Arabia.com calls for local Net research

Despite basking in the glory of a top 1000 position on Alexa Research's most visited sites in the world list, arabia.com wants stronger independent monitoring of Middle East Web traffic.

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By  Rob Corder Published  December 7, 2000

Arabia.com has called for international Web site monitoring organisations to play a more active role in the Middle East.

Accurate and reliable data on Web site traffic is the cornerstone of the burgeoning online advertising market in Europe and the US. Currently, the Middle East is a virtual vacuum for this type of information and advertisers are cautious to spend money based on the verbal promises of sales people.

“Maturity in the internet business in this region can only be achieved once we have widely accepted methods for measuring traffic on particular sites,” suggests Richard Evans, senior vice-president for sales, marketing and business development

For now, a division of Amazon.com called Alexa Research is used by some sites to measure traffic. Arabia.com has been a firm supporter of this measurement organisation; and with good reason. The site has become the first in the Arab world to secure a place in Alexa’s Top 1000 Web Sites in the World. For October, arabia.com’s site was placed at 899 in the ranking, an improvement of almost 150 places on the position the portal held in Alexa’s rankings the previous month.

The key flaw in Alexa’s research, however, is that you have to become an affiliate of their programme in order for them to track your traffic. Since few Middle East sites have joined this affiliate programme, it is hard for online advertisers to make reliable comparisons between sites.

Other organisations go further and deeper with their research. “While Alexa research provides a useful snapshot of the current situation there are internationally recognised organisations such as NetRatings which will provide an even more accurate picture. We at arabia.com would welcome the arrival of such organisations in the region,” said Evans.

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