A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: March 2010 (Page 1 of 4)

Hyperlink: Advertising on the Information Highway

[Originally published in Venture by Roba Al-Assi, March 2009]

“Getting married?”, asks the small ad on my Facebook profile page, rather rudely. A posh, artfully photographed black car is smiling at me from the billboard across the street. Meanwhile, my television set is trying to convince me to spend “ONLY 1JD” to enter the draw for a million dollars.

Advertising is omnipresent. Unavoidable. Often annoying. Yet most of the time, it’s easy to tune off— we have had decades of practice. Our ability to effortlessly anticipate where ads will be makes it much easier to avoid noticing them.

On the Web in particular, anticipating the placement of advertising is almost second nature for the average user. Controlled by available technology as well as Web norms, a website’s grid and subsequent object placement is easy to predict. Users know that advertising spots are probably going to come in the sidebar or the header. This anticipation “plague” (at least for marketers) has a term: banner blindness. It has been proven time and time again that users almost never look at anything that looks like a banner, regardless of whether or not it’s an ad.

With the Internet continuously becoming a more important advertising platform, content producers and advertising networks are sweating away as they try to devise online advertising solutions that are both smarter and harder to tune out. Smartphones mean that the Internet is accessible at any time and any place, when TV and print media are not. Users are beginning to spend more leisure time online, chatting to their friends on Facebook, watching movies on YouTube, and reading articles on blogs. Yup, the Internet is where the advertising money should be.

One of the early solutions that revolutionized the field was contextual advertising. Using an automated algorithm, ads (often text-based) are placed depending on keywords that the user is currently viewing on a website, thus returning relevant results.

While Google Adsense has almost perfected contextual advertising on traditional content sites, it does not work as well with the human and interactive Web. Marketers are now resorting to “Sponsored Conversation”, which is more like a celebrity endorsement, except that it is bloggers, people with popular Twitter accounts, or YouTube stars who are getting paid to post about a particular product. It works well. For one thing, it’s not as easy to tune out as a banner, especially since the reader sometimes has no idea it’s an ad at all. Potential customers are also more likely to trust the endorsement of a friend over that of a distant celebrity.

But that’s just talking about traditional content, if 140-character tweets can be considered so. Quick advancements in technology mean that we’re wondering what advertising online has in store for us before the gurus make any announcements. In January, Google was granted a patent that suggests that they will start selling updated ad spots on Google StreetView, with an example of updating movie theatre marquees and store windows. Even better, augmented reality is taking off, and the potential is ridiculously exciting. Imagine a world where online geo-tags, user information and reviews are linked with a cellphone’s GPS system. Instant information about everything a user is seeing! Shops will be able to lure potential customers while they’re right on their doorstep with mobile augmented reality applications.

Advertising is finally moving beyond eye-candy and catchy phrases. It is becoming a unique cross between entertainment and information, trying to create buzz rather to get clicks. My current favorite example is gimmicky, yet so entertaining, effective, and futuristic that it is just the perfect conclusion. Try googling “Toyota IQ augmented reality”.

That’s where the future lies.

More Hyperlink articles:
It’s Time to Learn How to Surf
It’s Real Time
Start a Blog is NOT a Social Media Strategy

Ikea for the Subway

Brilliant campaign from Ikea in Paris subways.

ikea paris

ikea campaign

ikea subway

ikea design

via freshome

Randomania at #ArabNetME — Spectacled Geeks

Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet
Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet
Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet

Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet
Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet
Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet
Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet
Glasses at ArabNetGlasses at ArabNet

ArabNet Images

I’m not going to say anything about the incident…. but if you were at ArabNet or following tweets, you’ll probably get the joke ;)


Arab Net panelists strip in solidarity with Johnny Bravo

Arab Net panelists strip in solidarity with Johnny Bravo

Arab Net panelists strip in solidarity with Johnny Bravo

Live Blogging ArabNetME

Live blogging Arab Net, the Arab Internet Conference that took place in Beirut, Lebanon on the 25th and 26th of March, 2010.

  • 12:08 PM: Roba Assi Liveblogging ArabNet :) This is gonna be fun!
  • 6:36 AM: Roba Assi
  • 7:30 AM: Roba Assi My biggest problem with ScribbleLive is that it absolutely butchers my images.
  • 8:19 AM: Roba Assi Making a comment is easy, you just add it from the top.
  • 4:00 AM: aqmme @Roba Assi This is nice blogging platform, bookmarked it and waiting for the updates.
  • 4:07 AM: Roba Assi Cool! :) Thanks :) Let me know if you want to hear anything in particular about the event!
  • 4:13 AM: RobaAssi Waiting for the conference to start at #ArabNetME
  • 4:15 AM: RobaAssi My first thought is there is a good enough number of women in this hall #ArabNetME Go women in technology! :)
  • 4:16 AM: RobaAssi RT @BentMasreya: بدنا نبلش :D #ArabNetME RT PLZ :D
  • 4:17 AM: RobaAssi One of the organizers of #ArabNetME has only been using the internet for a year!
  • 4:19 AM: RobaAssi Current speech at #ArabNetME is out of Twilight zone. You’d think the opening speech would be by someone who is a Webbie
  • 4:20 AM: RobaAssi RT @swalfy: مديرة المؤتمر حديثة على الانترنت لها سنة بس تستخدم الانترنت #ArabNetMe
  • 4:20 AM: mallydobb (khalil) @RobaAssi since moving to Lebanon I’ve noticed that tech and services I’ve taken for granted in the US were just starting to make it/be used in this part of the world.
  • 4:23 AM: Roba Assi @mallydobb (khalil) yes that’s true, but you’d still think that there would be people who have been using the Internet for at least 10 years in this hall :)
  • 4:24 AM: RobaAssi Razan Khatib razano

