Yahoo! Maktoob to Shutdown its Arabic Social Network As7ab in September 2011
Folks at Yahoo are raising the white banner and surrendering their social networking site in the Arab world “As7ab”.
In an email sent to Yahoo Maktoob’s Arabic social network Asa7b members, Yahoo is saying that they will shut down the service as of 18/9/2011 and deleting everything, the email urges members to download their voice and video clips and their photos. It also asks them to look at other Yahoo services: Maktoob Blogs, Maktoob Forums, Yahoo! groups and Yahoo! Puls.
This is no surprise, Facebook has taken over the world by storm and is estimated to have 30 million members from the Arab world according to facebook ad creator ( this number excludes Syria and Sudan as advertisers can not target them on facebook due to U.S government sanctions on these 2 countries.) and Google Plus is growing on momentum with an estimated 20 million members from around the world. Though numbers about Arab members are not yet available I see many common Arab tweeps on google plus and the platform is offered in Arabic from day 1.
Why is As7ab closing? I bet its low traction as the sites says 600,000 members who most likely are active on facebook not As7ab. And why As7ab has not become at the size of facebook? It is lack of social innovation. As7ab was developed by Maktoob before Yahoo acquired the company in 2009. It was something that cross between Facebook and myspace of that time. As members can customize their profile with HTML and is meant to find new friends, rather than connect with real friends with privacy as facebook model is built upon.
Google+ on the other hand is built around studying social behavior and how people interconnect. As people have multiple friends groups. Google+ make it easy to share stuff with those groups without exposing too much to other groups of friends when needed, and share with-everyone when a user things it is appropriate.
Google+ has proven that the battle for social networking dominance is not yet done. The winner is not the one who propose state-of-the-art technology but the one who can use technology to mimic real life social behavior.