“It’s Facebook. No it’s Google. It’s Yahoo I tell you”. That’s how most discussions about the top website in the world is. And it really differs according to source, some say comScore is the only correct source. Others agree on Alexa.
So having no clear source on where Middle Eastern traffic pours throughout the year, we factored in as much data as we could. Contacted website owners, companies and people to bring you the Top 10 Websites in the Middle East for 2010.
Coming up with a definition for a ‘Website in the Middle East’ was in itself a challenge. So we are defining it as: Any website that was founded by people from the Middle East, developing content for the Middle East (even if not exclusively so).
Our findings were interesting as we noticed that the majority of them are either news websites or websites where the content is at the center.
With 5 out of 10 of the websites mentioned primarily relying on traffic generated from forums, it appears forums continue to generate the most traffic in the region compared to other platforms.
Here are region’s most visited websites:
- Yahoo! Maktoob – previously Maktoob.com Founded in 1998 by Samih Toukan and Hussam Khoury in Jordan was the first Arabic email service in the world. Now part of Yahoo! Inc. (Yahoo acquired Maktoob on the 25th Aug 2009).
Maktoob is a news and email portal in addition to it being the region’s largest network of forums, as the majority of it’s content is in the Arabic language.
- Kooora.com Founded in 2002, By Khaled Al Dosri in Bahrain. Kooora (slang Arabic for ball) is the largest network of Arabic forums that discuss/provide football news in the world. Kooora also provides an English version under Goalzz.com.
- Fatakat.com started as a family project in Cairo back in 1997. Fatakat is an Arabic network targeting Arab women that hosts sections on Cooking, Marriage, Gaming, Video, Photos while almost 80% of its traffic is generated by its forums alone.
- Traidnt.net Founded in 2004 by Khalid Al Qahtni in Saudi Arabia. Traidnt is a network of Arabic forums that is specialized in technical information and tutorials related to web development, design, and forum hosting.
Traidnt is also a web development and hosting shop based in Saudi many regional forums currently use.
- Myegy.com Founded in 2005 by an anonymous web developer who goes simply by Khaled M. in Cairo Egypt.
Myegy is the region’s largest website for downloading infringed copyrighted media in both English and Arabic.
- Aljazeera.net is the home of the region’s leading news network Al Jazeera founded 1996 in Qatar. Providing news in both English and Arabic languages, Al Jazeera is one of the only leading portals that generate the bulk of their own content.
- Masrawy.com Founded in 1999 by Nancy Bassiouny and Gamal Selim now owned by LINKonLINE (a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Holding). It hosts a variety of news content and videos channel. Plus it includes services as Classifieds, Food Delivery, Mail, Hosting, and Games.
- Youm7.com Founded during 2007, by Egyptian Company for Journalism and Advertising, it is an electronic journal; The Editor-in-Chief is Khaled Saleh.
- Yallakora.com Founded in 2002, By LINKonLINE (a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom Holding). YallaKora is portal providing everything and anything related to Football in Arabic and English with a focus on regional football coverage and multimedia.
- Jeeran.com Founded in 2000 by Omar Koudsi and Laith Zraikat, Jordan. The website is one of the region’s leading Arabic Blogging, Musical and Social Networking platforms.
Web sites such as Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!, and MSN were not mentioned, although they get the biggest chunk of regional traffic every year surpassing that of all the above.
We’d also like to point out that this list in no way provides insight into the most lucrative of the region’s online businesses. Companies such as Souq.com boast USD $40 million worth of transactions during 2010 alone, more than 60% increase on estimates for 2009.
This year’s list makes it easy to predict the scene during 2011 with no major changes anticipated. No surprise websites emerged during 2010 either, with the youngest website of the region’s élite being 3 years old.
This article was co-authored by Ahmad Al-Shagra.