Archive for the ‘Startup News’ Category

Ikbis Arab Video & Photo Sharing Site Launches New Design

| May 12, 2008 – 9:55 am | comment 8 Comments

IkbisIkbis, the popular Arab video and photo sharing website, launched a new design last night. The new design feels a lot neater and more organized, which is great and isn’t that easy to achieve for a media content site.

A new ‘Contests’ tab has been added, so it’s clear Ikbis are going to be launching more and more contests to encourage users to post more high quality content.

A ‘Coming soon’ banner, showing two primitives and a mosquito, promises a new surprise soon; I’m guessing it’ll be a cool cartoon series by the talented Ikbis designers.

According to Ikbis, this new edition starts to reflect their evolved thinking and some of the new strategies they’ll be rolling out in the upcoming months.

ikbis screenshot

# Ikbis

Places.ae Release Places Answering Machine (PAM)

| May 10, 2008 – 3:54 pm | comment 6 Comments

Places.aePlaces.ae, the cool Dubai location based directory, previously reviewed here, have released a new interesting feature called “Places Answering Machine (PAM)”, which acts as an interface for Places.ae with other communication channels on the internet, thereby enabling users to ask Places.ae for places directly through these channels without having to visit the website.

They’ve currently launched with Google Talk and Twitter support, and more channels should be added soon.

For Google Talk users, all you have to do is add places.ae@gmail.com in your contact list then ask PAM to find you something by sending a message in the following format:
find me <something> in <area> (e.g. find me pizza in jumeirah).
You can also use a search term without an area, using find me <something>.

If you’re using Twitter, you’ll have to start following the user places_ae, and once it starts following you back, you can send it a direct message to search for a place:
d places_ae
<something> in <area> (e.g. d places_ae pizza in jumeirah).

PAM is still in the beta stage, and more work is currently being put into it’s communication skills and the layout of the sent answers. But it’s still a really nice feature, worth checking out and using for quick searches.

# Places.ae

Yamli Enable Advertising In Their Language Tool

| May 7, 2008 – 12:58 pm | comment 4 Comments

Yamli Ads

More news from Yamli, the cool web-based tool that solves the problem of Arab users who don’t have an Arabic keyboard or who aren’t as comfortable typing in Arabic; They have come up with an interesting way to start generating revenue with their tool: they enabled advertising on their Yamli editor menus.

The ads are in the form of small 120×30 banners, simply and neatly placed at the bottom of the word suggestion and option selection menus.

A number of advertisers have already started buying these ad spots with Yamli, and users of the Yamli editor tool on the Yamli website, facebook, or elsewhere should start noticing them now.

No details about the pricing of these units are available on the website, but advertisers can contact Yamli to place their ads through the following contact form.

Very good move from Yamli, who just released an API to use their tool recently, and who should be seeing an increase in their tool’s usage over the following weeks as more Arabic websites integrate their tool. SouqElArab just announced integration of the tool from their side yesterday.

It will be interesting to see how well these ads will perform, and how successful they’ll be for advertisers as a new advertising channel and for Yamli as a revenue model.

New Version Of Kalimat Araby Advertising Platform

| May 5, 2008 – 10:53 am | comment 2 Comments

The new version of the Kalimat Araby advertising platform, by Maktoob subsidiary Araby, will be released in private beta soon for current users of the platform, both advertisers and publishers, to try and get their feedback on the new system and integrate any important suggestions before its official launch.

Kalimat Araby was originally launched in June 2007; and the new system will bring a set of technical and functional enhancements.

While the old system was displaying keyword-related ads on search pages, the ads displayed on publisher’s content pages were pretty much random ads; with the new platform the displayed ads are contextual ones for both content and search pages.

Another feature being rolled out for Ad Agencies is the addition of a new special interface and an API to make their work buying ads and setting up campaigns for their customers easier.

From the publisher’s point of view, a set of new features are being introduced as well; from Ad filtering, to registering multiple sites under one account, to management of ad zones and more; making it easier for them to better serve and optimize ads from the Kalimat Araby network.

Technically speaking, the system will be able to scale a lot better with the changes that were made under the hood; and a very important and interesting addition for advertisers is a new click audit mechanism that should eliminate most common click fraud issues.

The new system’s interface will be in two languages now, both Arabic and English, instead of Arabic only for the old system; with the possibility to add more languages.

With Kalimat Araby maturing into a well-rounded product, I expect we’ll slowly start to see it spreading onto more publisher websites and being generalized on to the whole Maktoob network of web sites and properties, making it a sort of one place stop for placing ads on Maktoob’s content network, online services, and even newly launched Maktoob TV; as well as a list of other publishers’ web properties.

# Kalimat Araby

Language Analytics Release Yamli API

| April 28, 2008 – 8:47 am | comment 6 Comments

Language Analytics, the company behind Yamli, the really cool web-based tool that solves the problem of Arab users who don’t have an Arabic keyboard or who aren’t as comfortable typing in Arabic, by enabling them to type Arabic words out phonetically using English characters, and then converts these transliterations into Arabic characters, have recently released an API for the service.

Language Analytics previously released a Yamli facebook application that lets users plug in Yamli features into facebook textboxes for message writing. And now to further open up their service comes the API, which should be pretty easy to setup and integrate with any other service.

This is a great move from them, giving developers the possibility to tap into their technology and use it in their own platforms; Something I wish more and more Arab startups would start doing.

I also hear the Yamli team are working on a WordPress plugin to bring its functionalities to WordPress blogs; which is really cool, and something I was going to ask for when I launch the Arabic version of this blog.

The API is in beta now; If you’re interested in testing it out to integrate their functionalities into your own service, you can apply for an invite to the beta; and check out the API documentation.

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