Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Yamli gets reviewed at TechCrunch 1

Finaly, a review of an Arab-related startup Yamli (previously reviewed here) at TechCrunch today, read the full article Yamli Makes It Easy To Use Arabic On The Web.

The article also mentions Maktoob!

Congratulates to the Yamli team!

Arab-based startups at Tech-world popular blogs 4

I was wondering why I keep reading posts about startups from everywhere in the world at the most popular tech/web blogs, but none come to mention Arab ones. So I did a search on the following keywords in TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Mashable:

Arab, Arab startups, Middle East, arabia, Maktoob, d1g, yamli, ikbis, watwet, and of course my own startup questler.

and here are the results:

TechCrunch ReadWriteWeb Mashable
Arab 10 Results, 8 with “arab” in “comparable”, 1 with “arab” in “sharable” and one about censorship!!! 57 Results:
1 about Queen Rania YouTube Channel
1 About innvovation in UAE
1 About EgyptianYouTube Channel
7 with “comparable” so I only browsed the titles of rest!
3 Results, one with Ikbis mentioned!
One mentiones flickr being bloced in UAE and the third one has no mention of the word arab anyway.
Arab Startups 0 0 0
Middle East 6 Results, talking about different web companies targeting the middle east, one about Middle East Oil and one about the Internet cables! 2 posts about World wide Internet Penetration rates Just too many to go through! Sorry!
Arabia 5 Results, all mentioning Saudi Arabia 0 1 Result mentioning Saudi Arabia
Maktoob 0 0 0
d1g 0 0 0
ikbis 0 0 0
watwet 0 0 0
yamli 0 0 0
questler 0 0 0

In comparison, there was a long post on ReadWriteWeb the other day about German twitter clones as a phenomenon. Korean startups, Canadian ones, China of course, Philippines, Spain, Portuguese.

So I tell you, cloning or lack of real innovation is definitely NOT the problem here, So is it because of:

  • That the words “Arab” and “Middle East” are synonymous with Internet censorship?
  • No interest?
  • Not many startups to make the news?
  • Bad marketing?
  • Worse of all, low self worth, that many Arabs suffer, thinking that they won’t make it big anyway so they don’t contact these people?

Yamli.com, anglo arabic? 7

I’ve been playing for the past 30 min with this new web app called Yamli. Which enables users to type arabic using roman characters, like we usually do within emails, our official language being arabeezi. So instead of sending an email containing arabic words in roman characters like this one:

Hi Diala? Keefek? shoo el akhbar?

you will type it the same way you typed the above but will get the following text instead:

هاي ديالا؟ كيفك؟ شو الأخبار؟

This could enable more people to communicate with each other in Arabic, since most of us are really slow typing in arabic characters.

Also the service enables you to search Google in arabic as well by again typing how the word sounds in roman characters.


I am impressed!

If they allow us in the future to use their editor in third party web apps that would mean wonders to the arab web.

I can hear some loud voices out there saying that we should learn how to type faster in arabic, but since that isn’t happening that fast for some of us i think this web app might be just the solution. They have a Facebook app as well!

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