The founder of I’mHalal, the world’s first Islamic orientated search engine, has said the site is seeing an “almost viral” surge in traffic as it celebrates its first anniversary.
The site, which filters content that might be considered ‘haraam’ or unclean, is turning over 300,000 queries a day and has plans to roll out bespoke search engines for users, said CEO Reza Sardeha.
Sardeha, a Kuwaiti-Iranian based in The Netherlands, said: “The increase in user base is almost viral. A month ago we were processing 100,000 search queries a day but yesterday we processed over 300,000 search queries."
He added: “Pakistan was always our biggest source of traffic, but we’re seeing our user base from the United States catch up.”
In January, I’mHalal will launch an interface to allow users to build their own search engines backed by the site’s technology.
Sardeha said: “This means in 2011, everyone can create his or her own niche search engine based on halal standards."
I’mHalal filters search requests to ensure the results only show content approved under Islam. Users can search in several different languages, including Arabic and English.
The concept was borne out of complaints that mainstream engines, such as Google and Yahoo, returned offensive content. Though originally aimed at Muslim users, the site has also proved popular with parents keen ensure their children surf cleanly, said Sardeha.
He said: “We see I’mHalal more as a revolution since we’re providing internet users freedom from porn. We’re the only child friendly search engine."
The site turned one on September 1.
Pakistan accounts for 31 percent of I’mHalal’s traffic, followed by the US which is home to 22 percent of users.
Indonesia is the third largest source of traffic, followed by Malaysia and the UAE.
Sardeha, who is planning to relocate to the Middle East, is debuting an advertising portal later this month designed to target Muslim consumers. The 21 year old hopes to use the profits from the platform to fund the site’s expansion, by capitalising on the rising number of mainstream firms keen to target the Muslim market.
He said: “At the moment we’re bootstrapping our venture since there are not many investment vehicles located in the Middle East that are actively investing in internet start ups."
He added: “The concept of halal goes beyond foods and drinks. I eat Halal, I think Halal, I live halal. Many industries like the internet, clothes and the financial industry could expand their target group significantly by launching halal services aimed for Muslims.”For all the latest Bahrain news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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