A frameless website set on a plain white background with little graphical wizadry - not many gave GoDubai a fighting chance three years ago. That was three years, 9,000,000 hits and 48,000 registered members ago.
The journey has had all the ingredients of a pioneering voyage. Intriguing, bumpy and heady as we discovered the paths to make magic on the web. And with the confidence of any veteran voyager, GoDubai in 2000, ventured out more surefooted than ever, building online audiences all the way. The Treasure Hunt, for starters, was not your typical answer and win contest. Bilhana, was more than a food ordering service and Bonanza brought together retail outlets and the Web in the region's first ever Internet Sweepstakes.
Statistics and services apart, a community website is more about connecting with the surfer on a personal level - like that moment in July, when a celebrity singer accepted a GoDubai surfer's request to play a song in her late daughter's memory. Come along and share with us, a few of those moments.
If 1998 was the year of building alliances and 1999 was the year of promotions and contests, 2000 was all that and a year of ground-breaking Internet Services.
The technical team behind GoDubai cooked up a range of user-friendly services with the most imaginative entr‚e of them all - www.Bilhana.com in May 2000. Bilhana is the region's first online food ordering service. From Chinese to Continental and Indian, Bilhana reflects the culinary diversity of this dynamic city.
The month of May had more in store for GoDubai surfers. PC2Fax emerged quietly as a free fax service from anywhere in the world to anyone in Dubai. Rated now as one of our top 20 pages, PC2Fax has in the words of one user, "been most useful for companies transacting daily business with Dubai". It couldn't get better, but as is usually the case, it did. An online organiser and a daily updated events calendar for the Emirates, helped make GoDubai more user-friendly.
The sweltering Dubai summer did not, in any way, dampen the surge of projects. Just as the daily updated Press Releases service was in response to demands from PR agencies and events organisers, Birthdays on GoDubai was our way of letting our surfers have their say. The site is complete with celebrity birthdays, events in history, daily horoscope and a personalised GoDubai Ecard to the celebrants for the day.
The highlight for the summer of 2000 was Jobs Online launched in August 2000. In the first couple of weeks of its inception, over 5,000 CVs were posted. Today, Jobs Online commands the pride of place among visited pages, second only to the GoDubai Home page.
The all-new online Experts site, launched in September 2000, remains the region's one and only real-time specialised help available to surfers. Medical doctors, beauty therapists, real estate agents, alternative therapists and career counsellors, advise and elaborate in featured articles. The Gifts Shop on GoDubai was another first for us, timed sweetly to coincide with the festive season starting October. And to conclude a grand series of pioneering Internet services, GoDubai launched Aswaaq - the Cybermall.
With over 2,000 products currently featured and growing, Aswaaq aims at capturing online, the excitement of shopping in Dubai.
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|Road Shows |
From Treasure Hunt to Gitex|
"I won a PC!" The year 2000 began with a mighty bang for GoDubai.
The first online/offline Treasure Hunt
with Computer Plaza at Al Ain Centre had surfers winning
instant prizes as we quizzed them through an interactive map of Dubai.
The shortlisted quizzards then battled for the big prize in an on-the-spot
Treasure Hunt. Check out the
There was no respite as the team descended on
Ecom 2000, the IT show organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.
IT pros from GoDubai set up a Webcheck Centre during the 4-day
IT event. Over 55 sites were thoroughly analysed for their content,
navigability and overall efficiency.
The month ended on a poignant note as Bhangra superstar,
Daler Mahendi dedicated a special number to a young fan - a request by her bereaved mother.
February was a month of contrasts. GoDubai helped conjure
Grand Arabian Nights, a music/fashion extravaganza
in the desert. From the human ramp show to the canine variety, the
transition seemed slightly bizzare,
though wholly welcome.
The Pedigree Dubai Dog Show
was complete with petcare, event details, online contests
and a 'Select-a-Pet' game at the venue.
Dubai boldly ushered the Internet era with the
opening of the
Dubai Internet City at Gitex 2000. Visitors to
SIMA International's stand at the annual computer carnival,
won instant prizes as they registered online.
The year that began with the online Treasure Hunt
ended on a Bonanza
of instant prizes and grand sweepstakes.
Over 70,000 entries battled it out for 3,600 instant prizes,
and a dream vacation for two to the sun-kissed Caribbean. GoDubai member
registration reached an all-time high of 48,000!
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| Event Promotions|
Celebrity chat sessions to rib-tickling laughter|
The quiz maestro Derek O'Brien hosted
The Biz Quiz 2000 as GoDubai promoted the event online.
Summer was welcomed with great parties like Krazy Kool and
The real stuff, however were the medley of chat sessions
GoDubai hosted with
the petite Mehnaaz, hunk Marc Robinson and the Punjabi Munda, Sukhbir.
Check out the
Dinner with the Giggling Guru, Dr. Madan Kataria
was simple enough to win. Surfers had to reveal the most amusing moments in
their lives. Take a peek at these
candid moments. The year ended on a hi-tech note with the JVC Digivision.
As always lucky surfers walked away with some great giveaways.
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Life in the Emirates