Archive for the ‘Jordan’ Category

SouqElArab Launches Islamic Clothing Category With eJilbab

| July 20, 2008 – 11:55 pm | comment 1 Comment
SouqElArab
eJilbab

Press Release: SouqElArab.com launches the Islamic Clothing Category with eJilbab.com
Amman, July 20, 2008

The Arab social Web shopping portal, SouqElArab.com has partnered with eJilbab.com, which offers a wide variety of Islamic and Middle Eastern Apparel, to launch the new category of Islamic Clothing on SouqElArab.com.

The new category comprises of modest clothing like Jilbab, Abaya, Dishdash, Thoub, tops, pants and skirts based on Islamic principles.

These product lines aim to fill the gap of fellow Muslims who are living in the Western societies, where there is substantial need to acquire good quality yet affordable modest clothing.

“Our partnership with eJilbab.com is about joining experiences and care in serving Muslim communities across the globe with much demanded ethnic and religious clothing not easily accessible in the West. We chose eJilbab.com as the optimum choice to launch our Islamic clothing category with, and do look forward on a further expansion in this product line, hand-in-hand with eJilbab.com.” SouqElArab.com CEO stressed on their launch.

eJilbab.com is powered by professional and talented Muslims who have the capabilities to offer good quality of modest clothing like Jilbab, Abaya, Dishdash, Thoub, tops, pants and skirts based on Islamic principles. That is the reason why ejilbab.com was established, to be committed to serve their customer to the fullest of their abilities and to guarantee their needs by producing a good quality Islamic clothing and friendly customer service.

SouqElArab.com, operated by SouqElArab Inc., is a growing Arab on-line marketplace. It offers visitors a social shopping experience whereby they can network with like-minded people and shop at the same time. The shopping experience is based on members’ recommendations and feedback, where visitors rate and review products and come together to form a community based on their hobbies, interests and traits.

Info2cell Launch SMS and MMS Content Services In Sudan

| July 19, 2008 – 3:53 pm | comment No Comments

Info2cellInfo2cell.com, the leading mobile application service provider in the Middle East, has launched mobile short message (SMS) and multimedia messaging (MMS) content services in Sudan through a joint venture with ADU Communication Technology, a local telecommunications specialist.

The partnership will see high-quality SMS and MMS content services for the booming domestic mobile telecommunications market in Sudan, covering several categories including news, sports, Islamic and entertainment content; BBC SMS News and Sport and DUOA Islamic channel with audio MMS are presently supported.

Recent projects launched under the new services include the LAKI and Women in Islam channels and full coverage of Euro 2008 via SMS and MMS. Additional planned services are ringtones, Java games and the introduction of ‘Magalati’, the first SMS magazine in the country.

Info2cell.com’s subscription base continues to expand significantly around the Arab world, with a further 23.3 percent increase expected by the end of 2008.

Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition Nominated Teams Announced

| July 18, 2008 – 11:21 am | comment No Comments

QRNEC Logo

The nominated teams have been announced for the third iteration of the Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship Competition (QRNEC), which aims to be a driving force for entrepreneurship and innovation in Jordan.

The following are the names of the nominated teams, who have successfully passed the first stage and will compete for the QRNEC awards for this year.

Academia Entrepreneurs:
- VStock Exchange
- Friends
- Genesis JO
- ELSIRAJ
- SAFEtech
- YAMAMA
- Mis
- biotechnology
- JUST team
- GREEN LIGHT POWER
- Jeeks
- ecgteam
- Innovational Team
- Human Heater
Mature Entrepreneurs:
- Grooshat
- Populace Ads
- Talasim.com Team
- ProcHub
- TrueI
- Monitoring Systems
- F1 “Help at the Click of a Button”
- National Center for Electronic Care (NCEC)
- Royal Scientific Society & Dr.Farqad F.M.Saeed
- Energy & Environmental Technologies
- MIDA Technologies
- HubbleDesk
- Saba Fawzi Mohammad Al Nsairat
- Biomedical Engineer
- KEENWASH

These nominated teams will be receiving advanced training courses and mentorship.

# QRNEC Results

Synergos Middle East & North Africa Social Innovators Program

| July 16, 2008 – 11:28 am | comment 2 Comments

SynergosIn October 2007 Synergos launched the Middle East and North Africa Social Innovators Program, with funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other donors. The three-year initiative seeks to identify and support twenty individuals from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Palestine who are implementing successful social projects.

In order to be considered for selection, a candidate must be implementing an idea that has demonstrated positive social change and impact at a local level with the potential for replication in other communities and expansion to a national level. Social innovations will be considered which have as a focus one or more of the following fields; economic, social, or sustainable development; health; education; and culture.

