Arabian Business / Accenture Web Index - August 2001 Report

The biggest surprise in the Web Index this month was Arabia.com's sudden leap in traffic, from 37,814,009 impressions last month to 46,605,900 this month. That's a big jump and one that Arabia.com put down to the addition of a new Arabic language chat feature.

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By  Mat Beard Published  October 7, 2001

Competition grows in the dot-com |~||~||~|Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for August 2001"

The biggest surprise in the Web Index this month was Arabia.com's sudden leap in traffic, from 37,814,009 impressions last month to 46,605,900 this month. That's a big jump and one that Arabia.com put down to the addition of a new Arabic language chat feature.

Maktoob returned to the Index after last month's technical overhaul and turned in an impressive 44 million plus impressions. Ajeeb crossed the 41 million mark, a slight rise on last month's impressive figure.

The big news this month is that all three are going to have some serious competition to contend with soon. September saw the launch and announcement of two major new Internet projects.

Emirates Internet & Multimedia (EIM) launched a new bi-lingual portal, www.albahhar.com. EIM described the launch as part of its 'ongoing initiative to enhance the surfing experience of its customers and Internet users across the region.'

Ashraf Gameel, development manager, network services and portals at EIM, said that 95% of Arab Internet users were fluent in English in 1995. That figure is now only 50%, increasing the need for Arabic content on the Web. "EIM is fully committed to making the Internet more accessible to the Arab world, while preserving the Arabic language, culture and heritage on the Internet," Gameel said.

EIM has tied up with international newswire Agence France-Presse (AFP) and local organisations such as Cosmos software, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, and Dar Alkhebra to provide content for the portal. AFP provides international news content and the other parties provide Arabic language material.

The portal lists 13 vertical channels including news, sports, business and technology. It gives information on 21 Arab countries including links to Web sites that offer related information.

Users can also subscribe to a an e-mail newsletter service, and specify the type of content that they want to receive in the newsletter. "Our aim is to provide Arab users with a one-stop-shop for virtually all their information needs," said Abdulla Hashim, senior manager, business development and sales, EIM.
||**||More newcomers|~||~||~|CNN, the international news service, announced last month that it will launch an Arabic language portal, CCNArabic.com, sometime in the new year. The portal will initially localise material from CNN.com and will look to bring in more local content as things develop.

The other new big boy on the block, MSN Arabia, didn't look likely to launch before the end of September. Arabian Business believes a formal launch may be scheduled in for Gitex, although MSN Arabia was remaining tight lipped. What is for sure is that Khaled Bichara, the CEO of LinkdotNet, local partner for MSN Arabia, was in Dubai in September to meet potential content partners. One of those potential content partners may even be Emirates Internet & Multimedia. EIM's Gameel said that EIM would be holding talks with the software giant on a possible tie-up.

Still, the question remains: why are so many new players entering the market at a time when there is still very little online advertising in the region? EIM skirted round the question at the launch of www.albahhar.com, whereas CNN argues that the presence of CNNArabic.com will encourage sceptical advertisers to start using the online medium.

Another question relates to content. Only CNNArabic is likely to generate any of its own localised material. If there are so many portals into third party aggregation, content is going to become more and more of a precious commodity. If you do generate your own, start driving a hard bargain with those that want it.

Click here to view the Arabian Business/Accenture Web Index for August 2001"

Please send any feedback to: david.ingham@itp.net.

||**||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.com due to space constraints.

Site category: Categories have been formed by Arabian Business.com 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.com and Accenture or whether the site owner has supplied data without independent verification.

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

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