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Morocco: Almajadid.com - A 100% social networking site for Moroccans
Almajadid.com is the first social network entirely dedicated to Moroccans. The idea to create the site was born out of the realization that other international social networking sites are not tailored to fit specific Moroccan demands, according to its founder, Mohamed El Yacoubi. Interview.

Alamjadid.com ["New World" in Arabic], the first Moroccan social network was officially launched a month ago by Mohamed El Yacoubi. The U.K. based 20 year old business management student decided in October 2009 to create a social networking site for Moroccans.

The test version of the site was launched last April following a feasibility study that had aimed at identifying the needs of Moroccans. Among other services, Alamjadid.com offers forums, a blogging platform, a games section, as well as spaces dedicated to music, movies, advertisements and dating. An Arabic version of the site will soon be available.

Afrik.com: What is the relevance of an all Moroccan social networking site?

Mohamed El Yacoubi: International sites are not tailored to fit the specific needs of various populations. We carried out a feasibility study among 500 Moroccan Internet users. We asked them about their hobbies and types of features they would like to have. The result of the survey led us to create the site. The relevance of a community site boils down to its cultural and geographical proximity. It facilitates all kinds of exchange between people. And to facilitate this exchange, we not only created a database for each Moroccan city, but also universities, colleges, and institutes of higher learning.

Afrik.com: Music plays an important role on Alamjadid ...

Mohamed El Yacoubi: The feasibility study indicated that Moroccan internet users were very keen on entertainment news. We therefore set up a platform that could serve as a springboard for musicians. They can chose to make themselves known on a national level by releasing their album on the site.

Afrik.com: Concerning security and the privacy of users...

Mohamed El Yacoubi: After observing the numerous controversies with respect to international social networking sites, we have developed a unique security system that prevents users’ personal details from being detected by search engines. And to ensure security within the network, we have also set up a system that limits access to the profiles of other users. Minors under the age of 14 are not allowed.

Afrik.com: Is the site moderated?

Mohamed El Yacoubi: Yes, absolutely. Our team of developers ensure that the site’s content is moderated to make sure that set rules are respected.

Afrik.com: What are some of Alamjadid’s development projects?

Mohamed El Yacoubi: We are working on an Arabic version which will be launched in a few weeks. We are also working to improve the site’s structure by adding new applications. An English version might be available in the future if there is popular demand, although it is not part of our current plans.

Afrik.com: How many members does this new online community have?

Mohamed El Yacoubi: Only two weeks ago, Alamjadid had 15,000 members. And the community is growing every day!


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