The Program will invest in these Social Innovators through professional development and financial support to better enable participants to transform their small-scale projects into sustainable programs and organizations.

The selected Social Innovators will have access to training, mentoring and peer learning through a network of professionals and social entrepreneurs to help build financial and organizational sustainability for your innovation; as well as facilitation of connections to business, government, philanthropic and other civil society leaders in the area and across the world to leverage their innovation and make a greater impact. Financial awards of up to $17,000 per year, for two years, are also offered to help develop the winner’s social ventures.

The application period for the Social Innovators program began in early May 2008 and goes on until mid-September.

For more details about the program and project submission, check out the official program website: Synergos Social Innovators Program.

Dahsha, An Online Arabic Encyclopedia

| July 13, 2008 – 3:29 pm | comment 8 Comments

DahshaDahsha is an Arabic online encyclopedia and one of the serious efforts to enrich Arab content on the internet. A lot like Wikipedia, the encyclopedia relies on volunteers to write articles and publish content.

Volunteers can post books, reports, studies, articles and even video, audio and useful programs to the encyclopedia.

Even though I usually encourage Arab users to try and focus on enriching the Arab version of a global encyclopedia like Wikipedia instead of launching smaller regional or local versions, this project is still a pretty interesting one as it covers some types of content that Wikipedia doesn’t support.

The system isn’t as open as Wikipedia though, as users can’t change or edit articles by other users; they can only reply or comment on them. Which means that the site’s administrators have to be more involved in reviewing the submitted content, its quality, and whether publishing it violates any copyright laws.

It’s a good service overall, even though I think there should be some work done to enhance the usability of the posting, replying and commenting features. And as it’s an interactive service built on user contributions, it’d also be interesting to have more details about these user’s profiles, and some more social media features like content rating, bookmarking and suggestions according to the reader’s interests.

The encyclopedia already has a big volume of content published in it covering different categories and topics from computer science and technology related content to art, literature and religion.

Dahsha screenshot

The interface is Arabic only for the time being. The service was launched by Jordanian software and web development company Jordan Tek.

# Dahsha Encyclopedia

Questler Online Learning Network Launches New Version

| July 9, 2008 – 8:35 pm | comment No Comments

Questler LogoQuestler, the online learning and knowledge network, just launched a new version of their service today, with a sleeker looking logo and a new navigation system.

This new version brings a number of changes beyond the design, like:

Channels: New channel pages have been introduced for each user, where you can browse all their contributions, whether quests or comments, per their learning interests or all tags of their posts. Users can go to their settings to customize the design of their own channel.
They plan to launch specialized channels from companies and organizations that have quests to share soon.

RSS Feeds: It is now possible to subscribe to Questler’s everyone feed, as well as to RSS feeds for any specific user channel. RSS feeds are also available for tags and keyword searches, enabling you to follow topics of interest to you.

Extra Tagging: Now everyone can add more tags to any quest when they post a comment on it, this way other users will be able to filter through the Quest View page to see their comments per tags they’ve added.

Quest creation from a comment: Users can now post a comment on a certain a quest as a new Quest; the two will be linked and can be viewed in the Related Quests tab.

Related Quests: When viewing a quest’s details, all related quests will be listed on the same page, enabling interested users to further explore the topic. Recent quests as well as latest quests by the same user are also available now.

Home/Dashboard: To make posting quests easier, it is no longer necessary to go to the quest page to post, it can be done directly from the home page. A new dashboard also helps browse through the latest conversations quickly.

Questler New Version

Another detail worth mentioning is that the Beta moniker has been dropped from this version, which does feel more mature as an online service, more organized and better rounded at the corners.

# Questler

Feedoor, Central Feed Management Service

| July 2, 2008 – 2:28 pm | comment 3 Comments

FeedoorFeedoor, is an interesting feed management service that aims to give users complete control over their feeds, and the flexibility to do whatever they want with them.

The service is quite simple and straightforward, packing a number of features in its corners. Some of the most important and interesting of these features are the following; it gives users the possibility to:

  • Combine and splice several feeds of different formats (RSS, ATOM, RDF) into one feed.
  • Easily add individual items such as videos, photos or audio directly into existing feeds.
  • Create feeds of random items such as videos, photos and audio; thereby creating podcasts or media channels.
  • Customize the look and feel of their feed page by using available themes or creating their own themes.

And for the created feeds, the service provides detailed statistics including: Subscribers, hits, visits, and referrals.

Feedoor screenshot

A developer API was launched recently enabling developers to pull content from hosted feeds, statistics of a certain feed, or the number of subscribers. The API also gives the ability to build and add themes, widgets and doors (small interactive applications that can be integrated into the feed to enhance reader interaction with feed content).

For people hosting their websites on their own domain names and who want to have their feeds hosted under the same domain, the option is offered for free.