    RT @razano RT @w43L: RT @beshrkayali: Watch Watch Watch Watch #ArabNetMe

  • 4:29 AM: RobaAssi Still listening to old-school “THE INTERNET CAN CHANGE THE WORLD” speeches at #ArabNetME
  • 4:34 AM: RobaAssi RT @AhmadTakatkah Is it an elections speech !!!!!! #arabnetme what a country #Lebanon
  • 4:36 AM: RobaAssi RT @afahad who is that guy? why did he start w/ such a heavy dish? old school politics don’t belong in an opening session for #ArabNetME.
  • 4:37 AM: RobaAssi Banker is trying to convince the ArabNet attendees to take on loans :D #ArabNetME
  • 4:40 AM: RobaAssi Actual quote, “You represent a new generation of Internet Explorers. You are prime ambassadors do not take this responsibility lightly” :D
  • 4:40 AM: RobaAssi Actualc quote, “U represent a new generation of Internet Explorers. U R prime ambassadors do not take responsibility lightly” :D #ArabNetME
  • 4:41 AM: Roba Assi Actual quote, “You represent a new generation of Internet Explorers. You are prime ambassadors do not take this responsibility lightly”. Said by a banker. MAN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
  • 4:41 AM: RobaAssi Talal Abu Ghazaleh much younger than I expected. #ArabNetME
  • 4:49 AM: RobaAssi Follow @abzzyy for #arabnetme she says like it is! :D
  • 4:50 AM: RobaAssi Rt @sam_lb They should be turning on the livetweeting screens #ArabnetME
  • 4:51 AM: RobaAssi Arab Research at Universities program initiated by Talal Abu Ghazalah (Mostly known as TAG) #ArabNetME
  • 4:53 AM: RobaAssi Yay last must-have speaker! :D Another lebanese government person #ArabNetME
  • 4:55 AM: RobaAssi RT @SalehCoder: A network between Arabian universities will be established and the official announcement will be by the end of the month …
  • 4:59 AM: Roobee
  • 4:59 AM: RobaAssi RT @QwaiderPlanet #ArabNetME The conference before launch #GeekCulture (@RobaAssi) And Far Away →
  • 5:00 AM: RobaAssi The geeky audience is not enjoying this too much so far. #ArabNetME
  • 5:01 AM: Roobee
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  • 5:05 AM: Roba Assi In case anyone is interested in how Talal Abu Ghazaleh looks :) He’s the first guy in the images.
  • 5:43 AM: RobaAssi RT @mohamed: Nothing worse than having to endure an hour of bureaucrats talking about “internet innovation”. #arabnetme
  • 5:46 AM: RobaAssi Samih Touqan just took his tie off on stage. We’re definitely getting more interesting now.
  • 5:55 AM: RobaAssi “Right time to start a venture because of the increasing interest of international and regional entities.” Rashid Al-Balla #ArabNetME
  • 5:59 AM: RobaAssi “Marriage is easier to get out of than parternships.” Rabea Attaya #ArabNetME
  • 5:59 AM: Roba Assi “Young People focus on product itself, perfecting it, and spending really way too much time on the product. You need a mentor, and to not reinvent the wheel, packaged knowledge around that you can access. Try to assemble as much as you can, don’t get your ego in the middle.” MaherQaddoura.
  • 5:59 AM: Roba Assi “Arabic content is the deal. The vast majority of Arabs do not speak English. Maktoob, the vast majority of their customers are from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, we need to create content for the masses, not the sophisticated English-speaking Arab nationals.”
  • 6:00 AM: Roba Assi “Arabic content is the deal. The vast majority of Arabs do not speak English. Maktoob, the vast majority of their customers are from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, we need to create content for the masses, not the sophisticated English-speaking Arab nationals.” Maher Kaddoura.
  • 6:01 AM: RobaAssi Aramex was first sponsor of #ArabNetME.
  • 6:06 AM: Roobee
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  • 6:14 AM: RobaAssi RT @Ghonim: Rabea Ataya: exits are good but building institutions is better #arabnetme
  • 6:15 AM: Roobee
  • 6:15 AM: RobaAssi RT @sdkaaa: #ArabNetME is trending Globally on twitter; WE beat twitter! Guys
  • 6:15 AM: Roobee
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  • 6:23 AM: RobaAssi Live blogging #ArabNetME :
  • 6:24 AM: RobaAssi Pictures from #ArabNetME
  • 6:24 AM: RobaAssi Pictures from #ArabNetME
  • 6:24 AM: Roobee
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  • 6:29 AM: Roobee
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  • 6:29 AM: RobaAssi 95% of 4 millions users use the English interface #ArabNetME
  • 6:30 AM: Roobee
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  • 6:44 AM: RobaAssi Recapping panel 1 @ArabNetME
  • 6:45 AM: RobaAssi RT @BentMasreya: May Zankoul did a great two minutes presentation #ArabNetME
  • 6:46 AM: RobaAssi RT @TravellerW: idea 3: idea exchange, a feedback system from users to brands. I see potential. #arabnetme
