Abu Dhabi: A classified portal that launched in the UAE and expanded into the other Gulf markets is planning to go even wider across geographies. That’s what Mohammed Al Qubaisi, founder of wewez.com, is after, where he wants the platform to be the default choice for anyone wanting to buy, sell or exchange. Or find a job.
“Given the urgent demand for online services, a classifieds portal was the need of the hour when we launched in 2011,” he said. “We began listing a huge number of goods and services, including rental units, property, appliances, and household items.
“In recent times, it is our jobs section that has seen the greatest interest, as we list both public and private sector jobs. In fact, many local and federal authorities list positions with us, and this has been a major draw for many site visitors.”
Unlike many competitor portals, it also allows users to post free of charge. “Because our services are free, it promotes swapping and exchange of goods. This is, in my opinion, one of the site’s biggest differentiators.”
Al Qubasi hopes to soon launch a smartphone app for wewez.com. “Our aim is to put the power of marketing in your hands. This is why wewez.com makes it easy to create and post ads through the browser, and we do believe our processes are easier than many other platforms.”
What promoted this journey to launching Wewez?
In 2010, I had a car and I wanted to sell it as soon as possible because I was about to travel. I was in a hurry and at that time there was no website to make classified ads. In the midst of these, as I walked to the advertising office to place my ad, a police car passed by me and the siren was on. That was when the idea came to me that anyone wanting to sell or need a certain thing is in an emergency situation.
So, I thought of creating a website whose name would be similar to the sound of a police car or ambulance warning – ‘Wee Wee Wee Wee - and the name became Wewez. The beginning of any project is not easy, even if you have done a pre-launch study, have the plans and everything. The paths drawn on paper differ when they are applied to reality, so I have always relied on flexible plans that change according to circumstances.
How easy was the process to get the site up and gain visibility?
At that time, getting specialized companies to make websites was very difficult. Even if a specialized company was found, it required large amounts. One of the companies that I worked with disagreed on some technical issues. They deleted the whole site and it was a big problem as the site had just started.
I dealt with companies that do their work half-way and disappear. Same was the case with the freelancer who I found on some overseas sites.
I thought of giving up on this project, but I didn’t. The obstacles that I faced were never financial, but mainly operational and technical.
Will Wewez remain a UAE focussed platform?
The goal that I set at the beginning is to be everywhere in the world. We are in the Gulf countries and in Egypt and Jordan. We are still continuing and the work is stressful. In the future, after we finish our in the Middle East, our goal is Europe, and then America, and there will be languages other than English and Arabic.
The decision to list jobs seems to have worked well. Your thoughts?
I have a team that works on providing the latest updates on employment opportunities. Today, there are three basics - real estate, cars and employment, all of which are present in Wewez.
Companies can register on the site and place all their vacancies so that jobseekers can apply, and all these transactions will be on-site so that companies can inform them of the results of acceptance or non-acceptance and the reasons.
Candidates can upload their CV so that those who want to hire can search in Wewez and find those who can match their experiences with the job needs.
You have topped up the verticals on the platform – is the move paying off?
There is a section that does not exist in any of the current sites, which is for exchanges. This section has brought in many youngsters, who want to trade games and other collectibles. Car owners too have shown interest.
I am always asked this question about other classified sites and what that competition would mean. In the end, the goal is for Wewez to be the first choice for everyone.