Classifieds gone social in the Arab world
Launched in March 2012 by 22-year-old Mohamed Nour, Shoutit.com, is the regions first social marketplace where buyers post requests for goods or services they need and the amount they would like to pay for them.
Shoutit takes the concept of commerce back to the basics, by allowing you to offer whatever you have and ask the price you’d like to receive. It works based on two basic premises: shout and listen. You shout what you have to offer and you listen to what others are offering. When these two match, an e-mail notification is sent and a social sale takes place.
Most systems for classifieds work based on a simple and moderately successful system. If a user looking for something didn’t find it, he/she would need to come back regularly utill the sought product is found. The same goes for users who offer something. Mr. Nour’s idea is to make the buying and selling cycle more social and pass the burden of matching sells and buys to the system (based on location and budget). Shouit already has a growing community of users in the Arab world as well as the UK and the US.
However, as with any traditional classifieds system, there is the danger of unsolicited and unauthorized spam ads. Some internet users, such as this one, are already finding their ads on Shoutit without their prior authorization or knowledge. Remains to be seen if Shoutit will try to tackle this commonly occurring issue, especially because Shoutit uses mobile notifications.
Mr. Nour first became known for following in the steps of Facebook’s Zuckerberg, by gathering hundreds of Facebook pictures to create a website on which people could rate whether students were “hot or not” modeled on Facemash.
With its offices in Dubai, Shoutit is staffed with recent graduates and was funded by an anonymous investor. The company is focusing on growing its community of buyers and sellers, hoping that with the accumulation of users’ shopping profiles, it would offer businesses the possibility to send out targeted offers based on potential customers’ interests.