  • 6:47 AM: RobaAssi RT @dev3k: good question RT @Said_hassan: why didnt u use the arabic instead of twitter, since you want to support arab !!!! …
  • 6:49 AM: RobaAssi RT @dev3k: lol RT @ealshafei: WTF! @JustAmira wain ahl il khaleej? “40% or more of @ArabNetMe attendees are Jordanian” #ArabNetME
  • 6:51 AM: RobaAssi RT @FouadJeryes: At #arabnetme conference – great stuff so far! Valuable input from inspiring people.
  • 6:52 AM: RobaAssi RT @manna_87: RT @w43L: Interesting idea, gaming to be focused on more in our region #ideathon #arabnetme
  • 6:53 AM: RobaAssi RT @Shusmo: I feel for them, I do not like the pressure they are under, 2 minutes and hustling! like they need more pressure
  • 6:55 AM: RobaAssi RT @razano: Excellent pitch. RT @w43L: local video-game startup #ideathon #arabnetme
  • 7:46 AM: RobaAssi I didn’t see you :P What color shirt are you wearing? :P #ArabNetME
  • 7:50 AM: RobaAssi RT @contwext: users tweeting about #ArabNetME – @sdkaaa @naeema @redman4u @abzzyy @robaassi, @zohazoya, @ibrahimarab, @bentmasreya, @w43l
  • 7:50 AM: RobaAssi I thought a moderator isn’t supposed to give such a long speech? #ArabNetME
  • 7:55 AM: RobaAssi RT @AlexanderMcNabb: A stage-full of angels at #ArabNetME. So much capital – how much will be intellectual? >;0)
  • 7:56 AM: RobaAssi They’re talking about finance at #ArabNetME and I’m such an airhead with such things.
  • 7:58 AM: RobaAssi Youd think that after 18 years of life in Saudi Arabia Id be more used to seeing businessmen dressed in dressy tobes & headcovers #ArabNetME
  • 7:58 AM: RobaAssi testing html
  • 7:59 AM: RobaAssi testing html on #ArabNetME screen
  • 8:00 AM: RobaAssi RT @humeid: basil ojjeh vcs in region not aggressive enough. Only 2 logos of the #arabnetme sponsor wall are from vcs. I totally agree.
  • 8:04 AM: RobaAssi Self-congratulatory speeches now at #ArabNetME
  • 8:06 AM: RobaAssi Live blogging #ArabNetME here:
  • 8:08 AM: RobaAssi #ArabNetME Omar kritsadios is a much better moderator than the guy currently on stage.
  • 8:08 AM: RobaAssi RT @nmoawad: Watch the live stream here #ArabNetME – free knowldge for all
  • 8:09 AM: RobaAssi RT @manna_87: RT @Aramex: @basselojjeh at #ArabNetME “VCs need to be more active and aggressive.
  • 8:10 AM: RobaAssi RT @humeid: discussing investor conservatism in a region so rich in cash is a bit depressing, no? #arabnetme
  • 8:10 AM: RobaAssi RT @AmirAlx RT @TravellerW The fact that we keep going back to Maktoob is proof that resounding success is exception, not rule #arabnetme
  • 8:12 AM: RobaAssi RT @nasawiya: proud of have 4 of our young women attending #ArabNetME and keeping an eye on #gender!
  • 8:19 AM: RobaAssi Twitter is being mentioned. Twitter is the star of #ArabNetME
  • 8:25 AM: RobaAssi Blackberry much more popular in the Arab world than iPhone #ArabNetME
  • 8:25 AM: RobaAssi RT @TravellerW: Here at #Arabnetme, i’m having a thought for the people striking at #islamonline as we speak.
  • 8:28 AM: RobaAssi Bassel Ojeh, “Think of projects by milestones rather than by numbers in terms of breaking even.”
  • 8:30 AM: RobaAssi The panelists on the second panel all ooze charisma. #ArabNetMe
  • 8:32 AM: RobaAssi RT @sdarine We dono want arbic versions of existing businesses we need genuine fresh ideas that can cross borders #arabnetme
  • 9:55 AM: RobaAssi Back to the conference hall at #ArabNetME after a good lunch :)
  • 9:56 AM: RobaAssi Currently @FadiGhandour giving a speech
  • 9:57 AM: RobaAssi Currently @FadiGhandour giving a speech, very charismatic person indeed. First person to get the audience laughing. #ArabNetME
  • 9:59 AM: RobaAssi Currently @FadiG giving a speech, very charismatic person indeed. First person to get the audience laughing. #ArabNetME
  • 10:05 AM: RobaAssi “Our education system does not empower because it is run by people who don’t know what works.” @FadiG #ArabNetME
  • 10:05 AM: RobaAssi “It is not about cash, it is about knowledge. It is not about football clubs.” @FadiG #ArabNetME
  • 10:09 AM: RobaAssi RT @Naeema RT @MayaZankoul #ArabnetME the amazing @fadig giving his speech, illustrated on People r lovin him
  • 10:13 AM: RobaAssi RT @9aa: @fadig ‘The biggest enemy to arab open borders is the arab business community’ #arabnetme
  • 10:18 AM: Roba Assi Oh bring back Fadi! :)
  • 10:18 AM: Roobee
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  • 10:24 AM: RobaAssi Iltaqi: augmented reality described with a different word — at least the mobile part of it :) #ArabNetME
  • 10:27 AM: RobaAssi Wow, one of the first females on stage. #ArabNetMe Noura Al-Fadel
  • 10:36 AM: RobaAssi RT @69mirs applause to nur from #arabnetme @nasawiya check the website of a great woman inititive in the business world
