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Mon 23 Apr 2001 04:00 AM

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Yahoo! targets Middle East advertisers

Yahoo! has gone ahead with the opening of a regional Advertising Sales office in Dubai Internet City despite courting controversy in the Middle East over its corporate policies regarding pornography.

Yahoo! has opened an Advertising Sales Rep Office in Dubai Internet City to cater to advertising sales from the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia.

In the Middle East, over 350 million pages of Yahoo! are seen every month and Yahoo! offers targeted advertising opportunities for companies to reach visitors from specific countries.

Dr. Irfan Ahmad, director of the Yahoo! Ad Sales Rep Office, is enthusiastic about the growing awareness of the internet in the region and feels that clients and ad agencies are now beginning to allocate funds to online advertising.

Yahoo!’s move into the region comes at a time of growing controversy for the portal. Earlier this year, access to the site’s ‘Clubs’ section was blocked in some Middle East countries because many of the personal sites contained pornography. More recently, Yahoo! has been criticised for acting as a middleman for online pornographic video sales, a decision Yahoo!s owners say is under review.

For advertisers, Yahoo!’s 190 million worldwide registered users can be targeted based on age, gender, user interest as well as occupation.

Both multinationals and local companies are now using Internet advertising to reach out to their online audience. Companies such as Procter & Gamble, Saudi Arabia, have used Yahoo! for reaching female internet users from the GCC, other regional advertisers on Yahoo! include Acer, Oracle, CSFBdirect, Siemens, Ajmal Perfumes, Saudi.Net, Emirates Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Gulf Air and Tejari.com.

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