Wasfati: Recipes, Nutrition And Health Portal

| May 8, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

WasfatiWasfati, which stands for ‘My Recipes’ in English, is a new service that was recently launched to cover the needs of Arab food and cooking aficionados, as well as those interested in nutrition and health tips and articles, by providing a place where users can centralize and save their favorite recipes and articles; those they post themselves or others they find and like by other users.

The service aims to replace those bits and pieces of paper and ripped out magazine pages that people have around their kitchens with little recipes or articles here and there, by taking them online, enabling people to share their recipes, tips and articles with others.
The website users can rate and comment on each others recipes and articles, save them in their list of favorites for future reference, forward them to a friend or submit them to a number of social bookmarking sites.

The site which is entirely in Arabic, is very well designed and very simple to surf around. You can find your way by category (Recipes or Articles) and their subcategories, by viewing submissions from specific users, by checking out certain tags, by viewing the most recent recipes or selected recipes and articles, or by using the search engine to find what you’re looking for.

Wasfati screenshot

Wasfati is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was developed with Olive Interactive.

# Wasfati

Yamli Enable Advertising In Their Language Tool

| May 7, 2008 | 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.

SouqElArab Partners With Yamli For Better User Experience

| May 6, 2008 | comment 3 Comments
SouqElArab
Yamli

Press Release: SouqElArab.com partners with Yamli.com to offer a unique user experience for Arabs
Amman, May 6, 2008

The Arab social Web shopping portal, SouqElArab.com has partnered with Yamli.com, which offers tools that allows easy access and expand the Arabic Web, to offer Arabs the facility that allows Arabic speakers to write Arabic using English alphabet.

Embedded within the SouqElArab.com Web site is Yamli’s API technology that allows the user to easily access the vast product lines without the need of an Arabic keyboard. The technology has been implemented in the search engine, as well as the use of User Names for the Networking facility offered, and for placing reviews, messages and text fields. The technology is simply “Write in Arabic – Type it the way you say it” as Yamli creators put it.

“I am really excited for this partnership and looking forward for more collaboration with SouqElArab.com. Our mission at Yamli is to empower the Arabic language on the Web and we firmly believe that in unity and collaboration we can and will achieve our goal” says Yamli.com Co-Founder, Habib Haddad.

Further to this facility, numerous co-operations and partnerships are in process of implementation to better serve both companies in terms of exposure, accessibility and branding.

Fadi F. Dababneh, Founder & CEO of SouqElArab Inc. added: “This new technology has started to revolutionise the Arabic language’s use on the Internet. More and more Web services are offering this technology from Yamli.com to better serve and understand the needs of its user-base. I believe nothing like this has come along since the first Arabic e-mail service was offered in the late 1990′s.”

Language Analytics LLC, which created and operates Yamli.com is an Internet startup based in Cambridge, MA, (USA) specializes in smart transliteration technologies for Arabic and other languages.

SouqElArab.com, operated by SouqElArab Inc., is a growing Arab on-line marketplace in the making. 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.

# SouqElArab, Yamli

EatLime, Fast Video And File Sharing

| May 6, 2008 | comment 1 Comment

EatLime, is an online sharing service that attempts to make the hosting and sharing of video and other file formats simpler and faster.

As with other services of this kind, the idea is quite straight-forward; you upload your file, and then share it with the world, by providing a link to your uploaded file.

But EatLime does it with a bit of a twist; Unlike other services, EatLime lets your friends start downloading your shared files as soon as you start uploading them, by providing a link that you can share with them, making the entire sharing process quite faster; All links to files you’ve uploaded to the system are saved to your account so that you can go back to them whenever you need; and you can import all your contacts from Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo in order to send out links and share your uploaded files easily and quickly.

When it comes to video, you can upload videos of different formats, choose the player style you want for them, and then either automatically post to a number of services like myspace, facebook, bebo, orkut, hi5 to share with your friends, or have a link emailed to your friends so that they can watch it on EatLime.

The service is free and offers unlimted uploads up to 1GB for registered users. The interface is in English only, it’s very nicely designed, and registration is pretty simple and quick.

EatLime screenshot

EatLime was founded by Mohamed from Jordan and Adil from Pakistan.

# EatLime

Where Is Your Target Audience?

| May 5, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

A very big and important question that every entrepreneur faces, or that they must ask themselves if it doesn’t come naturally, is: What is their target audience?

In answering that question, entrepreneurs mainly get into details about certain demographics and break down their target market into numerous categories; which is all great, really necessary and very important.

In a web context, it gets even more complicated, because it adds a bigger factor of location into the decisions that have to be taken, and entrepreneurs have to decide how open or closed to the world their new business should be.