A number of publishing and publicizing options are available as well, making it easier to integrate or show off a feed’s content on several places on the web.

Feedoor currently has an English interface only, although it supports different languages in the feed content.
The service was initially launched in 2007 from Jordan by Mahmoud Mehyar.

# Feedoor

Online Multiplayer Games Account For Over 60% Of cashU Revenue

| July 1, 2008 – 10:55 am | comment 6 Comments

cashURecent numbers from Maktoob’s cashU service, the largest internet payment system in the Middle East and Africa, show that user payments for online multiplayer games account for over 60% of their revenue.

cashU was launched some years ago to provide an easy online payment system for people without access to credit cards. At first they used to provide a credit card number that people could use on all sites, even those that weren’t affiliated with cashU, but that option was stopped after some time, and now users can only pay on cashU affiliated services.

Apparently some of the people who use the service the most are young Arab online gamers, who use it to make payments on the biggest names in online multiplayer gaming – World of Warcraft, Maplestory, and Runescape, which have a multi-million user base globally, and a loyal fan base in the Middle East.

Multiplayer games have been surging in popularity throughout the world in general, and the Arab world is no exception, which is making it a target for expansion for a number of established games, like Maplestory which has a Middle East version planned for Q4 of this year, and Travian that supports Arabic.

We also reported a couple of days ago on how MBC Group is launching a new project with Chinese CDC Games, which consists of an online Arab gaming portal, in an attempt to lure online Arab gamers and get a share of the rising market.

Massively multiplayer games have explored many different distribution models, and many of them can be freely downloaded and experienced for a trial period. Typically the user only pays for a subscription fee, but there exists a third party market for virtual gold, which can be used to buy armor, weaponry, and spells.

# More: Maktoob Business

Dwwen Arab Blog Aggregator To Launch API Soon

| June 22, 2008 – 10:33 am | comment 4 Comments

DwwenDwwen, the popular Arab blog aggregator, almost shut down recently due to financial and resource burdens. Luckily a flow of supportive messages, and a generous offer by an Arab blogger to help the service out with the necessary server resources changed the aggregator’s destiny and gave it a new lease on life.

Now Dwwen are working on an API that they’ll be releasing very soon, in a move to open up their service and make the information aggregated in it more available and usable to everyone.

We got to play around with the inside beta of the API, and it’s really easy and simple to use. The API currently allows the pulling of articles directly from Dwwen; it provides the possibility to specify the number of articles you want to pull, the language of the pulled posts (Arabic, English or both), and whether you want to get the latest articles or the most popular ones.

A number of applications are also being built around the API, one of them using Adobe AIR, which is proving to be a pretty popular choice for internet applications on the desktop.

# Dwwen

Interview With Questler Founder Razan Khatib

| June 16, 2008 – 11:04 am | comment 7 Comments

QuestlerFirst of all, I’d like to really thank Razan Khatib, the founder of Questler, an interesting Jordan-based startup which was previously reviewed here, for taking some of her time to answer some of our questions about Questler, offer us some insight into the startup, the experience so far and where it’s going, as well as tips and advice for other entrepreneurs.

How would you describe Questler in your own words?
Questler is an informal learning network which allows its user base to learn from each other on any topic they have in mind through posting Quests and commenting on them. Quests in Questler are mini-blogs of information categorized into 6 types, Query, Observation, Discovery, Research, Media and Story. Each of those types represents an informal aspect to everyday learning. It’s not only a Q & A site, as some users keep comparing us with Yahoo!Answers. Questler is a place for mini-blogging, conversation, discussion, opinions and recommendations from peers rather than experts. The word “Questler” was chosen because learning starts with a quest!

How did you get the idea for Questler? and what made you feel passionate about this specific idea?
The initial thoughts on Questler came in late 2005, I basically stumbled on facebook while searching for learning technologies, and thought immediately of the power of social networks in learning rather than just social connections. I felt that there is a great space here for innovation yet I let sometime over 10 months before I started seriously working on Questler. Had to make the jump into entrepreneurship and that took some time to kick in! I was always enthusiastic about self-learning and learning from others, I find this form of learning (informal) is the real learning everyone does when they start working as opposed to what we learning in formal settings.

Did you face any difficulties or challenges taking Questler from idea to project to company?
Yes of course I did, financing from one hand was a challenge, trying to find the right partners as well as trying to create something new as opposed to imitating other sites. Still a challenge with the number of web startups launching everyday, the hardest challenge is your ability to adapt and keep trying to differentiate your project/product. We made numerous mistakes along the way, but working on Questler was and is the most exciting and fulfilling work I’ve done in my life, the adrenaline rush when launching a release, when traffic takes a hike, amazing experience.

(more…)

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