Pay Your Rent Online

Posted by Mark

ajar

Ajar Online is a cool service which allows you to pay your rent online. The way it works is fairly simple, first your landlord needs to register the building and the tenants, then once a month he sends out an email or SMS to all the tenants reminding them to pay the rent. The tenants can then click the link included in those messages and proceed to pay the rent online using knet.

Right now every month I need to head to an ATM machine, withdraw the rent and then make sure to pass by the landlord at certain hours of the day to pay the rent. I always end up paying the rent late because I am either never home or out of the country so I’d love it if my building signed up to Ajar Online. Which is where the problem is with this service, even though I think it’s very practical and would love to use it, I can’t unless the landlord signs up to it. Would have been much cooler if I could pay my rent online and for a small fee they can send a mandoob to pay the rent on my behalf. Or if there was a form at least which I could fill in with my buildings details so their salesman can come and pitch the service to my landlord.

Check out their website [Here]


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Snapchat is Live from Kuwait Tomorrow

Posted by Mark

snapchatkuwait

After Dubai and Riyadh went live on Snapchat last week, it’s now Kuwait’s turn. According to an instagram post by Viva, Snapchat will be live in Kuwait tomorrow… but theres a catch. It will only be broadcasting snaps from Ahmadi. What this means is that snapchats taken in the Ahmadi area will be eligible to go live but not snaps from the rest of Kuwait. No idea why Snapchat chose Ahmadi but I guess it’s better than nothing.


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The State of LTE in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

lte

The website Open Signal has posted interesting numbers regarding the state of LTE around the world. Kuwait for example turns out has the third highest time spent on LTE networks but also has the second slowest LTE internet connection compared to everybody else. Check out the full report [Here]

Thanks Haneyl


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Internet Prices at InfoConnect 2015

Posted by Mark

wimd

I passed by InfoConnect earlier today to check out the internet prices and I’m not sure why but the prices have started increasing instead of decreasing. For example two years ago 10Mbps would have cost you KD140 while this year it’s going to cost you KD165. Check out the prices for the annual subscriptions below. Most of the providers were offering some sort of gift be it scratch and win cards or free speed upgrades etc..

internet-prices-2015-kuwait

InfoConnect is taking place at the Kuwait International Fairground until February 1st. For more information on the event click [Here]


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Is your internet slow?

Posted by Mark

slowinternet

I got a lot of emails over the holidays from readers (mostly Qualitynet users) complaining about how their internet has been really slow. According to two people, Qualitynet told them its because of a fiber optic cable that was cut. I couldn’t find any information on this but as a WiMD internet user myself, my connection has also been slow averaging less than 1Mbps instead of my usual 10Mbps.

So if you’ve been having connection issues, let me know below.


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Snapchat is the new black

Posted by Mark

snapchat

Snapchat has really been picking up traction in Kuwait recently and I’m finding it a lot more enjoyable than Instagram. Just like on Instagram, I only follow my friends on Snapchat and I mostly use Snapchat for the stories. For those of you who don’t know how Snapchat works, there are two ways, the first is you send a self destructing video or image to a friend directly and the second is by adding an image or video to your stories wall which then self destruct after 24 hours. It’s actually pretty annoying to get a direct snap (unless nudity is involved) since you get a notification every time but right now 99% of the people I follow only use stories.

Recently I’ve also started following Snapchat celebrities. The first one I followed was Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah (Snapchat: majedalsabah) based on a recommendation. His snapchats are like a reality show of his life and he snaps an average of like a 1,000 seconds a day which is just insane. The second Snapchat celebrity I started following was Bibi Alabdulmohsen (Snapchat: bibii_63). I’m not a big fan of her Instagram but I met her yesterday and found out she was on Snapchat so I started following her. Surprisingly, not only am I finding her really entertaining to watch but she’s also pretty hilarious and really good at Snapchat. She has an advice segment similar to “Dear Abby” where people ask her for her opinion and she replies with very witty and funny comments. Definitely worth following.

Both those Snapchat accounts are in Arabic so for non-Arabic speakers they won’t be very useful. But, if you have any recommendation of interesting local Snapchatters to follow (English or Arabic) let me know in the comments.


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Kuwait Babe, diaries of a not-so-well-behaved Kuwaiti babe

Posted by Mark

kuwaitbabe

The past few months a number of interesting dating blogs have popped up, the first I posted about was Single in the Shires and the second was I Date Kuwait. Since then, Single in the Shires shutdown because people found out who she was while I Date Kuwait stopped getting updated. But, there’s now another blog thats gathering interest and it’s Kuwait Babe. Not sure how much of the blog is real or fiction but it’s still an interesting (and dirty) late night read. [Link]


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Drama in the local blogosphere

Posted by Mark

americanblogs

A bit of drama has erupted over the past few days between a few local American female bloggers. From what I’ve been able to grasp so far it turns out Expat and the City is not who she says she is, personal information on Crazy in Kuwait was released and supposedly American Girl’s World started all of this.

