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30 November 2008
Maktoob to launch
Call for
Google-style ads
DUBAI Local media companies have
failed to tap the potential of the internet
Arab web giant hopes to attract customers away from Google AdSense with and would benefit from forming alliances
new service on
with the UAE’s internet service providers
(ISPs), according to Omar Hijazi of online
“They are not recognizing online as an
important channel for media and mar-
keting,” Hijazi tells Media Week, claiming
that the regional media—with the excep-
tion of Al Jazeera—has failed to make as
great an impact as US equivalents such
“If you ask people on the street, they
won’t be able to tell you the domain names
for local online media,” he says.
ISPs and local media outlets should ex-
plore opportunities to create AOL-style lo-
cal news portals to better promote Dubai
Inc, adds Hijazi.
Web TV
catching on
By CHARLIE NEYRA/News writer
DUBAI Maktoob is to launch sponsored Maktoob is looking to capitalise on and, which has
ads on its search site in an its market-leading position in the Arab 13 million registered users, making it the
attempt to capture 20 per cent of the re- world, says Nachnouchi. “We are really biggest online Arab social community.
gion’s total search marketing spend. The close to the market; we have a very strong Maktoob will also improve the display
new service, called ‘Kalimat’—which relationship with our users. Google’s Ad- pages on to make search re-
translates as ‘words’ or ‘keywords’—will sense comes with so many ads that peo- sults more defined, says Nachnouchi: “It’s
go live in January and boast similar fea- ple in the Middle East don’t want listed on our secret weapon. Arabic websites are
tures to Google’s AdSense sponsored their sites. We understand that and we can more specific than the rest of the world.”
search results. offer them exactly what is appropriate.” The new search results will break down’s head of search marketing Nachnouchi’s target—that the new searches for music and videos into sepa-
Tarek Nachnouchi says the company’s revenue stream will take 20 per cent of rate categories, offering the track, or clip,
plan is to educate the Middle East’s main the total search marketing budgets for then a biography or synopsis, followed by
advertising agencies by proving the ben- the MENA region—should be achievable the standard web result.
efits that sponsored search marketing can within a year, he says. The new service will The universal search will be operational
bring to them and their clients. also take advantage of the boom in online from January. Maktoob has high hopes for
“Maktoob has to show the customer ad spending, forecast to top out at 10 per its new search display and the sponsored
what is needed and how to do it. Beyond cent of the total market in 2008. advertising. “The financial crisis is pushing
the agencies, we will target SMEs, which, which launched in 2006, is clients to online advertising. It is helping us
account for 80 per cent of Google’s adver- part of a growing group of websites run grow as clients want to reduce budgets, so
tising revenue,” he says. by Maktoob, also comprising, this is perfect timing”, says Nachnouchi.
DUBAI The UAE’s first online television
platform, oneTVO, is to produce 24 in-
dependent entertainment shows before
Online revenue jumps over Ramadan
it moves beyond its beta version to offi-
cial launch. OneTVO, which launched on
November 16, is also looking to increase
Ad monitoring service OOX releases online adspend report and signs big name
staff levels soon, according to co-founder
Reg Athwal.
The website—which currently has nine
DUBAI Online advertising revenue over by its usage. They can show that it is
shows, running between one and 25 min-
Ramadan rose by 82 per cent compared both a popular and cost-effective
utes—is to hire eight managers and 20
with last year, according to a report by form of marketing.”
more sales staff in the next recruitment
ad monitoring service OOXmonitor. The The report will be sent to OOX-
drive. It is also looking to raise $30 million
recently released study also shows there monitor’s current subscribers, who
of private investment, helping it grow be-
were 40 new internet Ramadan ad cam- have recently been joined by a fifth
yond its start-up, which was funded by the
paigns, eight of which were for airlines. client—the Choueiri Group—which
Khalifa Trust.
OOX co-manager Fouad Bedran says is the first publisher to subscribe to
The online broadcaster also plans to
the team studied the Islamic holy month the service. The online ad monitor-
host up to 5,000 info-videos for companies
because it was once a quiet season for web ing service, which has only been run-
and government departments by the end
ads. “Historically Ramadan is a TV period, ning for three months, tracks ad cam-
of 2009. Athwal says: “It will be the Yellow
but this year advertisers have started to paigns on more than 30 websites on a
Pages meets YouTube meets CNN-type
believe in the power of online advertis- daily basis.
of quality.”
ing.” He says marketers studied last year’s According to Bedran, who co-man-
The revenue stream of info-videos and
internet usage and—noting no drop-off ages the company with his wife, the
unique online content should, according
during Ramadan season—boosted their web presence in 2008. signing of the Choueiri Group is “an additional demonstration of
to Athwal, create a profit-stream by 2012.
Bedran says the statistics can be used by agencies “to build a OOX’s relevance to the online advertising industry”. The Choueiri
OneTVO is to start actively seeking the ex-
case for online advertising for companies who are not convinced Group is the largest media sales agent in the region.
tra investment needed from December 15.
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