Saturday, February 27, 2010

UAE Rains 27th Feb 2010

Come on let it rain, let it rain down on me Let the rain touch my hands - Melissa Etheridge.
Check out the videos of the heavy rains filled with thunder storms.Click here to view the pics.



Friday, February 26, 2010

Death of Social Media in Middle East - Part 1

Social Networking in the Middle East is a completely different living thing, that has some how slithered into our life. The approach to social media from a commercial point of view needs to be fundamentally different from the global trends, which may not work here.

Past few years marketers have been trying to convince the Senior Management of their respective companies to allocate more budgets for Online Marketing, in which they have partially succeeded. The sudden buzz about Social Media has definitely helped the cause but most of the companies in Middle East still feel that sheer presence of their brand on Twitter and Facebook completes the cycle.

Social media" implies a broad range of topics and has several different connotations. Social media may refer to a combination of various elements on the Internet, for example, blogs, forums, vlogs, video sharing sites, dating sites, picture sharing sites etc. Some of the many forms that Social Media can take include instant messengers, blogging, music sharing, wikis, podcasts etc.

Marketers may have actively engaged in one of the above Social Media form at least once. The lack of engagement with the customer in these online forms can lead to severe issues, which is currently a major hurdle for the brands in Middle East. Majority of them manage to create a Facebook group or a Twitter profile, but they don’t have a clue on what to do with them.

Do you listen to your customers online? How many companies have a team monitoring their brand on the internet? Once you are online you need to be there forever; this is a continuous engagement process.

If a customer writes a letter to a newspaper editor, most of the companies in Middle East have a corporate communication department to address the customer complains. If the same customer posts an issue on an internet forum the issue is never seen escalated to the company, but the brand damage stakes are much more higher due to the viral nature of internet. If you need to research on the market trends, monitor the local forums. Customers are giving their feed back on these forums at no cost and there is a huge opportunity to get insights. Most of the companies are busy extracting email of users and then bombarding their accounts with their latest offers. I hate some of the Twitter accounts who fill my twitstream with their latest product offers. Remember once you are online you may fetch compliments but be open to criticism.

I would like to commend @DubaiMallNews on handling the Aquarium Leakage issue yesterday. They were honest enough to post a note on the twitter about the leakage and then inform the customers that the situation has been contained. This was just an example of how can you communicate with your customers on social media.

Continuous threat to shut down some of the popular Social Networking sites in the region can lead to sudden death of this medium. This is a highly discussed issue in Middle East which can have serious business impact and will be covered in Part 2 of this series.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Facebook team’s up with Connect Ads

Trevor Johnson, head of strategy and planning for Facebook EMEA, announced Facebook's recent alliance with Connect Ads, who have been named the site's official representation partner in the region, at a press conference on Wednesday

Facebook hopes that the deal with Connect Ads will give exposure to advertisers in a socially conservative Middle East region where online marketing is in its early stages and social media sites under threat at times from the service providers.

I had an offsite meeting in Marsa Alam, Egypt in 2008 where I met the Connect Ads team. It was a pleasure meeting Mohamed El Sayad GM – MSN Arabia and Amr Al-Masri who is an account executive at Connect Ads. Connect Ads makes an excellent team to work with. They were busy launching MSN Maghreb then and today they have managed to seize control of Facebook in the Middle East.

The Cairo-based advertising booker already handles sales for Microsoft Corp.’s MSN regional portals and other local sites namely MSN Arabia, MSN Maghreb,,,,,,,, Barca Arabia, and

There are about ten million active Facebook users in the Middle East and North Africa region, making up about 2.5% of the social networking site's total base of 400 million active users worldwide. United Arab Emirates has an average of 1.2 million Facebook users with more growth expected from the Middle East as a whole over the coming years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bollywood goes Tweeting

The Twitter party is on in Bollywood. Many stars are catching up with the social media website to reach out to their fans. @PriyankaChopra takes the lead with 182,548 followers, followed by @iamsrk with 155,919 fans. SRK is still tweeting about the much hyped MNIK while other stars are busy tweeting about their daily chores. I have managed to compile a list of Bollywood Celebrities available on Twitter to my knowledge. Fancy any one of these - click and follow them :)


Twitter Id


Twitter Id

Abhishek Bachchan


Mughdha Godse


Abhay Deol


Neha Dhupia


Ajay Devgan


Neil Mukesh


Akshay Kumar


Pooja Bhatt


Amrita Rao


Preity Zinta


Amitabh Bachchan


Priyanka Chopra


Anupam Kher


R Madhvan


Anurag Kashyap


Rahul Khanna




Ram Gopal Verma


Arjun Rampal


Ranvir Shorey


Ayesha Takia


Ritesh Deshmukh


Deepika Padukone


Sajid Khan


Deepika Padukone


Sameera Reddy


Dino Morea


Shahid Kapoor


Diya Mirza


Shahrukh Khan


Emran Hashmi


Shatrughan Sinha


Fardeen Khan


Shekhar Kapur


Farhan Akhtar


Shraddha Kapoor (Daughter of Shakti Kapoor)


Genelia Desouza


Shreya Ghoshal


Hrithik Roshan


Shruti Haassan


Imran Khan




Karan Johar


Sonam Kapoor


Konkan Sen


Sonakshi Sinha (Daughter of Shatrughan Sinha)


Kunal Kohli


Soniya Mehra (Daughter of Vinod Mehra)


Lara Dutta


Sophie Choudry


Madhur Bhandarkar


Sunidhi Chauhan


Mahesh Bhatt


Vishal Dadlani


Mallika Sherawat


Vivek Oberoi


Minissha Lamba



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