Earlier this year, I asked who will make the Arabic Technorati. The Arabic Technorati is not here, yet, but several notable web apps have appeared in the Arab World. There was Wapher, Printaholics, Sortak, and most recently Ikbis, which I linked to last week.
Ikbis is basically a service for sharing photos and videos, a combination of Flickr and YouTube if you like. Now some would say: why would I use a clone when I can go for the original thing? But I think this is not the right question. I would rather ask: why not take the best of both and turn it into something better? This is not the only reason to try Ikbis. Flickr and YouTube, as good as they are, are not perfect and I believe there is always a space for competition and improvement. Moreover, for a start, Ikbis offer one major advantage over the big guys: a beautiful, user-friendly Arabic interface.
All the above probably sounds like over-hyping, but I really think this might actually work, and there are several factors contributing to that. Ikbis is brought to you by the Toot Team, the same guys who produced iToot.net, the best Arab blogging portal out there. They offer a bilingual interface, which is essential to make it big in the Arab World, especially with the widespread use of mobile cameraphones. One more thing: Ikbis could grow around the already established and very flourishing Arab blogging community.
Although I think creativity and innovation were the main motives for the team to launch Ikbis, I’m really hoping they can make money out of it. We have seen some major Arab players in the field such as Arabia.com and Sakhr die in the dot-com bubble, and we don’t want to see that happening again. Let’s pray the lessons were learned and the old mistakes are not to be made again (fingers-crossed).