Launched in UAE a New Generation of Online Classified Ads Conceived by and for the Arabic Community
Mubawab.com, a free classified ads Website, Arabic community oriented and already present in 6 countries, has just started in UAE. The goal of the project: to open a unique site in all Arabic countries, to keep it Arabic-and-user-friendly, to generate a strong pan-Arab brand while respecting local specificities and, of course, to offer the service for free.
After 5 years of experience in developing professional Webs (including at “Grupo Intercom,” the most recognized Spanish Internet company) Shadi El-Hajj, a young Lebanese living in Barcelona, has decided to leave his comfortable job as a Technical Director in Paradizo.com to start an ambitious and close-hearted project: to build modern, latest technology and helpful Websites for all the Arabic countries.
“I have been building Webs targeting the European and American market for many years; and the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve thought those services would be very helpful and even more necessary in the Arabic countries,” Shadi says. “I want to bring the best services to all the Arab people, no matter the country, as it is a way of improving communication, business and opportunities for everyone. I did not want to translate or adapt a project from a Western Web: I wanted to build an Arabic Web, made by and for the Arabic community!”
On his way, he succeeds in convincing two entrepreneurs from Spain and France to help him financially to launch his first project: Mubawab. “We have chosen to start with a classified ads Website as it is the most basic service: a marketplace where to sell and buy anything, accessible to everyone and for free. It is very useful and positive for the domestic economy. Thanks to the Internet, distances are shortened, even within a same district or city!” comments Shadi.
Many freelancers from Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt have contributed to the project to help him with the content part of the Web. From October on, though, a professional SEO and blogger from Egypt will be leading the Content Department. “It is very important to work with professionals who know the market and situation of the blogosphere and Internet in the Arabic countries. It guarantees proximity, local understanding and a more useful and adapted site,” says Shadi.
Expansion plans with local offices
By next year, these passionate Internet entrepreneurs plan to open an office in Egypt, Lebanon or Jordan, wherever, “you can find the best Arabic Internet professionals and where costs are affordable. This project cannot stay in Barcelona if we want it to grow seriously,” tell Shadi. However, the final location is not decided yet, as it may depend on future local investors.
Latest technologies for optimum use
In order to guarantee the best user experience and fastest loading times, Mubawab leverages the latest technologies: the main application is built on an enterprise-grade Java backend and tightly integrated with the Apache Solr search server, thus allowing for fast and flexible search and filtering. On the front-end side, Mubawab makes heavy use of patterns developed at Yahoo and Google to provide optimum loading times even on slow dialup connections.
Mubawab has been architected from the foundation to be fast but also scalable: They have put to use the industry’s best Design Patterns and development methodologies to guarantee that the existing code-base is easy to maintain and extend as requirements grow and that existing deployments may handle millions of visits with minimum effort.
Shadi El-Hajj explains that, “There is so much to do! We will first focus on Mubawab, which has just been launched in July, and have it running in all the countries. After that, we will bet for other basic services such as job posts, cars or real estate websites, or any service that can be useful and important for the Arabic community.”
Internet offers so many opportunities, and there is so much to be done out there in order to professionalize online services in the Arabic community that there is no doubt that Shadi El Hajj and his team will turn all their ideas and projects into sound realities.
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