  • 10:37 AM: RobaAssi RT @alialhasani: I’m in love with the live Illustrations on #arabnetme
  • 10:39 AM: RobaAssi RT @AlexanderMcNabb: RT @humeid: jawaker should show the damn product not just powepoint slides #arabnetme
  • 10:41 AM: RobaAssi Thanks to #ArabNetME I’m gettingintroduced on Twitter to the geekiest Arabs online to follow! :D
  • 10:43 AM: RobaAssi .Net technologies for, me and @AmerKawar say BOOOOO. Dude OPEN SOURCE! #ArabNetME
  • 10:46 AM: RobaAssi First time I hear Web 3.0 today from Rifflex founder, didn’t hear Web 2.0 at all. #ArabNetME
  • 10:47 AM: RobaAssi RT @mkhawaja: shift + F5 :) #arabnetme
  • 10:48 AM: RobaAssi RT @gryoung0110: I 1st read #ArabNetME as “the arab next to me” and was like, “Wow, how racist Twitter!”
  • 11:13 AM: RobaAssi RT @AlexanderMcNabb demo PPTs give me hope for my industry. They need help in their communications &its clear how we’d add value. #ArabNetME
  • 12:03 PM: RobaAssi E-Sales panel at #ArabNetME
  • 12:04 PM: RobaAssi talking about at #ArabNetME the average mall in the emirates gets a million visitors over a month, souq has them more often
  • 12:08 PM: RobaAssi Pictures from ArabNet
  • 12:08 PM: RobaAssi Pictures from ArabNet #ArabNetME
  • 12:11 PM: RobaAssi Never noticed how the @Aramex team looks very interesting #ArabNetME
  • 12:15 PM: RobaAssi Credit card issues online. Why is it an issue? You can get an e-surfer from a bank in 5 minutes in Jordan. I think its lack of PR #ArabNetME
  • 12:17 PM: RobaAssi Boooo at Microsoft technology #ArabNetME
  • 12:19 PM: RobaAssi Why arent there enough Open Source speakers on these panels? Nothin about Creative Commons? Firefox? PHP? Wikipedia? WordPress? #ArabNetME
  • 12:20 PM: RobaAssi Sexism coming out now with “Women being better shoppers” #Fail #ArabNetME
  • 12:24 PM: RobaAssi RT @69mirs: He did NOT just say that!!!! Women r passionate about shopping and products!!! NO way! @nmoawad @nasawiya #arabnetme
  • 12:26 PM: RobaAssi RT @mkhawaja: RT @possumawesome: A woman as tech-savvy as my grandma is moderating the ecommerce panel at #arabnetme
  • 12:26 PM: RobaAssi Microsoft getting sensitive. Go OPEN SOURCE!!!!! #ARABNETME
  • 12:35 PM: RobaAssi Oh god, they have to mention heaven even in a net conference! #ArabNetME
  • 12:38 PM: RobaAssi RT @Meho_M: A great comment and the response is shameless promotion of your bank? #Arabnetme
  • 12:39 PM: RobaAssi Day 1 of #ArabNetME is almost over. Fantastic effort by the guys, some awsome speakers, great attendees. Love & inspiration r in the air ;)
  • 12:40 PM: RobaAssi “The good thing about the young population of the Arab World is that our population dont need2be educated on how to use the net” #ArabNetME
  • 12:42 PM: RobaAssi RT @AlexanderMcNabb: #ArabNetME was, I don’t use the word lightly, awesome. So wrap up the ecommerce panel now and leave us on a high.
  • 12:45 PM: RobaAssi Okay. We’re back to the 80’s. #ArabNetME
  • 12:46 PM: RobaAssi Bank 3awdeh? I always thought it was pronounced Bank Aw-Dee #ArabNetME
  • 12:48 PM: RobaAssi Okay, I want to go to the Amman-Beirut Tweet up now. Khalas, bekafi hown. #ArabNetME
  • 12:52 PM: RobaAssi Speaking of live-tweeting, lets hope tomorrow’s panels are reading what we’re saying and care to react. #ArabNetME
  • 12:55 PM: RobaAssi Start up demo listing, who’s going to win? #ArabNetME
  • 12:56 PM: RobaAssi RT @imadnaffa: Most architect Web sites suck! Why Can’t the World’s Best Architects Build Better Web Sites? #architecture
  • 5:18 AM: Roobee
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  • 5:20 AM: RobaAssi Comedian apparently. #ArabNetME
  • 5:23 AM: RobaAssi Pictures from day 2 at ArabNet #ArabNetME
  • 5:26 AM: RobaAssi Not enough money spent on online advertising #ArabNetME
  • 5:27 AM: RobaAssi RT @ArabNetME: We are trending, again! #ArabNetME is now trending globally!
  • 5:30 AM: RobaAssi RT @TravellerW: Blog post – The Traveller Within: Under the sign of Geek: It’s the ArabNet Conference! #ArabNetME
  • 5:34 AM: RobaAssi “Digital agency is the poor cousin of an ad agency.” -Yusuf Tuqan, Flip Media #ArabNEtME
  • 5:34 AM: RobaAssi RT @KhouryrtNazzal el 3wayneit! Woohoo! #arabnetme
  • 5:37 AM: RobaAssi RT @fadig @tomgara: Just had the most expensive coffee of my life @ #arabnetme a $10 cappucino in the lobby of the Habtoor. I love Lebanon.
  • 5:37 AM: RobaAssi RT @Syd_Congrejo: you2bourneh il sun shades and burberry bil #arabnetme WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 5:38 AM: RobaAssi The internet here is beyond crap today. #ArabNetME
  • 5:39 AM: RobaAssi Oh, god. Catwalk. #ArabNetME
  • 5:41 AM: RobaAssi Ooooohhhh Louis Vitton belt!!!! :D #ArabNetME
  • 5:46 AM: RobaAssi Rt

