Arabian Business / Accenture Web Index - April 2001 Report

Arabia.com and Maktoob remain at the top of the "Publisher's own" and "Verified" charts, but this month's Web Index still throws up some surprises. In our analysis, Arabian Business.com finds out how one prominent dot-com has attained profitability.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  June 5, 2001

This month's results|~||~||~|Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for April 2001"

More companies have entered the Web Index this month with some old faces back to join us. A notable new entry is Babnet.net, from as far away as Tunisia.

Dropping out of the overall ‘publisher’s own’ top five was Careermideast.com. Gaining at its expense was Dubaiqiz, which is also back in at number one in the ‘publisher’s own’ B2C category in the overall table.

As before, Arabia.com remains at number one under the ‘publisher’s own’ figures, despite only slightly increasing its impressions month on month. Ajeeb is still second, despite its impressions increasing by a whopping 4 million since the previous month.

A permanent change has been made to the table in that the ‘number of new visitors’ category has been removed. Due to lack of entries previously in this column, Arabian Business.com feels that it does not contribute to the overall picture.

With the news that many dot-coms have shed staff in recent months, Arabian Business asks the question, ‘How are regional Internet companies going to make profits?’

Many dot-com companies believe that advertising is the key to revenue success and rely on it solely to generate the company’s turnover. Online advertising is still not taking off, however.

Arabian Business.com interviewed AMEInfo.com, a dot-com that lays claim to profitability. Lars Nielsen, sales director, explains that AME has diversified its revenue base considerably and, as a result, it’s seeing profitability rather than struggling like other companies solely reliant on advertising.

He believes that the reason AMEInfo ‘works’ is by focusing on a senior business audience. “First of all we look at the Internet as a distribution channel of our services — nothing more, nothing less,” says Nielsen. “Our company was not built on a Web strategy, it was just a natural step to enhance our reach,” he adds.

Nielsen still believes it is an uphill battle, but has remained focused on providing a service that he believes is valuable. “We believe in providing a unique service that actually makes a difference for the users, not just a service for the sake of providing it,” said Nielsen.

AMEInfo has many different revenue streams, including advertising, sponsorships, content licensing, wireless content and direct marketing. However, whilst other portal sites are saying advertising hasn’t taken off, Nielsen disputes this.

“Perhaps it is a way of keeping hopes high,” he says. “We at AME believe that online advertising will continue to grow in the coming years but we are not expecting an explosion,” he added.
||**||Regional Online Spend|~||~||~|Market research by Ajeeb.com has predicted that spending on online advertising in the region will reach $70 million by 2005, growing from $2 million in 2000.

“Though the regional online advertising market is rather small at the moment, we will see this market growing by 60% in the coming five years,” says Abdul Kader Kamli, general manager and editor-in-chief of Ajeeb.com.

And despite the recent wave of dot-com failure in the United States, which has slowed down the online advertising market in the US, Kamli believes that the Middle East market has the advantage of being fresh and media buying strategies can therefore be influenced.

AMEInfo’s Nielsen says keeping down operational costs is also vital for dot-com success. “Control costs at all times and do not expand your company unless it is viable and quickly profitable,” he says.

AMEinfo built its technology platforms entirely in-house and was hence able to cut costs significantly. It has not had to rely on VC capital and says it has never “burnt any dollars” without a clear cause.

The Web Index is continuing to grow and evolve and we welcome your feedback. Site owners wanting to participate in the Index should visit www.itp.net/webindex.

If you simply want to comment, on the Index, e-mail charlotte.mcdonald@itp.net.

Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for April 2001"
||**||Web Index: Glossary of Terms|~||~||~|Ranking in category by page views: Web sites are ranked according to the total number of page views reported in the sample period.

URL: Internet address of the Web site.

Site description: Web site owners have submitted their own descriptions. These have been edited by Arabian Business due to space constraints.

Site category: Categories have been formed by Arabian Business for the purpose of comparing Web sites in a like-with-like environment.

Total number of visits in period: The cummulative total of visits to a site in the specified period. A person visiting more than once in the sample period will be counted every time that person visits. Visitors to a site for a prolonged period, i.e. opens a Web site and leaves that site open on his machine all day, can count as several visitor sessions in that day. Web tracking software can effectively call a visitor session closed if it remains inactive for a predefined period.

Average duration of visitor session in period: The time taken between entering a site and leaving a site.

No. of new visitors in period: A count of visitors who have not at any time been logged by the Web tracking software.

No. of unique visitors per month: Unique visitors are counted using the visitor's IP address, domain name, or cookie.

No. of page impressions in period: A count of hits to pages defined as documents or forms by the Web tracking software. In most, but not all cases, a cick to a new page within a Web site will count as a single additional page impression. The supporting graphics on pages are not counted.

Sample period: The dates during which the log data was generated.

Verified by: Note of whether the visitor data has been checked by Arabian Business and Accenture or whether the site owner has supplied data without independent verification.

Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for April 2001"||**||

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