I hope you will be interested in my other posts:Backward