    Ad panel #ArabNetME : Give away one secret or one unused big idea today. For free. <-stolen fm @chrisbrogan :)

  • 5:50 AM: RobaAssi RT @AssaadTh: People Twittering: What if we cover the Arab Summit on Twitter? #arabnetme
  • 5:51 AM: RobaAssi RT @QwaiderPlanet: Live Blogging Day 2 of ArabNetME #ArabNetME →
  • 5:54 AM: RobaAssi RT @ArabNetME: A great potential in augemented reality for brand interaction- #ArabNetME
  • 5:55 AM: RobaAssi RT @makeastartup #ArabNetME if 1% of advertising spend is online, startups depend on advertising. How much is there to go around really?
  • 5:56 AM: RobaAssi RT @Naeema: Finally somebody points that out :) RT @LebaneseVoices: Online Advertising is different from spam #ArabNetMe
  • 5:56 AM: RobaAssi RT @humeid: online adv will hit home when suddenly an arab brand emerges on the scene which bypasses traditional ecosystem #arabnetme
  • 6:40 AM: RobaAssi And we’re back with social media panel at #ArabNetME
  • 6:40 AM: RobaAssi Cool moderator, I like that he’s moving. Keeps the beat flowing. Kinda. #ArabNetMe
  • 6:41 AM: RobaAssi Ahmad Humeid #Humeid on Social Media panel. #ArabNetME
  • 6:42 AM: RobaAssi RT @LebaneseVoices: social networking is about being with you in the crowd, #ArabNetME
  • 6:44 AM: RobaAssi 70% of internet users in the arab world use social media #ArabNetME
  • 6:45 AM: RobaAssi 10 billion dollars were spent on advertising on social networking #ArabNetME
  • 6:45 AM: RobaAssi All panelists took off their jackets in solidarity with Johnny Bravo #ArabnetMe
  • 6:47 AM: Roobee
  • 6:48 AM: RobaAssi “Theres room for only one social network and it’s facebook” -director of localization at facebook #ArabNetME
  • 6:48 AM: Roobee
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  • 6:50 AM: RobaAssi Facebook is a real social network because your friends are there. If your friends aren’t there, you can’t do anything. #ArabNetME
  • 6:50 AM: RobaAssi Netlog is the opposite of Facebook because you meet people there that you do not know #ArabNetMe
  • 6:51 AM: RobaAssi RT @beshrkayali: Watch it live: Video Streaming, Live Illustrations (@MayaZankoul) & Live Tweeting #arabnetme
  • 6:52 AM: Roobee
  • 6:52 AM: RobaAssi Talking about toot on panel. GO TOOT! #Arabnetme check it out at
  • 6:53 AM: RobaAssi Go toot! #ArabNetME
  • 6:55 AM: RobaAssi great panel so far. CONTENT. #ArabNetME
  • 6:56 AM: RobaAssi RT @azzilive: #arabnetme number of facebook users in Saudi Arabia 1703060 source: Inside facebook blog
  • 6:58 AM: RobaAssi Mounds of traffic comes from pictures. People watching people. And video traffic. #ArabNetME
  • 6:58 AM: RobaAssi Someone has to mention Farmville. #ArabNetME
  • 6:59 AM: RobaAssi Oooh he just mentioned it. I like this guy. #ArabNetME
  • 7:00 AM: RobaAssi Chatting, messaging, pictures are the most used features on Facebook. #ArabNetMe
  • 7:01 AM: RobaAssi Facebook didn’t want Facebook to become a gaming platform. Ha! Tough luck. 80% of the people I know is on Facebook for Farmville. #ArabNetME
  • 7:03 AM: RobaAssi Guys, I have an admission to make. I LOVE FACEBOOK. #ArabNetME
  • 7:05 AM: RobaAssi Guys, stripping in solidarity incident is online with four pictures ;)
  • 7:05 AM: RobaAssi Guys, stripping in solidarity incident is online with four pictures ;) #ArabNetME
  • 7:06 AM: RobaAssi Arabic is a driver of growth in some countries like Saudi Arabia #ArabNetMe 50% of people use the site in Arabic
  • 7:06 AM: RobaAssi I agree! RT @reemkhouri: Fawzi Rahal, Regional Communications Director, G2 is the best moderator so far!! #ArabNetME social media panel
  • 7:07 AM: RobaAssi RT @9aa: Haddad of FB: 400K translators have contributed to translation on FB, more than # of translators employed worldwide. #arabnetme
  • 7:09 AM: RobaAssi Wow. GCC traffic is moderated completely differently. And why aren’t there enough GCC nationals in ArabNet? #ArabNetME
  • 7:10 AM: RobaAssi Cultural localization rather than just lingual localization @Humeid #ArabNetME
  • 7:11 AM: RobaAssi RT @beshrkayali: RT @Ghonim #Arabnetme please turn off your torrents. Internet is very slow!
  • 7:11 AM: RobaAssi We don’t just consume brands, we consume much more #ArabNetME
  • 7:12 AM: RobaAssi Everyone hates Farmville #ArabNetME
  • 7:16 AM: RobaAssi Effects on brands by social networks is important blatant self-promo, “Start a blog isnt a SM stratgy”: #ArabNetME
  • 7:16 AM: RobaAssi Google Buzz is mentioned. Now, I’m google’s biggest fan girl, but I don’t like Buzz :/ #ArabNetMe
  • 7:17 AM: RobaAssi RT @69mirs: Great session ! That’s the best one till now! Well coordinated n rich in content #arabnetme
  • 7:17 AM: RobaAssi DEFinitely! :) RT @sygma: @robaassi and other geeks/geekettes we have got to exchange geek cards & PGP keys ^^ #arabnetme
  • 7:18 AM: RobaAssi RT @MayaZankoul: social Media. Patrick Atallah ” I hate farmville by the way”. This had to be illustrated! :-)
  • 7:19 AM: RobaAssi RT @Meho_M: “there’s Google buzz as well” — Fawzi Rahal .. “Google what??” — Ghassan Haddad (Facebook) #ArabnetME
  • 7:19 AM: RobaAssi RT @nasawiya @Humeid Online conversation in the Arab World is important because we’re stepping away from state-controlled media. #ArabNetME
  • 7:20 AM: RobaAssi Blogging is awesome!!!! #ArabNetME
  • 7:20 AM: RobaAssi RT @reemkhouri: @humeid No to web censorship in Jordan #ArabnetME (via @AliDahmash)
  • 7:20 AM: RobaAssi RT @ArabNetME: 1000+ tweets until now in the Social Media Panel at #ArabNetMe…
  • 7:26 AM: RobaAssi Ooh check out for examples on social media wins. #ArabNetME
  • 7:27 AM: RobaAssi RT @ahamzawi: According2Google Trends ‘facebook’ is the 4th most popular query in Lebanon in the last 7 days #arabnetme
