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Andrew Sebrant: the Internet of personal communication is not completely replaced by

Andrey Sebrant is one of the most professional and experienced Internet managers. The legend of the Russian Network, a man who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Runet. He started at Glasnet as a marketing director, worked at Golden Telecom, supervised List.ru guides, worked for the American online guide across Russia, created the Pole.ru portal, was director of strategy and PR and at the same time general producer of Russian Lycos, is the editor-in-chief of Internet Marketing magazine. Today, we are talking with Andrey about his current work – Yandex’s special projects.
Andrei, as you know, in Yandex you are holding the post of director for special projects.

What is meant by “special projects”?
This is perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the situation with ambassadors for special assignments. There are embassies with their staff and traditional tasks. But from time to time a new non-standard task arises, someone has to coordinate work on it constantly, and not in the time remaining from staff duties. We have the same: we have basic services, standard portal activities – search, mail, directory and so on. But sometimes there is a desire to try something new and unconventional, and this new one is not even necessarily an online project. For simplicity, these non-standard things were called “special projects” by us. Now, first of all, these are Yandex.Cities and Yandex.WiFi online projects, plus Yandex’s active seminars on learning the specifics of search advertising (this is quite offline, you have to fly to different cities). Coordination of work in these three areas takes the bulk of my time.

Why is Yandex paying such attention to creating various special projects? Are these purely fashionable things? Or in this way, “Yandex” attracts an additional audience?

“Yandex” is used by more than 12 million people per month, about 2 million daily. On such a scale, it is impossible to attract a significant new audience with those special projects that I have listed. And such tasks were not set – by the way, for this very reason special projects are practically not advertised outside, we offer them to those who already use Yandex, that is, the existing audience. And the tasks are solved different. Take for example Yandex.Cities – about 100 thousand people visit this project per month. These are those who are interested that Yandex knows about their city, with whom it cooperates and how. As a result, there are new contacts, new acquaintances, new partners throughout the country. These partners can contribute to the development of Yandex’s core services — for example, thanks to regional media that have become our partners, a new Yandex.News section has appeared — regional news. There are also direct commercial benefits – regional stores are connected to Yandex.Market, more and more appear in different parts of the country of agencies that successfully sell advertising on Yandex (here is a list of our most serious partners). In other words, the Yandex.Cities project does not solve only the image task of demonstrating the capabilities of Yandex to tune in to a specific region. He also copes with an important marketing task – establishing relationships with active people throughout the country (and sometimes outside). After reading about their city, they not only learn interesting figures and facts, but also often show interest in our proposals. This page is a source of very useful letters to various divisions of Yandex. And the project as a whole perfectly stimulates the writing of such letters. After all, people often do not think about the seemingly obvious fact: the audience of Yandex from any city in Russia is at least comparable to the audience of the largest local websites there. And thanks to geo-targeting, local advertisers can turn to these people not only on the city portal, but also on the general Internet Yandex.

Do these projects pay off?

In the end, yes, although not within the framework of the usual advertising model. There are no ads at Yandex.Gorods – the project simply brings us new customers and expands geographically the list of our advertisers. As, by the way, and seminars, which we fly at their own expense.

Do each of these projects use the capabilities of Yandex as a search engine?

Not yet. On Yandex.Cities, the opportunity of regionalization of search is fully used: on the page of each city there is a form that allows you to search by regional resources. But on Yandex.WiFi, there’s almost nothing to search for (except for links to the Yandex.Market pages that allow you to find the right pieces of hardware). But there are secret development plans!

How are these projects advertised?

Firstly, the most powerful advertising tool on Yandex is search advertising. Project advertising modules can be seen on the search results pages in response to subject requests. Like any search ad, it works very well.

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