AqarMap.com Launches New Version Based On User Feedback

| Aug 21, 2010 | comment 1 Comment

AqarMapAqarMap.com, the regional online real estate marketplace that was launched a few months ago, and that enables users to search for houses, apartments and land based on location, through satellite maps, has launched a new version.

According to numbers from AqarMap, they’ve grown quite well over the past few months, reaching a number of over 600 registered Real Estate companies and brokers, who are using the service and posting their properties on it.

The new version of the site aims to bring improved usability and more features for the users. The interesting thing is that all the enhancements and features in this new version were built on ideas and features requested by the early adopting users and clients of AqarMap, which makes it pretty much a crowd sourced effort.

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What is your exit strategy?

| Aug 21, 2010 | comment Leave a comment

As a startup founder of www.loomni.com, I wonder what are the possible exits for my company in the future? It’s a topic I think every founder should really think of. How many other Maktoobs can we really have in the region? It took 10+ years for the exit to happen. And it was a foreign company who acquired an Arabic company. I think it is a bit sad to see that the biggest web acquisition in the region was a foreign acquisition.

Although it was a really awesome story deal for the Maktoob team, it was great to place Arabia on the world map, It gives hope to young founders, but should the biggest web acquisition in Arabia, sized at around $175M (I do not have the accurate figure) – a relative average deal based on US standards – worry Arab founders? Did the Yahoo-Maktoob deal set a valuation ceiling for future acquisitions? Can local Arabic companies hope to exit their companies for higher valuation deals?

The other questions would be, who are the potential acquirers of web startups? Should founders rely on foreign corporations for their exit strategies? Can startup founders hope for any big exits from within the MENA region?

I wonder…

DuShare: A Simple P2P Direct File Transfer Service

| Aug 17, 2010 | comment 4 Comments

duShareduShare is a simple P2P direct file transfer service that aims to make the act of sending files between people as easy and effective as possible.

The service enables users to send files of unlimited size to one another though the system, and without having to go through uploading the file to a central server in the process. File transfers are handled through a peer to peer, secure direct transfer connection between the sender and the receiver.

Also as connections are direct between users and don’t go through any central server, files and chats aren’t monitored or viewed by duShare, which gives users a bit of extra privacy.

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Cobone, A Group Buying Venture From Jabbar Internet Group

| Aug 13, 2010 | comment 3 Comments

CoboneCobone is a new startup that is looking at using the power of group purchasing in order to offer its users the best deals, allowing them to save on the things they want.

Cobone aims to offer online shoppers in the Middle East region one deal everyday from every city’s best hotels, goods, services, meals, spas and more; with savings they say will start at 50%.

Shoppers are encouraged to invite friends, colleagues and family to join in on daily deals so as to increase their own chances of successfully making a purchase. Customers will also be given the flexibility to purchase coupons for themselves or their friends using a selection of online payment options, from credit cards to other options like CashU (another Jabbar company) and PayPal.

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Otlobmall.com: A New Online Shopping Destination For Egypt

| Aug 11, 2010 | comment 1 Comment

Otlobmall.comOtlob.com, the online food ordering service, is building on their success and experience, by making a new push into online shopping through their recently launched portal called Otlobmall.com.

Otlobmall.com allows users to shop online for a variety of products in different categories, including electronics, mobile phones, beauty products, sports, jewelry, apparel, books and magazines and gifts.

Purchased products are delivered directly to the purchaser’s home or designated delivery address and can be paid for either online or by cash on delivery.

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Abjad Hawaz 7o66i Kalamun, lost in the Markup

| Aug 5, 2010 | comment 3 Comments

أبجد هوز

An Arabic art gallery without some of the best crafted calligraphy holds no value. That’s a fact. Arabic calligraphy & poetry are forms of cultural pride and not just art. Going digital, we lose all that. From readability to interaction. It’s all gone. Bold? Italic? Underlined? Get yourself ten Arabic books. Open’em, read’em, do you find anything in Bold? Italic? or Underlined? No you don’t. But we do have all that on the Web. How come?