  • 7:30 AM: RobaAssi Go Digg!!! #ArabNetMe
  • 7:31 AM: RobaAssi This panel rocks. I hope the rest of the panelists today are as knowledgable as these guys. #ArabNetME
  • 7:33 AM: RobaAssi Listening tool in Arabic came out of UAE, any one knows name? I’m curious #ArabNetME
  • 7:39 AM: RobaAssi Only woman panelist was not an Arab :/ I mean she rocked, but we need more chicks in tech in Arabia. #ArabNetME
  • 7:40 AM: RobaAssi RT @manna_87: RT @7iber: What about social media for some social change..? #arabnetme
  • 7:41 AM: RobaAssi Twitter feminists are out! #ArabNetME We heart feminists.
  • 7:41 AM: RobaAssi RT @khaledmhakim: Question asker interrupts “can we have a woman ask a question please!!”
  • 7:42 AM: RobaAssi RT @khaledmhakim: Question asker interrupts “can we have a woman ask a question please!!” #ArabNetMe
  • 7:43 AM: RobaAssi go 7iber! :) #ArabNetME
  • 7:44 AM: RobaAssi RT @MayaZankoul: RT @aymanitani: .@jessdheere making sure #ArabNetME panel involve women in q&a.she voiced it on twitter screen + outloud
  • 7:44 AM: RobaAssi Social media panel is ending. Too bad. That was a very good panel. Thanks guys! #ArabNetME
  • 7:45 AM: RobaAssi Lunch break for those following from outside. See you in a bit :) #ArabNetME
  • 8:22 AM: RobaAssi Gaming panel now at #ArabNetME
  • 8:23 AM: RobaAssi Mrs Reine Abbas, first arab female panelist :) #ArabNetME
  • 8:24 AM: RobaAssi RT @3adoola: what is gaming in arabic? #arabnetme al3ab :)
  • 8:24 AM: RobaAssi RT @ArabNetME: George Akiki, Director of Corporate Affairs, Middle East and Africa, Cisco moderating the #gaming panel
  • 8:26 AM: RobaAssi For every three games produced, only one is launched #ArabNetME
  • 8:29 AM: RobaAssi Correction: for every 10 games three are launched. Thanks @AsaadTh
  • 8:30 AM: RobaAssi RT @steitiyeh: “Social Networks are publishers that do not charge you!” #arabnetme
  • 8:30 AM: RobaAssi RT @AssaadTh: Culturalization is being discussed at the panel (NEW TERM TO BE ADDED TO DICTIONARY) #arabnetme
  • 8:30 AM: RobaAssi RT @fadisabbagha: Culturalization rather than only localization: embracing language and culture #arabnetme
  • 8:30 AM: RobaAssi RT @jbeydoun: MOST web based games suck !! i prefer old fashion 3D games !! 1st person, RPG, strategy !! #arabnetme
  • 8:34 AM: RobaAssi Competition most important aspect of games. I think its important web-wide, more sites are starting2embrace the competitve factor #ArabNetME
  • 8:36 AM: RobaAssi Glocalization — McDonald’s vision. Global appeal with small localized features. Touqan from Wizards. #ArabNetME
  • 8:36 AM: RobaAssi Oops. Nour Khreis. I’m getting my Jordanians mixed! ;) #ArabNetME
  • 8:36 AM: RobaAssi RT @khaledmhakim: “Jordanian speakers will only go as far as taking off the shirts…” #arabnetme -Nour Khreis
  • 8:38 AM: RobaAssi For games and buying games, god bless Hamoudeh ;) #ArabNetME #Jo
  • 8:38 AM: RobaAssi Micropayment in games for add-ons rather than the real stuff #ArabNetME
  • 8:39 AM: RobaAssi In game advertising still not “understood”. I love the Snickers “loading” button on Madden ’09. #ArabNetME
  • 8:41 AM: RobaAssi Virtual goods are the TRIPPIEST thing ever. #ArabNetJO
  • 8:41 AM: RobaAssi Virtual goods are the TRIPPIEST thing ever. #ArabNetME
  • 8:44 AM: RobaAssi “Premium mode” is monetization method. #ArabNetME
  • 8:47 AM: RobaAssi RT @yazeedaloyoun: Everyone join LinkedIn’s ARABNET group so we can connect #arabnetme
  • 8:48 AM: RobaAssi I like Nour Khrais. Good speaker. #ArabNetME
  • 8:49 AM: RobaAssi RT @mony_: just having huge flashbacks about those times with my 1st NINTENDO and MARIO BROS. #arabnetme some1 wanna kill evil mushrooms?
  • 8:50 AM: RobaAssi RT @IchaAuliaA: ciapa aja boyeeeeh siapa yg arab -_- RT @IchaAuliaA: sumpah trending topic apaan neeeeeeeeeh #arabnetme ?????
  • 8:50 AM: RobaAssi RT @nasawiya: Reine Abbas Lebanon has the the talent to support the growth of market. But there’s no trust. We keep on importing. #ArabNetME
  • 8:53 AM: RobaAssi RT @razano: RT @sanatawileh: Panel 6: Gaming is going arabic! all english translation kits r available on the left side@entrance. #ArabNetME
  • 8:54 AM: RobaAssi RT @Sarmady launched 1 of the 1ST branded games 4 an Egyptian local brand 15,000 users interacted in 2 weeks #ArabNetME
  • 8:55 AM: RobaAssi Interessing comparison by Nour about exporting brains and games #ArabNetME
  • 8:56 AM: RobaAssi RT @ihijazi @Aramex A Jordanian game gets released in Mexico Nour Khreis at the online gaming panel at #arabnetME This guy is amazing!
  • 8:57 AM: RobaAssi RT @alialhasani @Meho_M: Check out amazing production team @ #ArabnetMe
    by the very talented @mayazankoul
  • 8:58 AM: RobaAssi Cultural schism with mothers day celebration in a game being boycotted in saudi arabia. #ArabNetME
  • 8:59 AM: RobaAssi RT @razano: RT @zohazoya: 3D games require downloading a big file from the Internet which requires fast Internet with no delays #ArabNetMe
  • 9:00 AM: RobaAssi RT @abdullaharif: @FIRARO here you go #ArabNetME
  • 9:00 AM: RobaAssi Wow Halo and Call of Duty and such games cost figures as big as 20 million bucks. Damn. #ARabNetMe
  • 9:01 AM: RobaAssi RT @salimhb: RT @arzleb: RT @Ciscobeirut: Request broadband for Lebanon on #arabnetme
  • 9:02 AM: RobaAssi Ooooh #ArabNetTeam using Firefox to live stream our tweets. Go Firefox!
  • 9:03 AM: RobaAssi Ooooh #ArabNetME Team using Firefox to live stream our tweets. Go Firefox!
  • 9:04 AM: RobaAssi RT @Linasheh “A big challenge we are facing with the gaming industry is payment methods.” Great insights at the gaming session at #arabnetME
  • 9:06 AM: RobaAssi RT @sam_lb: Finally somebody mentioned the app stores #ArabNetME
  • 9:07 AM: RobaAssi RT @humeid

