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Yahki.com, a curation platform to tell your story

By Wael Nabbout | October 13, 2011 | Section: Interviews |

Yahki.com is a curation platform where users collect videos, images, articles and posts from all over the web, as well as social networks to create a story.

Launched in July 2011, Yahki.com was created by Taya IT, a specialist in online products, smart-phone and custom software development with offices in Cairo, Egypt, and Dubai UAE. Taya IT is headed by Ashraf Tawakkol who has over 20 years entrepreneurial and digital industry experience. Taya IT has been developing new products on various platforms which aim to bring Middle Eastern and Western cultures closer together.

We interviewed Taya IT CEO Ashraf Tawakkol to find out more about Yahki and hear his thoughts on curation in the Arab world.

Tell us about how you first got the idea for Yahki?

It’s about fulfilling the dream of enhancing the way Arab users can consume and interact with online content.  Social media usage in the region is growing exponentially and Yahki is a curation platform that taps into that potential.  Yahki allows users to search for new content, discover it, compile it on their own pages, structure it with their own narrative and ultimately share it using various social tools.

The closed beta launched in November 2010, when a handful of influencers from within the Middle Eastern web-sphere were supplied invites.  The ability to invite others was extended in April during the private beta. The public beta was launched in late July 2011.

How has the reception been so far?

We have achieved three times our target number of registered users and page impressions with the site’s registered users growing at a rate of 200% month on month since the public beta launch.

Where are you most popular?

Our top five locales for registered users and visitors are Egypt, Saudi, Morocco, Algeria, and the US.  Ultimately, we like to think of Yahki as becoming a global product, not specific to the region.

Who are your competitors?

Storify is our main competition, Tumblr and other more general blogging systems could also be considered competition.

Tell us about any obstacles that you faced or are still facing.

There are many challenges, but the most interesting one for us is educating Arab users about the importance of curation, and then watch them get to grips with it, and use it their own way by adding their own narrative.  We are now getting increasing traction from the US and Europe where users understand the importance of curation, however in the Arab world the concept of curation is new and not everyone understands how to fully utilize the sites features.  Some start to use Yahki as a simple blog at first, but as they begin to understand the different features and how to make the most out of it, it makes for some very interesting stories.

When do you expect the full launch?

The full launch is expected in Q1 2012.  Between now and then, we are currently analyzing user usage trends, and creating new features for the full launch. So far, Yahki only has half the features we aim to include by the beginning of next year.

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