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AreebaAreeba passes 1.7m users

UAE-based social network gains traction with Arab users around the world

AreebaAreeba targets Arab social networking users.
AreebaAreeba targets Arab social networking users.

AreebaAreeba, a UAE-based social networking site designed mainly for Arabs, has reached 1.7m users, according to the firm's founder, Ayman Irshaid.

Irshaid officially launched the website in early 2011 to address a perceived gap in the market for an online space for Arab professionals and companies.

The website, which offers subscribers a social networking tool similar to Facebook, also allows various other means of communication and includes a blog spot, a video upload function, and an area to upload documents that can be viewed by all members of the site. Most of the website's traffic is from the USA, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Palestine and France.

Irshaid said that he is planning to make further investments in the site in 2013.

"We are now looking for investment so that we can do more development on the features and core network and expand our capacity so that we can reach acquire more users," he said.

He added that the company plans to add Turkish, Kurdish, and Spanish language options to the sites existing English, Arabic, French and German language options.

While AreebaAreeba faces tough competition from the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn, Irshaid says that many users are joining his site owing to its distinctive Arab flavour.

"People are joining because we are the first social network developed out of the Arab world and secondly, people wanted to experience a new social network, and third we offer unique privacy settings adapted to the Middle East culture. And finally the content shared on AreebaAreeba is clean and mostly related to the region.

"Many families are joining and people are expressing an interest in the site because it does not accept unclean material such as companies promoting alcohol or gambling," he said.

Irshaid is currently working on a plan to bring in advertising revenue, which should be ready by the fourth quarter of the year.

The company is also encouraging bigger companies to use the site, and recently attracted CNN Arabic to launch a page on the site.