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Coub is a video service and remix platform.

Users use it to create coobs - looped videos of no more than 10 seconds in length. The clips can be downloaded from a smartphone or computer, as well as imported from other video services (such as YouTube or Vimeo) and social networks. Coub was created by Russian developers in April 2012. In 2014, the company opened an office in New York.

4. The recommendation system

I googled an interview where Mikhail makes a very strange reference...

We actually made it, and there were even several versions. When we decided to compare conversion rates with Relap, it turned out that Relap had twice as many conversions by recommendations. We tried several algorithms: we used co-blogs similar in tags, the "hottest" content, and content with similar content. As a result, our algorithm had a maximum conversion rate of 25%, while Relap's was up to 50%.
Mikhail Tabunov
Founder of Coub
In simple terms, the recommendation system is a strategic area in social networks. It cannot be outsourced in any case. This is first of all.

Secondly, the interface of Coub was unique at that time: the user is shown one unit of content at a time, and the application captures the maximum number of metrics with high accuracy. Ticktock made exactly the same solution - and for good reason. The fact is that with such an interface structure developers can get very clean and always up-to-date data, and such data is the key to successful ML implementation.

For all 8 years of its existence, the service makes recommendations on the basis of banal "trending" - that is, what has a lot of views, that's what we'll show you. For the first 2-3 years, Coub users generated very high quality content, so this approach didn't do much harm. However, even with the highest quality, there won't be one video that will satisfy 100% of users.

5. Lack of marketing promotion in the external environment

I've never seen a Coub ad anywhere - and there's confirmation in the interviews (at least for the 16th year) that the team is only riding out the vitriol. As we discussed above, social networks have gone in the direction of lockin - that is, they don't give full embedding of other people's content to themselves, and from themselves they don't give a path of transition.

Here again, I'll give the example of Ticktock (there's a reason it's in the title). The guys had a strong base of loyal American high school girls. But when the market is saturated with products (social networks), and the number of hours in a day remains the same, you have to use every possible means of promotion. And Ticktock literally flooded the internet with ads for themselves in the early years.

6. Lack of internal promotion of contentmakers

Very quickly, weekly/monthly/annual picks appeared on Coub. The problem was that these picks, like the service itself, focused on the videos, not on the people making them.

Here Ticktock can already be cited as a counter-example, saying that they don't promote their users, only their content. But here you have to consider the specifics of the content. On tiktoks, in most cases, the author himself is represented, i.e. the audience, viewing the content, sees the idol as well. In the case of Coub, the content is derivative, as we discussed above - no one sees the author, in most cases viewers do not think about his existence. As a result, there is less motivation to create, because the status component is not satisfied.

This problem can be solved in several ways: it can be digests, as in appstore (where users are often introduced to developers), or curators, as in Spotify. You could also take the example of YouTube Button.

7. Toxic monetization model.

Three or four years after launch, the quality of content on Coub started to drop noticeably, and at that point it started this: after every other video, ads were popping up, and the ads were repetitive. At that moment I thought that the guys felt that it was hot and decided to make some money and leave.

When a user sees something like that, there is rejection. In fact, it accelerates the sinking of the service, which is already sinking. Time cannot be rewound, so let it be advice for the future.

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