The Alternatives

If you think SaudiFlager is not such a bad idea, brace yourself for this: NaqaTube, a website from Saudi Arabia that aims to offer a clean alternative to YouTube, preventing the youth from watching profane or sexually explicit video clips online.

Abu Ibraheem, one of the moderators of the website who did not wish to reveal his real name, told Arab News that clips on NaqaTube are religiously safe and often edited prior to being uploaded. The site also censors clips that are against the government, individuals and scholars, or which mock people in general. Abu Ibraheem added that women’s images are totally forbidden, along with music.

Okay, stop laughing. Let’s get serious. Let’s forget that YouTube’s TOS clearly prohibit pornography or sexually explicit content, videos showing bad stuff like animal abuse, drug abuse, under-age drinking and smoking, or bomb making, and graphic or gratuitous violence. Let’s forget the question of whether women’s images and music are halal or haram.

This is not the first attempt by religious people to make clean alternatives of popular internet offerings. Before NaqaTube there was GodTube, JewTube, and IslamicTube. Heck, a Saudi company have been promoting a whole clean internet under the name Gnet for years.

Although I never thought that building Arabic/Islamic alternatives to popular internet services is exactly a good idea, I find myself today not minding it very much. More choices to the people is not a bad thing, I guess. But I still wonder about the prospects of these projects, especially after the recent acquisition of Maktoob by Yahoo!. Is this a sustainable business model? Can these alternatives survive the competition by focusing on such specific niches?

Saudi Single Serving Sites

Single Serving Sites are web sites comprised of a single page with a dedicated domain name and do only one thing. This kind of websites has been online for a long time, but the trend was first documented last year by Jason Kottke, and later in a paper by Ryan Greenberg. Now these web sites cover many different topics and you can check the first two links to learn more and find examples, but some of my favorites are:,,, and Are you tired?.

Here in the Gulf, my Kuwaiti friend Bader has created two such web sites: Desert Fubuki, and most recently Last week I came across one interesting example from Saudi Arabia: Is it crowded or not? which basically watches the status of traffic at King Fahad Causeway and how congested it is on both directions. (The website has been taken down and now a message reads that it is still under construction and will be launched soon).

Inspired by the above, I started to think what other examples for Saudi Single Serving Sites could be interesting, useful and/or funny:,,,,,,,,,,, and finally, to answer a question that I’m frequently asked: You can think of better examples? Please do share them in the comments. I might actually go and buy some of these domains :-)