    i like the fact that the gaming session is talking about on the ground issues. #arabnetme

  • 9:08 AM: RobaAssi RT @razano

    I like everyone on this pannel, great selection and conversation. #ArabNetMe #Gaming

  • 9:11 AM: RobaAssi RT @nasawiya: Noor Khrais: What value are we adding to the Arab world? – Asking a question from the Twitosphere. #ArabNetME
  • 9:11 AM: RobaAssi RT @razano: lol RT @Aramex: MC calls one of the attendees “Lady in Red”. No, she’s not an Aramex courier person!
  • 9:17 AM: RobaAssi initiative from dubai 2 years ago targeted to improve tech industry in the arab world #arabnetme
  • 9:21 AM: RobaAssi Gaming panel now over, awesome panel. #ArabNetMe Be back at 3:00
  • 10:12 AM: Roobee
  • 10:12 AM: Roobee
  • 10:12 AM: RobaAssi About to start panel 7 at #ArabNetME that revolves around mobile
  • 10:16 AM: RobaAssi CEO of Zain currently talking at #ArabNetMe
  • 10:20 AM: RobaAssi Mobile technology will become so ubiquitous it will replace everything — currently showing a sim card with builtin wifi #ArabNetME
  • 10:23 AM: RobaAssi RT @ziadaly: 17% : 80% that’s Internet : Mobile in our Region .. Mobile is the way to go. #ArabNetMe
  • 10:23 AM: RobaAssi Spectacled geeks at #ArabNetME
  • 10:23 AM: RobaAssi RT @khouryrt: High demand for blackberries in Jordan #arabnetme
  • 10:24 AM: RobaAssi Is there really high demand for Blackberrys in Jordan? I dont know a single Jordanian person with a Blackberry. Its all iphones. #ArabNetME
  • 10:29 AM: RobaAssi Zain applications next month that allows app developers to place their apps with zain to avoid country issues with app stores #ArabNetME
  • 10:31 AM: RobaAssi Twitter won’t respond because internet is so slow #ArabNetME
  • 10:40 AM: RobaAssi .08% of books published in the world are arab. Zain CEO is saying that the Arab net is much better comparatively. #ArabNetME
  • 10:43 AM: Roba Assi Genuine arabic content that deals with Arab society.
  • 10:43 AM: Roba Assi Zain Jordan CEO is a very powerful character, he’s hogging the mic.
  • 10:44 AM: Roba Assi I thought the content discussion was supposed to come next.
  • 10:45 AM: RobaAssi Obviously app stores are the future, everyones trying to make room for them #ArabNetME
  • 10:47 AM: RobaAssi RT @TravellerW Arab world: 5% world pop, 0.08% of books publication, 1% of online content. Dont fool uself: 1% is still a shame. #ArabNetME
  • 10:51 AM: RobaAssi $8 billion spending on advertising in MENA, $1 billion on web, and negligible with mobile. #ArabNetME
  • 10:54 AM: RobaAssi Ad supported data-plans might be a possibility #ArabNetME
  • 10:58 AM: RobaAssi The google instant interpretor phone reminds me of a sakhr app; #ArabNetME
  • 11:01 AM: RobaAssi Mobile is still a stupid device today — Nokia #ArabNetME
  • 11:03 AM: RobaAssi RT @lor9na: liking the accents on the platform #arabnetme
  • 11:15 AM: RobaAssi RT @lor9na: 11 screens between my seat and the platform.. And then some in the screens themselves :-/ #arabnetme
  • 11:17 AM: RobaAssi Tweetdeck died because of API limitations. Now using Twitter. #ArabNetME
  • 11:18 AM: RobaAssi Feedback around me about mobile panel: complaining/advertising #ArabNetMe time for a break
  • 12:19 PM: RobaAssi The content panel at #ArabNetMe is extremely interesting, but twitter has been acting up for a few hours.
  • 12:20 PM: RobaAssi Advertisers not mature enough to realize the potential in portal advertising #ArabNetME
  • 12:21 PM: RobaAssi Google and Yahoo and other companies should work together to help advertisers realize potential of internet #Arabnetme
  • 12:22 PM: RobaAssi Structuring data is weak in the Arab world #Arabnetme
  • 12:22 PM: RobaAssi Monetization of content does not have to come from advertising. #ArabNetME
  • 12:24 PM: RobaAssi I’m sure bloggers who have been blogging for so long can relate to this discussion #ArabNetME
  • 12:26 PM: RobaAssi Creating educational curriculum in Arabic to allow women “the gatekeepers” to allow the internet at home and at schools #Arabnetme
  • 12:26 PM: RobaAssi Enforce and enable local providers to provide content #Arabnetme
  • 12:27 PM: RobaAssi Are users in Arabic region typing in Arabic or in English? Fact: Most Arabic users type in Arabic #Arabnetme
  • 12:28 PM: RobaAssi You can’t impose content on people. Think more of the average user—what do they need? What are the top queries? #ArabNetme
  • 12:30 PM: RobaAssi Problem of culture rather than infrastructure with Arabic content #Arabnetme
  • 12:31 PM: RobaAssi Google basically organizes world’s information to make it available to everyone (love google) #Arabnetme
  • 12:31 PM: RobaAssi No, we like Wael Ghoneim :D #Arabnetme
  • 12:33 PM: RobaAssi Creating content for separate Arab countries, as different regional cultures are different #Arabnetme
  • 12:39 PM: RobaAssi Go creative commons! #ArabNetME
  • 12:43 PM: RobaAssi Nadine Toukan Rt @nadinetoukan

    wait for it… here comes the conspiracy theory Q/comment #ArabNetME

  • 12:45 PM: RobaAssi Content creators are also responsible for helping crawlers index their site. SEO, baby. SEO. #Arabnetme
  • 12:46 PM: RobaAssi What about 3arabizi? A lot of content is that. How is that going to be indexed?
  • 12:48 PM: RobaAssi What about 3arabizi? A lot of content is that. How is that going to be indexed? #Arabnetme
  • 12:49 PM: RobaAssi RT @Meho_M: good question form the audience about internet slang, how do we translate it into Arabic? #Arabnetme
  • 12:52 PM: RobaAssi Really enjoyed the last panel. Great way to end #ArabNetME
  • 12:53 PM: RobaAssi RT @nadinetoukan

    it’s an inherent human desire & need to create new languages. 3arabizi is one of them #ArabNetME

