YaDig is the Middle East’s largest reviewing community. We spoke to its founder Saif AlZarouni about what inspired him to start the website and his future plans.
What was the idea behind YaDig.com?
I was just really tired of going to new/old places in UAE and being totally let down when I got there. There had to be a platform where I could read real honest reviews by the people living in the community. Also it was frustrating not being able to find places in UAE. There was no portal for example to find veterinary clinics in UAE where I could find out all their info (telephone number, geo location, general info, and read real honest reviews) and decide whether I should try one place over the other or which one was closest to my house for convenience.
Whether you had a great time or a not so good experience, the people in your community want to hear about it so they can benefit from it. The more reviews we have in our community the better decisions people can make on the places they should or should not go. No body wants to waste their money on a place they could have avoided. That only comes when people share their experiences with the community on YaDig.com.
How does it make money?
We currently have two ways. The first is the traditional sense of advertising on our site where we have banners, leader boards and so forth. The second is Sponsored Listings, which is a way for local businesses to directly market to their customers. For example, if an Arabic restaurant in Dubai Marina wants to sponsor the listings for restaurant category they will see their business listing on top of the page whenever someone searches for ‘Restaurants in Dubai’. They can also sponsor the Arabic restaurant sub category page, the Arabic restaurant Dubai Marina (neighborhood) page, or even the restaurant and neighborhood page. With this targeted advertising the business owner is directly reaching out to people that are either looking for restaurants in Dubai, Arabic restaurants in Dubai, Arabic restaurants in Dubai Marina, or restaurants in Dubai Marina.
I would have to say the cost, It’s expensive starting up business in UAE, getting an office, license, visas, you name it. It all adds up really quick.
Who are your competitors in the market?
I don’t think we really have any that I can think of. What we are doing is brand new to the Middle East, but I am sure that won’t last long.
Any plans to venture into other verticals?
Not really right now, we have plenty on our plates.
Current usage/registered customers/traffic?
We are seeing 300,000+ users a month