Category Archives: arab world

Conference tackles convergence in telecommunications and media

Here is another one of my articles i contributed to the Star newspaper, the news about the Fifth confercen will be posted at

Jordan’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Omar Kurdi confirmed Tuesday Jordan’s commitment to a comprehensive review of policy sectors of Communications, Information Technology and the postal sector.

Talking during his inauguration of the country’s third Media and telecommunications convergence conference 2006, Kurdi added that Jordan is expected to announce the new policy of the sector during the fourth quarter of the current year.

The conference, which witnessed the participation of over 300 regional and local key players representing the media and telecom sectors in the MENA area, was web cast to around 50 paying subscribers over the Internet for the first time through Join Vision, and was organized by the Arab Advisor Group.

Kurdi said the convergence of communications and media has been widely developed, especially following the upsurge of digital communications technologies, and the expansion in the evolution of modern technology.”

“We believe Media & Telecommunications Convergence offers a great opportunity that Jordan and rest of the region can not ignore, and should make great stride to leverage, for the benefit of their respective economies and people,” he added.

The two-day conference had various interactive sessions in addition to presentations delivered by local and regional key players from telecom and media. The conference speakers were all top executive and decision makers from major operators in the region.
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Chris Forster from the London based ‘Inside Satellite’, which offers new media newsletter, told The Star “I wanted my presentation to open people minds, because we are all trapped by our experience, and I wanted to provoke the delegates to think outside the box, look at what is happening in media and telecom.”

“In telecom there must be more to life than just ring tone and I believe content is what will make the difference,” he added. “I wanted people to understand what may be around the corner of an iPod type device capable of storing 50,000 or 100,000 tunes, or a video device which carried the top 5,000 Hollywood films… I want people to see that today’s business model is going to change. ”

Forster also said that the convergence between the media and telecom is happening today and that telecom needs the content the TV supplies.

In his speech Forster discussed “Mobile TV: current state and prospects”, and he tackled the recent emergence of content materials produced at home by young people and broadcast over the internet to other young people.

Talking about the conversion in Middle East he said, “today it is embryonic and many lesson have yet to be learned.”

Tarek Ayntrazi, Lebanese Future TV’s General Manager, told The Star “it is very interesting conference, I was supposed to leave at the first day but I postpone it for the next day because the conference is interesting.”

Talking about the benefits of the conference he told The Star “we as media –people- will better understand the telecom operator’s vision in conversion and get to know some of the leaders and future leader of the industry.”

Asked about his opinion regarding conversion, he said “video and audio content provided to mobile subscribers via the hand set is a new delivery system, in which we are exploring this opportunity.”

Prof. Ibrahim A. Kadi, Senior Advisor for Communications and Information Commission (CITC) of Saudi Arabia, the telecom regulatory body, told the Star” I am very pleased with the level of members and the quality of interaction they all are professionals, there were a lot of interesting presentations, and lots of interesting discussions.”

He added” we attended the conference basically to draw attention to new business opportunities in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the largest telecom market for fixed, mobile and the internet.”

In his speech he talked about the liberalization of telecom in Saudi Arabia, where he mentioned that CICT has opened the fixed market for competition for the first time this year, in addition to offer additional mobile license.

Onno Bos form TeliaSonera a telecom operator in Netherlands, who was one of the delegates, told the Star “the conference is good because most of the regional players are present, it gives you an insight of where the market is, and how the parties act on the deregulated market.”

Talking about business opportunities in Jordan and the region he told The Star” we are interested in doing business in Middle East and Jordan, like offering our international services to the regional players like international voice termination, IP (internet protocol) transit –VOIP (voice over IP) and Internet access to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) capacity and specific mobile service like GRX (GPRS rooming exchange), and data rooming MMS (Multimedia messaging service)

Social networking Ad effectiveness.

Last year was the year of social networks, namely Facebook has been its star. With an average yearly growth rate of 550% .

World wide faeebook is closing on myspace #1 lead in social networking arena to equal it to around 100 million unique visits a month. It is in Alexa’s top ten, and it is number one world wide photo sharing website more than flickr.

In the arab world facebook become number on social network beating Hi5. Facebook now is on top 5 most visited websites in the arab world which include: Google, yahoo, msn, and maktoob.

On the business professional SN front, linkedIn and Xing has grown a lot, Linkedin remain a leader with around 17 millions profile, with a growth rate at an average of 182 percent yearly.

