At The Time of Facebook Location’s Launch, Jeeran Ventures Into the Location Game But with No Check-in

23 Aug, 2010

The launch of facebook locations has taken lots of buzz, the service allows users to check in using their touch phones into different location, know where their friends are and get information about places and discover new ones. Facebook places competes head to head with startups such as NY based Foursquare, texas based Gowalla and Face2face ( our review of Face2face here.), Even though Foursquare and Gowala were appeased by beiing invited to show up at facebook launch event of facebook places and even though Foursquare , Gowalla, loopt, Face2Face and other social based localtion startups still preserve some differentiations such as badges and rewards while face2face focus is on privacy, But the entrance of a 500 pound gorilla into the locations business might killer to all of them as the facebook boost over 500 million active users.

Indeed, most experts agree that facebook locations might be a killer to Gowalla and Foursquare, but having a 500 pound gorilla competitor such as facebook is one thing, when compared to the gigantic new competitor to ArabCrunch represented by the US state department, least to mention facebook has no CIA agents, but the US federal government do have over a million, who could be “or already put” into “good use.”

Unlike the US market, Foursquare and gowalla adoption rate in the Arab world is somehow limited to a bunch of geeks and early adaptor but who seems to be in the rise, specially that Gowalla iPhone app is available in Arabic. which seems the reason behind Jordan based Internet company Jeeran decision to venture into the location market at the local level. As the site launched few days ago local Arabic social portal for the capital of Jordan Amman calling it: Jeeran Amman.

Jeeran Amman, has 2 features right now: Amman Places and discussions. Amman discussions provides a forum for users to discuss city wide issues, but Unlike facebook Locations, Gowalla and foursquare. Amman places does not depend on users checking-in online or via smart phones, there is no checkin but rather user can add review of the location and “like” it or “dislike” it. However the value of the Amman Places is providing information about the place and see what people think of it. Something that facebook has now with its location services but plus check-ins.  Also unlike facebook locations, Gowalla and foursquare. On Jeeran  Amman Places users can not add a new location, but are already added by Jeeran staff. and users can not share photos on that location or leave tips or gain points and badges, or see who of their friends are around them.

Jeeran places also competes also with Saudi Startup Qaym in terms that it provides a section for restaurants reviews.

We called Omar Kudsi, Jeeran’s cofounder 2 times to get more information about Amman Places and whether they will also launch iPhone app with check-ins and launch places in other Arab cities, But Omar did not answer our calls.

Jeeran’s venture into local sites comes after a series of new product launches: Jeeran Channels: news about cars, sports and so on. Jeeran improved it UI including a much better user profile, entered the Music business with Jeeran Music .

Jeeran was started in 2000 with an Arabic clone of Yahoo’s closed geocities then ventured into blogs, introduced social networking aspect: profiles, the ability for users to share photos and videos, launched a poetry social site along with an Arabic digg clone called Khabbr.
In an unpublished ArabCrunch video interview with Feroz Sanaulla Investment Director at Intel Capital which was made few month ago he said that Jeeran is the best performing company in his portfolio and wants them to over spend to gain more users. Intel Capital is the second investor in Jeeran.

But can Jeeran local social sites make a stand to Facebook Places which has around 16 million Internet users in the Arab world?

( Disclosure: Jeeran is also venture backed by Jordanian Internet venture Capital firm IV Holdings, IV Holdings mother company Accelerator Technology Holdings was approved a 25 Million USD fund from the US federal government, The US State Department to enter into competition with ArabCrunch)

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  1. samer  |  August 23rd, 2010 at 8:02 PM #

    facebook fs will get more places than jeeran becuase users can add them. jeeran should offer users the option to add locations.

  2. Muhanad Omar  |  August 24th, 2010 at 12:24 AM #

    Horrible way to play catch-up in my opinion. The service is closed, and as many know, for such services to succeed, they need to have an open platform. By the time they do decide to go open with this, their potential user-base will already have adopted Facebook Places, foursquare, or one of the other players in this market. Plus, it’s all about mobility these days – the lack of mobile support (via iPhone app, or whatever) is detrimental towards user adoption.

  3. Gaith Saqer  |  August 24th, 2010 at 2:04 AM #

    I agree with you Muhanad, mobility and openness are key. I do not know exactly the adoption rate for smart phones in Jordan, but for sure it is not that high. So for the time being they might do ok via the web only. but not for more than one year.

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    […] Arabic version of Tasree3 offers the same functionality of the English version we reviewed back in April 2010. But now its food section has moved to the right […]

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