Taking the next step

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Growing numbers Souqalmal.com has tripled its number of visitors in the last six months

Growing numbers Souqalmal.com has tripled its number of visitors in the last six months

“Let me ask you a question: If you are going to India tomorrow and you are looking for a hotel to stay in, where would you normally search?” asks Ambareen Musa, founder and CEO of Souqalmal.com, a website that offers consumers a platform to obtain detailed information on a range of financial products.

TripAdvisor is the first answer that comes to mind.

“That is exactly my point. So pretty much, if you take the same concept and apply it to credit cards, this is exactly what you get, Souqalmal.com, the TripAdvisor of the banking industry,” she adds.

On the website, users can search for over 700 products, analysing various credit cards, different personal loans, a range of mortgages and car finance products, all of which exist across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

“When you want to go to India, you would need to book a hotel. If you want to choose a good one, you look up prices, locations and people’s reviews. On Souqalmal.com, users [do the same thing], they look at the prices of, let’s say, credit cards, their different features, and what other customers think of each and every one of the products,” she explains.

Musa’s online business is, she says, the first comparison website in the entire region, but the concept exists elsewhere in the world. Souqalmal.com — Arabic for ‘money market’ —  is largely based on sites available in mature financial markets around the world, including the UK and the US.

“I think the region got ready for this concept around a year or two ago… if you look at governments, they are all pushing everything online, a lot of campaigns, e-tickets, updating vehicle registrations, all of this is online,” she adds.

Musa and her contact management team have held talks with numerous banks in a bid to educate them about stepping on board with the website.

“It did take two to three months to educate them because it is a completely new concept in this part of the world. Some would ask me if they were even allowed to give out details of their services. I would always reassure them by saying it is public information,” she says.

Following Musa’s efforts to encourage these banks to make a move in her direction, many have shed their concerns over transparency. However, that should not come off as a surprise, given that Souqalmal.com serves as a fantastic platform for promoting products and services for these institutions.

“First of all, banks are very much moving online. If they want a very targeted customer base, i.e: customers actively looking for a certain financial product; there is no other site in the region that brings banks and customers who are actively looking together,” she says.

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Posted by: Ranjan Abraham

Ambareen,
Congratulations on this success. The region needs more such stories. I have visited the site in the past and it indeed is helpful.
My question is as follows:
1. Will a CPC or a Cost per Lead actually take you to revenues that you expect to reach? Is ME actually such a large market?
2. Do sites in the western world also operate the same model or are the market dynamics different in the Middle East?
3. What is competition for you? I noticed sites like MoneyCamel.com and MoneyGulf.com which are similar to yours (Though I would prefer your design over others).
4. Is first mover advantage the only unique proposition of your offering or is there any other entry barrier for someone to start another site with same offerings?

Once again, great job done and wishing you all the very best!

Posted by: Ambareen Musa

Ranjan,

Many thanks for your note and allow me to answer your questions.
1. We have a variety of revenue streams and CPC and CPL are a subset of those.
2. Sites in the western world do operate the same model. As you would know however, they have a credit bureau which means they can go one step further. With the right financial license, they are able to allow users to apply and get approved for certain products
3. We are well aware of our competition and we make sure that we keep ourselves ahead.
4. Our proposition is transparency and very easy to use website. We offer our users the ability to share information and we work hard to make sure that they have the latest product details available on the market to help them do their homework.

Again, many thanks for the comments and the support. Much appreciated. Do feel free to contact us through the website if you have any other questions.

Posted by: Selingan

I am very pleased to read about Souqalmal.com, i am sure it will prove extremely popular website in the world due to the vision and dedication of Ms Ambareen Musa

God bless Souqalmal.com and Ambareen Musa

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