Personally I find all this drama entertaining to read but I’m also completely against outing someone who wants to remain anonymous. Even Single in the Shires recently posted that people have figured out her identity as well. There are plenty of good reasons to post anonymously in Kuwait so its very understandable why these girls would want their real lives to remain private. Plus, I don’t think it really matters if the blog stories or characters are fictional, a blog can be whatever it wants to be.

In any case this is turning into an episode of The Only Way is Essex, so if you’re bored and want to catch up on whats been going on, here are some links in chronological order:

Expat and the City 1
American Girl’s World
Crazy in Kuwait
Expat and the City 2


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Paid Influencers: Yay or Nay?

Posted by Mark

A couple of weeks back I posted a list of prices some local instagrammers charge for paid posts. Many readers felt the prices were absurd while finding the whole processes unethical, but how do brands feel about paid influencers?

Ali Ashkanani, the owner of Elevation Burger (whom also advertise on this blog) posted his view about this on LinkedIn and with his permission I’ve gone ahead and posted it below:

——————-

Paid Influencers: Yay or Nay?

Mark Makhoul, the profound blogger 248am.com, blogged about the card rate of number of influencers in the social media. The post has raised some controversial questions that I summarize in two sides;1) the value to money of the practice, and 2) the ethical side of advertising without declaring it. I personally worked with many of the influencers that Mark has mentioned in his blog. And I like to share my experience on the buy-side of this practice in Kuwait.

In 2012 I met for the first time with a sale’s rep of one of the social media management companies, and the service he was offering was new to me. He had a list of tweeps with high number of followers and a price per tweet. I’m not going to hide my first reaction, I really thought the prices are exaggerated and could not find the rationality of value to money in the pricing. At that time I only asked questions, and didn’t sign up for the services.

I thought that I need to look at the practice more thoroughly. At first, why are they called influencers? And why do they get paid for endorsing something they already like! The simple answer is they have a significant number of followers on social media, which translates into high exposure for what they post. The high number of people came from the fact that people find what they share is interesting. And as their pages becomes more popular, just like any other media, the value of what appears there increases. I believe people working at Ghaliah Tech or influencers can better explain these specifics.

The other way I liked to look at the influencers is simply to compare them with athletes, models, actors, or other conventional celebrities. The rate card for advertising by conventional celebrities are substantially higher than influencers, yet we don’t question their value to money. In fact, big brands, like Coke and Nike, invest heavily in conventional celebrities, and the results are clear from their brand awareness and company’s results.

Social media has helped us all evolve our practices, from connecting with friends to doing business and exploiting new markets. Part of the evolution was the emergence of new class of celebrities, those celebrities who don’t have their photos taken by experts and don’t have their videos edited by a whole production staff. The influencers are casual cool people that we like. Most of the time they shoot their own photos and videos by their smart phones, with no extra or unnecessary efforts to deliver their messages.

In the past, we only recognized celebrities by their profession that allowed them to appear in our lives frequently due to the limited media. And for many of us, we don’t really share much of values or interests with those celebrities, we don’t really know who they really are, but we were stuck with them. Today, our celebrities are our influencers, people who we selectively follow based on our personal interests. And just like brands have always gone after celebrities, other businesses utilized the technological advancement and emergence of new class of celebrities.

The new class of celebrities is a natural and healthy evolution, as this new class is filling significant gaps in the branding and advertising. In the past, only big companies could afford to pay celebrities to bring their brands to public. Today, with the influencers, the new class of celebrities is more affordable for all business scales. Branding is no longer limited to companies with deep pockets, celebrities are available for big and small companies.

At Elevation Burger, I have worked with influencers since the beginning of 2013, specifically at our store openings. We invited @Acsia_AKF, @7amadQalam, and others, who I believe have given us a good brand awareness on social media.

So is their value to money of what they do from business perspective? Probably there is, but is their service priced correctly? Maybe this question requires more digging

On other hand of the controversy comes the ethical question. And I think the answer to this question is straight forward, a paid post is not an endorsement and not having it clear eventually means misleading the followers. I asked many influencers about the ethics of the practice from their perspective and it looked a bit different.

For many influencers they presume that their followers know they are posting paid ads, and this assumption is based on how each has defined themselves on their bio. Also many influencers take pride in what they do and they still consider their paid ads as endorsements as they would only do business with brands with certain values that matches theirs. And there is an increasing number of influencers that are clearly mentioning the related business parties and clearly distinguishing between their posts and paid ads.

I like to observe the evolution of the social media and the businesses that it’s creating. Social media is a total new sphere of networking and relationships, a new market place, and I think it’s interesting to see how it solves it’s problem. Today Mark has raised the awareness of this market on his blog, I have put my comments on LinkedIn, and I’m sure there are many others discussing it on Twitter or Instagram. Eventually the market will shape itself and it will define its standards.

Ali Ashkanani
CEO at TABCo Food


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Jazeera Airways Blunder

Posted by Mark

durex

It seems whoever is handling the Jazeera Airways twitter account also handles the twitter account of Durex and last week confused the two by posting a Durex advert under the Jazeera account. Either that or Jazeera Airways want to promote their mile high club.

Jazeera Airways quickly pulled the ad down and posted an apology but not fast enough since someone managed to grab a screenshot and now their mistake lives on the internet forever. [Link]

Thanks Basel


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