A new interactive social platform, Ishtarate.com, has launched for Arab users to share information, ratings, and
reviews about products they bought. The result is a massive network of information about products from different e-commerce websites.
To get to know more about Ishtarate, we met with its General Manager, Andrew Azmi.
What is Ishtarate.com?
Ishtarate is the first Arabic website that allows Arab users to rate products they bought in online shops, and write reviews about these products and easily share them with their friends with the help of social media. It also allows users to create wish-lists and special product groups that a user is willing to purchase or is interested in. In short, Ishtarate is an extremely helpful service for all Arab online shoppers.
When / where did it come to life?
The website was officially launched on March 22, 2014, by Hsoub (http://www.hsoub.com/) which has offices in the UK, Egypt, and soon UAE.
Which market does it serve?
It serves every Arab user who likes to shop online, no matter where he lives.
Why Ishtarate.com? What lead you to create it?
Simply because there was no Arab service that offered what Ishtarate offers. To reflect on that, please allow me to mention some of Ishtarate’s features: Ishtarate.com allows users to rate, review, and share information about products they bought or are willing to buy, and helps them discover new products similar to what they are interested in. Ishtarate supports all major online shops like Souq.com, eBay, and Amazon, and dozens of other websites. It retrieves information about products automatically (including product pictures), and helps users evaluate the products they buy and recommend if they want. So Ishtarate is not an online shop that sells products: it allows users to review and share products from other online shops. Because such features were not found in any Arabic service before, the creation of Ishtarate was important to cater for the Arab users’ needs.
Who are the founders of Ishtarate.com?
Hsoub is the developer of Ishtarate as well as other very popular platforms in the Arab world such as Hsoub Ads Network, Khamsat.com, asnadstore.com, Arabia.io, and others.
How is Ishtarate.com creating awareness around it?
On social networks we are now tend to specialize. For example if you want to share a picture with your friends you will probably share it via Instagram. If you want to share your location with your friends you will probably share it via Foursquare (now Swarm). Therefore comes Ishtarate, if you want to share a review about a product you have just purchased with your friends you will be able to share it via Ishtarate.
We don’t want to become another useless social network that steals users’ time, we want to build a healthy, collaborative community of users who are passionate about shopping.
Ishtarate is a social network powered by users and built for users, to explain it more please allow me to quote from a previous article I have published on Ishtarate’s blog.
“Users on Ishtarate can add reviews about products they have bought, or create a wishlist of products they love. Probably neither of both previous actions will directly benefit the user, but maybe the review that you have added today will help someone else to make a decision about buying this product or will help a user to avoid a product that doesn’t fit his needs, and maybe the product you have added last day to your wishlist is the product that someone else was looking for to buy as a gift for his mother’s birthday.“
By giving people the power to freely share their thoughts about products they have bought, we are revolutionizing the online shopping experience.
What is the business model of Ishtarate.com? How does it aim to generate income?
Ishtarate was not created to generate income but to offer a quality service, free of charge! We are inspired to provide the Arab users with solutions for their tech and web problems, and that’s what motivates us. So, currently, we don’t think about generating income form Ishtarate.
Who are the competitors to Ishtarate.com?
As far as I know, there are no Arabic websites that offers the features Ishtarate offers.
How does Ishtarate.com operate exactly?
In addition to what I explained in my responses to the previous questions, I would like to emphasize that using Ishtarate is very simple and straightforward. The site’s interface was designed with simplicity in mind. So despite the site’s rich features, adding items or creating lists is only one click away. Ishtarate allows users to add and review products from all known online shops and e-commerce websites.
So instead of having your reviews scattered across different websites or platforms, you could keep a record of all the products you bought from all online shops, and your impression about them, all in one place under your Ishtarate account. Additionally, you can create unified wish-lists that contain products you wish to have from multiple shops, instead of creating a wish-list in each one of them.
Having unified product reviews page, and unified wishlists is great not only so that a user may keep record of all the products they bought or wishe to buy; but also for the user’s friends who are interested to see what products their friend likes or wishes to get. It is very helpful and time-saving to have all that information under one roof.
How can you guarantee the quality of the reviews published by the users?
Besides the supervision by Ishtarate’s staff that monitor user activity and make sure the service is spam-free, every item posted by the users has a “like” counter that tells the number of other users who agree with the review posted, which could serve as an indicator of the accuracy and reliability of the review. We closely monitor the use of the service and we are constantly implementing mechanisms that empower the community itself and allow it to play the major rule in maintaining accuracy and transparency in the reviews posted on the website.
What is the future for Ishtarate.com?
We are confident that the impressive success that Hsoub’s other products have achieved,will be shared by Ishtarate as well. Hsoub staff and developers work around the clock to detect gaps in the Arabic web. We find problems, then create solutions; solutions that work! Ishtarate was created to fill a gap where no similar service ever existed. It also aims at promoting online shopping among Arab consumers. We know that Arabs are still quite reluctant when it comes to buying their stuff online, and therefore Ishtarate is also a great asset that helps users to shop online safely and make informed decisions about which products. This makes Ishtarate very attractive to thousands of users who already joined the website in its first month, and we are confident that the service will appeal to many others who will join.