If we take the case of Arab entrepreneurs launching their online businesses:

Should they target local internet users in the country they’re based in?
After all, they’re close, they have access to them offline too, they know more or less how they think, or at least it’s easier to get the information they need through local market research and studies, and well they’re part of the market and they know it pretty well; in other words: it just feels safer.

Or should they expand it just a bit to the whole Arab region?
Even if every Arab country has its own different considerations and unique culture, they’re not really all that different, they more or less share the same economic situations, they have the same backgrounds and very close traditions: it just feels quite predictable and controllable.

Or should they just take the jump and try to take it global?
After all, they’re online, they potentially have access to every connected person around the world, it’s an ocean of opportunity, so why limit themselves?

Continue reading »

New Version Of Kalimat Araby Advertising Platform

| May 5, 2008 | 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

Pixar’s Brad Bird On Achieving The Impossible

| May 4, 2008 | comment Leave a comment
The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be achieved. … “You don’t play it safe—you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning.”   

The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)

| May 3, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)Every entrepreneur’s dream is to see their new product or service catch on, break into the mainstream and reach widespread adoption. Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point‘, published in 2002, talks about just that: the point where products, services, messages or ideas tip over and become a big success.

The book explores the concept of “epidemics” and how ideas, products, messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do, and what it is that makes them tip over and become an epidemic; starting from the influential kinds of people who can spread the message, to the stickiness of the message itself and the context in which it came to exist.

The book also discusses the three pivotal types of personalities that trigger “word-of-mouth epidemics” and help spread the message: Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened.

It’s a very interesting read and provides a new way of thinking for how to handle promoting a product, idea or message; and how to eventually make it a success.

The book is very well written, in a really simple style, explaining the different concepts and ideas and giving a number of examples to illustrate everything, making the discussed points even clearer.

This book is recommended to every entrepreneur looking to build an effective marketing strategy for their new business; it really gives you a new perspective and line of thought that is very interesting and could help enormously in generating the required buzz around your ideas and creating a hype around your products, which should eventually result in more sales and success.

# The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

Don’t Start A Startup, Start A Business

| May 2, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

Jason Fried, from 37signals, wrote a great post last week on Signal vs. Noise, titled Start a business, not a startup, in which he talks about the importance of handling a startup as the business it is supposed to be, and the obvious rule that any business needs to generate revenue to live on and grow.

From the moment they go live, startups are as real as any other business. They are governed by the same set of market forces and economic precepts that wrap around every other company, new or old.

At the atomic level, all businesses need to generate revenue to pay their bills, grow their business, and stay in business. The sooner they find themselves in the black, the better chance they’ll have to survive.

[...]

A poorly run startup is a poorly run business. A wonderfully run startup is a wonderfully run business. I don’t believe there are many great startups that are bad businesses. Maybe less than 1%. If the business is bad the startup is bad. A great idea, maybe, but a great business, no.

So if you start something up, start a business, don’t start a startup.

Jason Fried; Start a business, not a startup

I think this is very important in an age where the speed and ease of getting things off the ground makes many people overlook or delay the very crucial business planning part of building their startup; while some others have a business goal as simple as being acquired by X or Y of the giant companies.

Some of what’s going on nowadays reminds me a bit of the first internet bubble, when everyone launched startups covering every imaginable idea with no business model whatsoever, aiming to cash out with an IPO. Now it’s no longer IPOs they’re after but acquisitions by bigger players. That will come to an end too, as those big players start considering how they are going to fit those startups into their bigger picture and make more money out of them.

Another thing to consider is that even if you’re after someone acquiring your startup, you’ll certainly have better chances of getting a better deal if your startup actually generates money and will bring an extra financial value to them.

Places.ae, Dubai’s Location Based Directory

| May 2, 2008 | comment 8 Comments

Places.ae is one of those simple, small, but very useful services that we really wish we had more of all around the Arab world.

In short, and using their own words which I think say it best, places.ae is a location based directory for Dubai.
Integrating Google Maps, the website helps you find, positioned on a map, anything in Dubai by simply asking you what you are looking for, and the neighborhood you’re looking for it in; from businesses to restaurants to clubs to hospitals to any other place you would want to go to in Dubai.

The interface is very simple and really easy to use; you start typing what you’re searching for and the website helps by giving suggestions, and then it delivers a list of nearby places sorted by how far they are from the location you typed in.

You get to click on each one of these places to see it located on a map, find how other people who have been there rate it and read their comments on it.

Users can also add other places that they know of to the website, thereby giving the community the possibility to further enrich the service.

Places.ae currently only covers Dubai, but should be adding other emirates soon. The service is free, both for users and for businesses for the time being.

This very cool service is a product of the collaboration of code.ae and spinbits.

# Places.ae

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