  • 12:54 PM: RobaAssi You have to go Amman. Every one out of two people is a movie maker. #ARabNetMe
  • 12:55 PM: RobaAssi What about semantically annotated content? RT @Amerkawar
  • 12:55 PM: RobaAssi Using Twitter to make people look bad #ArabNetME
  • 12:56 PM: RobaAssi 100% of ideathon and startup demo were approached by investors #arabnetme
  • 12:57 PM: RobaAssi 600+ attendees at #Arabnetme and 200+ watchers simultaneously
  • 12:57 PM: RobaAssi 10,000 tweets at #Arabnetme do i get paid? :P
  • 12:58 PM: RobaAssi I really like Omar Christadios. Intersting guy #Arabnetme
  • 12:59 PM: RobaAssi English is the defacto language of business #Arabnetme
  • 1:03 PM: Roba Assi I thought the content discussion was supposed to come next.

The Start-Up Demo at ArabNet

Foo Me from Lebanon: Revenue streams are targeted ads, service subscriptions, and content submission (classified ads a la Facebook)

Iltaqi: Tabbing the social stream, capturing status updates to help organize events. My biggest problem is the name. What’s with old-school name for Arabic websites? Why hasn’t the worldwide trend of funky names caught up? Iltaqi? YallaNetla3 sounds better to me :P

TasmeenMe: The woman, Noura Al-Fadel, is one of the first females to speak. I’ve already reviewed TasmeemMe earlier. The idea is great, creatives definitely need such an idea, but the website needs tons of functionality work and a larger client base. I like the potential though. I liked the chic though, she’s confident in a very understated way, and I love her glasses.

Jawaker: Online cards game with a social component. Brilliant localization. An online community that revolves around recipes, nutrition, and health. It is built on .Net. Booo.

Rifflex: From what I understand, it’s kinda like Friendfeed. First time I hear Web 3.0 today. People liked him. Weird disco lights shining in the background. Real estate site.

Qaym: Charismatic guy. Second Gulf-person in both start-up demos and ideathon. Okay, at least I think he’s Khaleeji from the outfit. Not enough Gulf-people at ArabNet… I love the two guys wearing dressy tobes like you see on TV in the front row. Totally trippy.
It’s basically social reviews. Not a ground breaking idea, but we don’t have a good one for the Arab world, so there’s potential. is out, that’s cool. I like. Soccer social network for the Arab world. Brilliant idea. I think the market will love it. The name is funky but man spelling it is a disaster. I can think of 12 different variations.

Snap2Shop: Fellow Tweep @iHijazi presenting his photo printing website. Great idea, I have no idea why I haven’t used it yet! :)

More Pictures From ArabNet

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ArabNetME Panel 1: The Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship

After an ironically bad start that had old-media traditional individuals “blah blah” about how the “Internet will change the world” (unavoidable in the Arab world, I suppose), the actual conference kicked off with the first panel, revolving around “The Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship.”

The panelists are:
1. Rashid Al-Ballala, CEO of National Net Ventures
2. Rabea Ataya, CEO of
3. Maher Kaddoura, representative of Start Alliance
4. Samih Toukan, founder of and CEO of Jabbar Group

I’m missing in the list Habib Haddad of Yamli, who was supposed to be on this panel, but I didn’t spot him today.

Three out of our four panelists are business people. Obviously, Samih Toukan is too, but his background is engineering, which makes him a little more “techie” than the rest. This is interesting as a lot of the international web-startups started out in garages by students and geeks, rather than business people.



The panel started with this question:
“If I’m an investor, what should I set up?”
Here are snippets of the answers, which took off a turn around the best way to deal with starting a company.

Samih Touqan: “Right time to start a venture because of the increasing interest of international and regional entities.”
Rabea Ataya: “Set up offices and deal with your communities, you will sustain a more long-term advantage than something purely virtual. A purely virtual business can be attacked from anywhere in the world.”
Maher Kaddoura: “Arabic content is the deal. The vast majority of Arabs do not speak English. Maktoob, the vast majority of their customers are from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, we need to create content for the masses, not the sophisticated English-speaking Arab nationals.”

“What about partnerships?”
Rabea Ataya: “Marriage is easier to get out of than parternships.”
Maher Kaddoura: “Is there a magic number? Fundementally about what resources and skills you need to make the project operate.”

“Mentoring rather than geeking it out” :)
Maher Kaddoura: “Young People focus on product itself, perfecting it, and spending really way too much time on the product. You need a mentor, and to not reinvent the wheel, packaged knowledge around that you can access. Try to assemble as much as you can, don’t get your ego in the middle.”

“Investors and Being Business-Minded”
Samih Touqan: “Local investors are still in investing in real-estate, and we have to get investors to invest at least 1% of their billions of dollars on technology to create more content, more jobs, and more innovation.”
Rabea Ataya: “Respect for trade rather than institionalizing. A hundred people who can build long-term instuitions. If you are actually trying to be good and building something useful. I’d like to see a lot more instituitions being built.”
Rabea Ataya: “Something that our ancestors had was the entrepreneurial, they used be farmers, have small businesses, and we are missing that.”

Live Blogging ArabNet

Here’s where you follow up live on what’s happening at ArabNet :)

The conference before launch




ArabNet early in the morning :)

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