Du Launches Anayou A Central Social Platform For The Arab World

| Oct 10, 2010 | comment 11 Comments

Du, UAE’s second mobile operator, has just launched a new big online project branded Anayou, which seemingly aims to position itself as a central destination for users. Some are describing it as a social networking service, and even though that’s the biggest piece of it, there are other pieces to this puzzle that Du seems to be putting together.

The first thing that you’ll notice from Anayou, before even getting to know what it does and doesn’t do, is how slick and neat it looks; it’s a well designed service that stands out from many of the other services that were previously launched in the region in the same area of focus.

Anayou offers a variety of features, covering the different functionalities you’d expect from a social network like finding and connecting with your friends, following their updates on Anayou as well as on services like Twitter and Facebook, leave comments (shout outs) on their profile pages, as well as messaging them in private.

On top of that, the messaging service expands to allow users to link their Gmail, Yahoo! mail or Hotmail accounts to Anayou, to be able to quickly have an overview of all their inboxes from one place. It also enables them to send SMS messages to their contacts from the same interface. There is a limit of 5 SMS messages per month though.

Another section on the site called the Vault, enables users to upload and store their photos and videos, which they can choose to keep as private or share with their friends and contacts on the service, send in messages, or use for avatars and more. In the same section, users also get to import and grow their address book of contacts, as well as use the Mobile Sync application to backup their SMS messages.

Anayou also acts as a central content portal for all types of entertainment content, providing users with all types of entertainment news; reviews of movies and music; movie details, trailers and cinema listings; songs, music videos and lyrics; celebrity news, photos and profiles; forums and more.

The site also includes a whole Games section that provides a list of games of different categories that users can play right from their browsers; in addition to the latest games news and forums to discuss games.

Among the interesting things that are planned for Anayou are Brand pages, where businesses will be able to create and manage their own brand pages to include their brand’s profile, upcoming events, discussion forums, contests, and connect with users from around the region. Anayou will also be working with brands to bring users special offers that they can benefit from, as well as share with their friends on the site.

The service is currently stll in beta, and is available in Arabic, English and French so as to cover the whole Arab world region, and to be available to users in the language they prefer using the most.

As you can see, the project is pretty big and ambitious from Du, covering many areas and trying to bring them all under one big umbrella; it should be worth watching to see how things work out in a space that is strongly dominated by Facebook, and whether Anayou will be able to grab some good market share in the region.

The big questions are: How many users need to join another social network? Are the additional features Anayou has enough to distinguish it and give it an advantage? Will it succeed where many others before it already failed?

  • http://twitter.com/tarekkassar tarekkassar

    Another company thinks they can do social network platform…Why new social network if facebook, twitter, myspace, and linkedin are available to the same target audience who are already registered and active…Didn’t Du fail in taking-off with their “social network” platform Musahama.ae? http://musahama.ae Cheers, Tarek Kassar

  • Thefact

    i worked at du, i know who was responsible for getting this silly idea to market.

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    Why do you think it’s a silly idea?

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    Well Musahama was a bit different, it was UAE only and for a specific purpose; so not the kind of project that would catch on with the general population in a big way.

    However this is a broader effort, and it seems they’re targeting the whole Arab world, rolling it out in the 3 most used languages in the region.

    I agree, it is an uphill climb for them in a space dominated by Facebook and co., but do you think there’s no room at all for something regional?

  • Anonymous

    I guess they have an edge if they utilize their existing base of customers in the UAE as a start and connect ones existing du user’s profile to this social network ( similar to ping and itunes) Otherwise, if they compete with facebook head to head, they are loosing big-time

  • http://twitter.com/tarekkassar tarekkassar

    Mohamed, I know Musahama.ae and every bug inside. It’s still under the “Social Network” category and I see the number of users are way below the expectations or what’s required to create an active network…

    If we are talking about a platform that falls under “Social Network” category, I believe there are couple of ideas implemented in US that can be applied in the Middle East without direct competition and become a good active social network. The Middle Eastern market is not yet saturated but it won’t be a big stake beef as well if they follow this direction of generalization and not dedication…

    Also, has any Arab at du checked the name before they choose it? Ana You? Two words joined together one in English and the other in Arabic, no sense.

    Cheers,

    Tarek Kassar

  • Yaser

    I do not see anyhting new with this platrom. All what they did is to take care of the exterior of the site which what Arabs like rather than coming up with a new idea. All their ideas have already been implemented and it’s been out there for years. Anyway, good luck!

  • http://www.startuparabia.com Mohamed Marwen Meddah

    The thing is they only have that advantage in the UAE market, but this platform is supposed to be for the whole region, so it’s not as easy.

  • Abra Kadabra

    I have it on good word that approximately 20 million dirhams was spent on this project. It took them at least 3 years to create. A spectacular failure, if I do say myself.

  • Miguelsantiago

    just learning about this now, i have not seen anything on their website that has been mentioned in this blog post or any other online article/press release. 

    Has something changed in the last two years since launch? It seems more like a celebrity news blog with photos and stories about artists.

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