Arabic search engine to debut under new name

A much-delayed $10 million project to develop an Arabic search engine is set for a year-end launch with new backers.

A partnership between Seekport Internet Technologies, Saudi Arabian firm Mitsco Group and Dubai-based Madar Research was supposed to have launched a search engine named Sawafi last October.

The project sought to provide a local alternative to Google and serve the growing number of web users in the Middle East and North Africa whose first language was Arabic.

But Hermann Havermann, CEO of Seekport's Middle East operations, said the project ran into difficulties when finance partner Mitsco Group unexpectedly pulled out late last year.

A person familiar with the deal said Saudi investors formed Mitsco for the sole purpose of financing the search engine, and the company has since been disbanded.

After Seekport's funding crisis, the company has since lined up new investors, decided to rebrand under a different name and reformulated its business plan, according to Havermann.

Online advertising, the primary source of revenue for search engines, amounted to $15 million in the Arab world in 2005 compared with $15 billion in the US, according to Madar Research.

The projections see advertising climbing dramatically in the coming years and by 2010 ad revenue could top $150 million.

"Online advertising in the Arab world is small, but we feel it is growing quickly," Havermann told Gulf News. Currently there are an estimated 100 million to 150 million Arabic web sites.

The Swiss-based Seekport is still retaining Madar Research as consultant, and is now working with three backers "from outside the Gulf" contributing more than $10 million to the project.

The Sawafi name has since been dropped because the Arabic word is too specific to Saudi Arabia and not understood in the wider region. A new name will be announced soon.

The search engine will allow searches in several languages to reflect the various sources where information on or by Middle Eastern countries originates. In addition to Arabic, the site will also accommodate English, Farsi, French, Italian and German.

Havermann said online advertising is expected to serve as the primary source of income at later stages. In the beginning, the project hopes to depend on value-added paid services. A consulting division will also help companies to develop a web presence in the Arab world. ( Gulf )

