October 8, 2015 Russian online service “Kinopoisk” (“russian IMDB”) announces his redesign and rebranding, which brought complete failure among russian users.
There was no limit to user dissatisfaction – comments, social networking, boards – 96% spoke negatively about design changes. The Russian segment of the Internet even after five days continues to discuss this failure.
This situation is interesting because “Kinopoisk” was bought by the Russian company Yandex (Russian analog of Google) more than one year ago. This sale completely changed “Kinopoiska” team and tried to rearrange the way its development on Yandex rails. But first things first.
Website for Kinopoisk was established on November 7, 2003. The founders of the site are Vitaliy Tackiy and Dmitry Sukhanov. The owner of the project until October 2013 was the company “Kinopoisk, which belonged to the 60% stake in the project, 40% of shares owned by its joint owner is the French company Allociné.
In the time of Kinopoisk life, users put more than Kinopoisk Wikipedia for the movies and tv-shows, and its monthly audience of 33 million people. The site provides information about hundreds of thousands of movies, tv series, as well as the personalities associated with the film and tv shows: actors, directors, producers, scriptwriters, operators, etc.
According to Alexa Internet, as of January 7, 2015, Kinopoisk takes 495 overall popularity ranking websites and 20 in Russia.
Site features. Kinopoisk has a unique user rating to assess films, which virtually eliminated the possibility of manipulating the ratings for movies. This rating was used by many other web sites for an objective assessment of the quality of the films.
User reviews, the quality of which a would be same like critics from Hollywood. Users movie collection (by type or genre), comments, reviews, discussions, and much, much more.
Recommendations, previews, premieres, trailers-this was a real free encyclopedia on the world cinema for the Russian users, and for many, it was a nice place to visit after a hard day and relax in the company of the same moviegoers.
And in one day it was gone.
But it all started before. October 15, 2013, Yandex acquired Kinopoisk for an 80 million dollars. The official purpose of buying this project is not announced and three weeks later left the project’s founders Vitaly Tackiy and Dmitry Sukhanov.
After the dismissal, the founders of the project invited like consultants to develop a new version of the site, but the final version of the new website they saw just a week before its release.
All this time the Kinopoisk site continued its work in the usual mode until October 7, 2015, when Olga Mansurova (Head of Kinopoisk) said that tomorrow Kinopoisk will make a new design and functionality of the site. What happened October 8, 2015, not expecting anyone.
October 8, 2015, Kinopoisk met all users with … error message when you try to open the site. And it was not a simple error when very many users try to open site. Website link on the main domain … just don’t open, and when it rise for users, they saw the new design, the inconvenience and the illogic which cannot be described in words.
Designed in the style of … Nobody was able to pinpoint which direction Web design that made by Yandex team.
Try to imagine an evening in the most creative and crazy co-working in San Francisco at St. Patrick’s Day, in which only the Web designers who should quickly make a new interface for a site about cinema and the only limitation is in a prominent place should be “button to watch the movie for the money”.
New format and design of the site has been met by users negatively. Angry users create an Internet petition for the return of the old site design on the site Change.org (collecting petitions).
This petition collected 30000 signatures in one day.
Vitaliy Tackiy (co-founder Kinopoisk) called the failure of redesign and destruction of site and project co-founder Dmitry Sukhanov called what is happening with the project is the “funeral”.
Moreover. Changing the design is only a small part of the “innovative” changes by a new team of Yandex.
Key features of the site which made it so popular in the web have been disabled in this release: acting compounds, film incomes, ratings and awards movies seemed unnecessary for new development team and they have disabled this feature in the new design.
Those functions, which for 10 years made this project successful and profitable not seen by effective managers from Yandex.
Many users complain about the loss of their data (films collections, reviews, etc.). Also, Yandex integrates account interconnection between users Yandex account and users Kinopoisk account and some users could not access their personal pages on the site.
“Bye bye, Kinopoisk», «It was cool 10 years», «And where I can read about movies now?” – it is only a small and coldest part of comments published by users on social networks.
The company’s first response was a letter which they said:
Before release a new version, roughly from May to October, we showed a closed beta version of Kinopoisk to Yandex employees (approximately 6000 people). Everybody said positively about this concept.
Employees of the company also claimed that each change in design projects with great history meets its audience with hostility, so they were ready for such a reaction and that part of the audience will have a negative comment for new developments.
After this comment, someone from the most dedicated users started the site in support of the old design(http://newkinopoisk.ru/), which published all of the reviews and feedback from users about the new design Kinopoisk. According to his calculations of the disgruntled new design was 96%.
After the negative and critical reviews of users, Yandex representatives promised to return the old version of site design on a different domain and keep it until the new version is not finalized.
October 12, 2015, site for the primary domain has been temporarily (until the end of the beta-testing of a new version of the site) returned to the previous design, and a new version of the site, located at the stage of open beta became available at http://beta.kinopoisk.ru
What will the project go from here? After the incident, no one knows for sure. CEO and founder of Yandex, Arkady Volozh have no public participation in the development of the company and has not commented on the event that occurred.
Current management composition of Yandex, which is responsible for the project Kinopoisk tries to find words and actions. But something inside tells me that the company will continue its path and current retreat was merely to pay off a wave of criticism and not to lose the audience.
This example has been the fact that the denial of user interests (or ignoring its) by product managers does not lead to anything good.
Regardless of how famous your company and how much its shares are quoted on the stock exchange, inattention to the views and desires of users can cost you dearly.
Yandex management capitulation from indignantly users is an important example of how society and users can monitor the operation of corporations.