Painting the Middle East Purple

Yahoo! have opened offices in Dubai and Amman, but is the company still relevant in the online space?

Tags: JordanUnited Arab EmiratesYahoo! Incorporated
  • E-Mail
Painting the Middle East Purple Yahoo! now have offices in Dubai and Amman (Getty Images)
By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  May 5, 2010

Yahoo! have been painting the cities of Dubai and Amman purple – the search company’s official colour. It’s now official that the search portal has offices in these cities.

The selection of the two locations couldn’t be more apt, as both are generally regarded as being the most dynamic and forward thinking when it comes to the internet environment in this region. Dubai, for instance, has established an Internet City zone, whilst Jordan has gained a reputation for having an active online media scene, with Queen Rania, for example, having a strong presence on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

If you ever have the chance then of walking into the Yahoo! Middle East offices, you’ll be able to play table tennis, foosball, Wii and have access to a café with TV and a satellite connection. (The company still maintains that startup-like environment.)

But this is Yahoo! after all – an organisation that went into freefall after it decided not to make a deal with Microsoft, and which has shrunk in terms of relevance in the internet space. The Middle East might be a shining light for the company, but it is a shining light in its gloomy environment, where Facebook, Twitter and especially Google have taken centre stage.

Yahoo! have tried to respond by recently branding itself as an individualised search portal, focusing on Yahoo! for ‘You’. In fact, last year they went on a massive advertising campaign by concentrating their efforts on creating a unique brand identity in this very competitive market. They spent millions of advertising dollars in markets such as India, with splash advertising pages on the front of top newspapers and magazines.

They’ve also been buying up other companies. There’s rumours abound at the moment that Yahoo! has been in talks with FourSquare, the poplular location-based app service. And in the Middle East, in particular, Yahoo! have a vested interest in Maktoob, one of the region’s most visited and interactive portals.

It’s quite clear that Yahoo! has a very different strategy to that of Google. Whereas Google drives innovation from within itself, Yahoo! has rebranded itself and looks to acquire innovation outside of itself.

The latter is a far more passive approach in my opinion. Nevertheless, I’m glad that Yahoo! has made its present felt in the region with their new offices. When players that have been in the tech industry for years start bringing their expertise to this region, that can only be a good thing and might help ignite the startup industry here. The Middle East might also just be the springboard to help Yahoo! become resurgent again.

3242 days ago
Arun Sarin

Welcome Yahoo! Yahoo! has an established international brand presence. Fortunes may change for better or worse and that's another story. Here's wishing them a warm welcome in true local tradition...

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code