Some will debate this with Interaction & Readability unity across different languages–English that is but with all the author-ware software developers’ presence in the region there hasn’t been one solid negating report which gets us to a simple conclusion, not enough efforts, at least not as much as it deserves.

So with all the calls for Arabic content around and how much Arabic content is going to be important for the growth of Arabic users’ online experience and the Internet industry in general, the basics haven’t really been covered.

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Bayt.com’s Communities, Goin’ Social with 4.5m Job Seekers?

| Aug 1, 2010 | comment 1 Comment

Time comes for Web companies to renew themselves n’ get on with new features n’ enhanced strategies to cope up with users’ needs, opportunities, and competition. Bayt.com has gone through a series of additions to what they offer on their Website.

First was their Buy & Sell section that is just classifieds which is irrelevant to what Bayt.com is known for as a recruitment portal. And recently, Bayt.com added a new section named Communities. The new section is not live yet as it offers an introduction to what is coming up and features the first Community for Marketing professionals offering them Industry News/Updates, Networking, and Professional Assessment. Is that a shot at LinkedIn?

Bayt is rich in user-base, with 4.5 Million job seekers on board, this could be a shot well worth venturing for. Engaging such a big number of users in networking looks great on paper but in reality, the type of users that we’re talkin’ about are job seekers. And this is exactly the opposite of LinkedIn where professionals signup to network first and might get exposed to vacant positions.

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Dakwak: A Tool For Website Localization Into 60+ Languages

| Jul 27, 2010 | comment 4 Comments

DakwakDakwak is a new startup that was recently launched from Jordan that aims to provide a solution for website localization into 60+ languages.

The site makes it easy for webmasters to integrate Dakwak’s localization and translation service right into their sites; instantly providing their visitors access to content in the language they’re most comfortable reading in.

All it takes is a bit of javascript code that needs to be integrated into the site pages, and to flag the content that needs to be localized/translated; and the rest is taken care of by Dakwak.

The service automatically detects the country a visitor is connecting from based on their IP address, and changes the language of the content to the visitor’s language, switching all the text without breaking the design of the page; unless the visitor chooses to switch back to the base language.

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Online Content Bottlenecks in Arabia are loosening up

| Jul 25, 2010 | comment Leave a comment

Online Content Bottlenecks are loosening up

Looks like all are meeting at the content crossroads. Telecoms/ISPs providing higher bandwidth & speed, Media/Entertainment companies bringing the content online, and we users getting ready to use all that. I skipped Advertisers, let’s give’em a break.

The amount of direct online content piracy on Arabic websites could really shock you out if you weren’t the type that listens to Arabic music. You can download, stream, and do whatever you want with full albums of the latest titles for free, not on some obfuscated or hidden websites, torrent, or file-hosting, no, on proud flashing home pages. With all that around for years(showing the amount of interest) the only conclusion often heard was “Arabs like to get Music for Free when it’s digital” such a passive thing to say.

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AnaZahra, 32-year-old Zahrat Al Khaleej gone online? Or is it a step in conversion?

| Jul 21, 2010 | comment 2 Comments

Abu Dhabi Media Company(ADMC) is “the” pioneer in the digital publishing space in the Middle East, hands down. New digital platform? They implement n’ use it before anyone else. A media company that techno-geeks love to love. Apart from owning some of the best performing titles in print they’ve been busy going digital as fast as they could and in full steam.

AnaZahra.com - أنا زهرةAnaZahra is ADMC’s latest addition to their digital/online portfolio of titles. AnaZahra was introduced as Zahrat Al Khaleej’s branch online, or the Online version of the same magazine? It could get one confused as ADMC introduced a new business unit headed by celebrity Zoya Sakr. It was launched with Zahrat Al Khaleej’s brand used as an endorser and a sister brand, even AnaZahra’s branding borrows from Zahrat Al Khaleej, but then once you go online, print content and online are worlds of differences.

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