Iran hopes to see Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce headquarters open in Kabul
Iran hopes to see Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce headquarters open in Kabul
Israel-Lebanon maritime border talks postponed, officials say
Israel-Lebanon maritime border talks postponed, officials say
OPEC+ to discuss extending oil cuts or gradually raising output
OPEC+ to discuss extending oil cuts or gradually raising output
Loading Bars
Latest
UK says coronavirus "back under control" after national lockdown
5.0-magnitude quake hits 64 km NW of Sinabang, Indonesia
Units of Azerbaijani Army enter Lachin region (VIDEO)
Today Lachin region returns to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan discloses volume of exported silk
Georgia strengthens its position in olive production
Kazakhstan Railways opens tender for vehicles maintenance
Turkey, Russia discuss details of Monitoring Center on Karabakh - Turkish Defense Minister
OPEC+ agreement leaders suggest different mechanisms of oil production cuts in 2021
Oil prices down 1% as OPEC+ debates 2021 output policy
Another Turkish vaccine ready for human trials
Georgian Finance Minister tests positive for COVID-19
Iran's stock exchange needs structural reforms - Iranian MP
Kyrgyzstan provides online courses for entrepreneurs in field of tourism
Number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Serbia up by over 6,224 in past day
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry thanks Turkey's Defense Ministry
Bitcoin hits record high after steep fall last week
Logistic support assets of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh arrive in Azerbaijan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmenistan significantly increases cement imports from Turkey
Turkish sappers begin mine clearing in liberated territories of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan extends learning from home amid ongoing anti-coronavirus measures
Azerbaijani FM, Moldovan minister exchange views on latest situation in region
Two more Italian municipalities express support to Azerbaijan
Iran's first VP invites Shanghai Cooperation Organization to invest in Chabahar Port
Expert talks short-term price decrease on Azerbaijan's car market
Kazakhstan sees increase in lending to legal entities over 10M2020
Employment in Iran's Razavi Khorasan Province soars
Azerbaijan raises export to Croatia
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale December 1
Preventive diplomacy is integral part of Turkmenistan's neutrality - president of Turkmenistan
Azerbaijan to minimize plastic consumption
Kazakhstan to set up int'l center to develop oil&gas engineering in co-op with ENI, Shell
Georgian Walnuts company aims for eco-friendly production
President of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan sends letter to president of Azerbaijan
Uzbekistan exporting plums mainly to Russia and Kazakhstan
Azerbaijan's Baku Metro to engage testing services through tender
Armenian PM's attempts to meet with Russian president fail
Iran can increase exports through processing industries – economist
Iran hopes to see Iran-Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce headquarters open in Kabul
GM, Nikola announce reworked, smaller deal focused on supplying fuel-cell systems
Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency discloses volume of startup projects
Turkmenistan's Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of chemical products
Uzbek textile products mostly imported by Russia
Uzbek currency rates for November 30
Trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Spain greatly improves
Azerbaijan increases value of year-on-year export to Kazakhstan
SecGen of Iraqi Council of Representatives sends letter to President Aliyev
Azerbaijan reports 2,981 new COVID-19 cases, 1,226 recoveries
Azerbaijani 'Barda' ferry ship repaired and put into operation
Argentine companies to cooperate with Azerbaijan’s Azexport website and Digital Shopping Hub
Uzbek Ministry of Finance forecasts increase of public debt
Swiss Investment Company to issue bonds in Uzbek national currency
Georgia purchases 10 new high flow oxygen generators from Turkey
Iran hopes for economic revival of Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh - Vice President Jahangiri
JCPOA to holding meeting in Vienna
Excise tax on import of commodity items to be abolished in Uzbekistan
Income from pine-cone exports up in Georgia
Azerbaijan reveals data on loans issued to farmers over 11M2020
YARAT Contemporary Art Space to present exhibition project "Make Island For Yourself" in Museum of Azerbaijani Painting
Amazon, Apple stay away from new French initiative to set principles for Big Tech
Georgia reveals volume of exported apples
Azerbaijan's ANAMA discloses total number of civilian casualties from mines
Development Bank of Kazakhstan eyeing support of mining, metallurgical projects
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of tires in Turkmenistan
Georgia reveals top five insurance companies due to paid claims
Cemeteries destroyed, mosques used as cowsheds in Karabakh - renowned French photographer (PHOTOS)
Baku Transport Agency, ARIS LLC sign tender contract
Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office urges not to visit lands liberated from occupation (VIDEO)
STAR refinery's crude oil imports rise y-o-y
Azerbaijan Mortgage & Credit Guarantee Fund says will complete 2020 with profit
Russia's Rostelecom working on inter-operator cooperation with Turkmenistan
Capitalization remains strength of Georgian Basisbank
Hungarian TUNGSRAM GROUP to launch production of LED street lighting in Kazakhstan
Azerbaijani agency unveils number of munitions found since Sept.27
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin starts to rise
Azerbaijan to commission road connecting Tartar and Sugovushan in coming days - ANAMA (PHOTO)
Uzbek agro-industrial agency announces tender for well construction
Carlsberg Azerbaijan and AzərŞəkər signed a memorandum of cooperation (PHOTO)
S&P Global to buy IHS Markit in deal valued at $44 billion
Azerbaijan reveals number of civilians dead, following recent Armenian aggression
Uzbekistan slightly reduces import of Turkish-made chemicals
Demining of territory for future road to liberated Shusha kicked off - ANAMA
Creation of concept for audit development in Azerbaijan for 2021-2030 nearing completion
Iran's POMC launches its first compressor
Turkey continues to raise trade turnover with Azerbaijan
Ceyhan terminal’s oil transshipment from ACG nears 194 million barrels
Baku Metro switches to modern train control systems
Visits of citizens to liberated Azerbaijani territories still dangerous - ANAMA
Malaysia ready to assist in promotion of pilgrim tourism in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s 10M2020 data on plastic cards revealed
Turkmenistan's natural gas reserves increased – Eni’s review
Time deposits value surges in Kazakhstan year-on-year
Iran's total rail transit up
Turkmenistan's oil reserves remain stable for several years – Eni’s review
Iran doubles budget for defense research projects
Georgia sees increase in hazelnuts export
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 30
CNG can easily be used instead of gasoline in Iran
Chabahar - first Iranian port to attract foreign operators - PMO
Georgia decreases mobilizing funds in tax revenue
All news