Facebook and Bebo charges only 13 cents per thousand times that an ad is ‘served,’ or CPM. Yahoo’s average CPM is estimated at $13. Video ads on Myspace is $25 per thousand showings while CBS charges $50 and NBC charges as much as $75 for the same number of views.

Why is consumers Social networking Ad rate is lower, I think because Advertising in consumer social networks is less effective to other web sites.

According to an online marketer in the Arab world who ran ads in faebook, facebook click through rate (CTR) is the lowest in the industry, the obvious reason is that users are busy interacting with their friends than looking into ads, the other reason is that ad location is not visible to the user, they are even on the left side under the app menu or at the bottom of the page.

Another evidence is Google executives complains about how hard it is to monetize social networking traffic.

Fox Interactive gets 27 percent of its revenue from an ad deal between Google and MySpace forged in August 2006. A deal in which Rupert Murdoch gets $900 million, the guaranteed revenue Google promised MySpace through 2010. So now google is loosing money with myspace ad deal.

Contextual text ads to users’ Personal profiles are not as effective as contextual text ads on search or a news website.

On the other hand LinkedIn has a CPM rate of $75. why? LinkedIn caters to a professional business audience and so the advertisers have a narrower business audience.

LinkedIn also has contextual text ads from google’s ad sense, which I found interesting where I some times I click on these links. Because they are related to things in my profile and business interest, some thing I would like to increase my knowledge about.sometimes locate a competitor.

How many times did an ad got your attention and how many times did you click an ad across social networks.

Please leave your comments and tell us about

your ad experience across social networks………………….

UP DATE: there are new reports that backup my assertions, and i will post them soon.

Google to expand its Arabic services


Google recently has 2 software eng. position open now. In their posting they said they want them to be fluent in Arabic to build new application in Arabic tailored to the Arab world. This move by google signal a huge commitment by google to the Arab world, and soon we will see more services from Google in Arabic and tailored to the Arab world. Google’s current Arabized offerings are: search, blogger, news, and gmail. if you know any more Arabized services by Google please mention them on a comment.
The 2 google’s job posts are:

Google Engineering Site Director (Arabic Fluent) – Middle East Region

Google is looking for a highly technical, hands-on Engineering Site Director to drive software initiatives for the Middle East/Arab World in a location(s) to be determined.
As the most senior engineer for Google in the region, the Engineering Site Director will be the face for Google’s Arabic engineering effort in the Arab World.

The Engineering Site Director will be responsible for the overall planning, execution and success of regionally focused projects (for the Middle East) that will have the potential for global impact. In
addition to leading an initially small engineering team, the Engineering Site Director will work closely with Google’s senior management team as well as local officials and Universities and
professional organizations.

• Exceptional technical competence and accomplishment with a strong coding track record.
• Software background and deep success developing web-based applications ideally launched in the Arab market.
• Entrepreneurial drive plus demonstrated ability to achieve goals in an innovative environment.
• Relevant experience as hands-on manager of a large fast-paced dynamic engineering team.
• Solid leadership skills and success in building a strong engineering team.
• Strong project-management skills and proven history in product delivery.
• Can fit in well within an informal startup environment and quickly establish credibility with engineers.

• MS in Computer Science/Computer Engineering or PhD (a plus).
• An exceptionally strong record of academic achievement.

Arabic language fluency and familiarity with the Middle Eastern technology market.

Please note that engineering management at Google is technical, i.e., candidates are expected to have a strong track record of technical accomplishments in addition to management accomplishments. Consequently a candidate must posses a strong and broad background in most aspects of Computer Science.
Candidates will be asked technical questions during your interviews.

Google / (Arabic Fluent) Experienced Software Engineers – Middle East

The Software Engineering positions require at least 7+ years work experience, experience developing web-based applications, expertise in data structures, algorithms, and complexity analysis, fluency in one or more of C, C++, Java, fluency in one of more of Shell, PHP, Perl or Python, solid working knowledge of Unix, preferably Linux, SQL and MySQL are a plus. Applicants must have BA/BS in Computer Science, MS or PhD.

We are looking for engineers with exceptional programming skills, excellent algorithmic and analytical skills, and a strong aptitude for building high-performance, scalable computer systems. Our recent work encompasses a broad spectrum of computer science research areas, including:Large scale distributed systems design, Information retrieval, Natural language processing, Machine learning and data mining, Algorithms and data structures research and User interface research.