- After buying Maktoob last year, Yahoo! is getting ready to enter the Saudi market by establishing a sales and editorial presence in the kingdom’s growing media market. Ahmed Nassef, MD Yahoo! ME, said “Saudi Arabia’s just complicated. It’s the most complicated country in the region as far as trade licenses go. It just takes time.” I wonder what SAGIA has to say about this.
- Check out the ever-changing map of the Middle East. As Hanan notes, before Islam nobody cared about the Arabian Peninsula, and even in later Islamic empires the attention was limited to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina:
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?