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#1 May 9 2012


961pages.com - new local directory

Fellow geeks, I finished working on a local directory website.


I know there are tons of similar sites out there, but none seems to cut straight to the point. I also wanted to create official listings only. For example, if you want Haifa's official page on facebook, you wouldn't be able to tell which it really is because there are loads of Haifa pages. Here, you can view it directly. All freelancers and business owners on lebgeeks, if you like, send me your contact information. I put mine as a sample on the site. It's not free of charge, but doesn't cost a fortune. The little pay is for support and encouragement, and those here who don't feel like paying, I'll post their listings anyway. Thanks!


#2 May 9 2012


Re: 961pages.com - new local directory

Searched for 3 restaurants:

- Maysoun
- B2B
- Roadster

No results were found on any case.

On a side note, check your Inbox.


#3 May 9 2012


Re: 961pages.com - new local directory

@Georges, I just wrapped it up. I haven't submitted any listings other than mine yet. Will do as soon as I get done with the rest of my websites. Working on creating a 961 sites bundle.


#4 May 9 2012


Re: 961pages.com - new local directory

A friend (achkar on LebGeeks) kickstarted his startup "znood" about a year ago. They aim to index stores and what they contain, in details. They started with Lebanon, but I'm sure they'll be expanding in the region soon enough.

I'm mentioning it here because it seems that znood is a twist to the more traditional model that Nabs is adopting.


#5 May 9 2012


Re: 961pages.com - new local directory

samer wrote:

A friend (achkar on LebGeeks) kicked his startup "znood" about a year ago. They aim to index stores and what they contain, in details. They started with Lebanon, but I'm sure they'll be expanding in the region soon enough.

I'm mentioning it here because it seems that znood is a twist to the more traditional model that Nabs is adopting.

Pardon me, but Znood is a hideous website!


#6 May 9 2012


Re: 961pages.com - new local directory

Well the design is clearly not their strongest point, but the idea seems nice.

For what it's worth, if achkar reads this, a few points I note:

- the home page is cluttered with bloat. The news feed is not very interesting (if at all). Why would a user care if a new store has been added to the directory? It's not like it's a newly opened store. "Follow us on Facebook" is annoying. I completely get the need for a Fb campaign, but I'd appreciate it more if it was kept away from the home page. The white background is hollow and too 90's personal home page (Geocities anyone?). Also, underlined links? really?

- Batroun is part of Jbeil. That's got to confuse someone somewhere.... errr

- Couple of links in the footer are dead. They refer to (probably) old URLs.

- I clicked on 'Ascrhafieh', I get the useless news feed (again), a few pics from the premium members (Optique & Vision, seriously is that the first thing you'd be looking for in an online directory?), and a random Google Maps snippet. Am I crazy to wish for a directory listing, ordered by categories?

EDIT: it seems the news feed is the only directory. Do you seriously think I'm going to scroll through a 4-page feed to look for something.

EDIT2: Oh wait there's some categorization through ... a tagging system. But it's still nothing more than a glorified filter on ... the news feed! (you guys really like scrolling down and pagination!)

EDIT3: I think the number of my EDITs show that the site is not very intuitive.

- 'Sign in'. So you have a member system. Errr... for what? I'm sure there's a very valid reason, but... I can't find any info as to why. The URL says 'owners'. So that's an admin space, just for you? but wait... I can create an account easily (yes italics. It's 2012, I should be able to sign up with an openID. I don't feel like remember yet another password. But that's another debate). Ultimately I did not create an account because I don't know why I should.

- It seems to me that the only 'successful' page on the website is the about. Witty, to the point, the video is funny. The TV show appearance adds credibility. But honestly, no startup was ever successful for their 'about' page.

@achkar: I hope you understand that this is meant as constructive criticism despite the slightly sarcastic tone. I really only wish to help.

@Nabs: I'm really sorry we're hijacking the thread like this. For what it's worth, I find the design you chose for your directory vastly superior and more intuitive. It's pretty and everything's where you'd expect it to be. But it's only a WP theme, so it's not like you deserve the praise (^^). I'll give you, if you want, a more honest review once you'll get more entries on your directory.


#7 May 10 2012


Re: 961pages.com - new local directory

@samer, thank you for mentioning us; it's much appreciated!

@rahmu, your constructive criticism is very welcome. I shall respond to each of your concerns =)

We totally understand how, as a user, you're frustrated with our design. We do not express ourselves well as to what we do on the homepage leaving you with the assumption that we are a directory, which we are not. We do not know exactly what we are, yet. We think we are a search engine for stores - yes, there is a search bar but It might have not loaded due to Javascript being disabled in your browser? - with social and hyperlocal aspects, yet to manifest as we wish them to.

There are two components in our system: the store owners and the users. The store owners publish their stores blogger-style. Instead of spending a good amount of money (you're talking about stores here and not big companies) on a static website, we (Znood) empower them with a back office, a direct URL, SEO, social connectivity and the ability to appear on the map. Here are a couple little stores of ours http://znood.com/littleblackdress (check the map) http://znood.com/joeghazal (check video) and http://znood.com/joumana (check the number of likes)

While our user base has been growing rapidly, most of them do not land on our home page, as you might have guessed. Our traffic comes mostly from search engines, Facebook likes (for our stores), and direct visits to our stores’ urls.

The sign in, as you might have guessed by now, is for store owners and the broken links have been fixed in development and should be up in our very next release.

I would like to argue the necessity of a feed-like system in a social-oriented search engine for stores. People like you and I are pragmatic and straight to the point (or at least I assume so from your analysis). We know what we want, we search for it, and most of the time, buy it online. The market in Lebanon is different. Stores are places to visit. They are more for socialization than functionality. Think about the fun you and I would have had in the Greek agora... This is what Lebanese shoppers think of stores and malls. Lebanese shoppers love to know what’s new around them and this is basically why we have “the feed”. We are working on refining it to become more useful to our users (which we haven’t focused on yet). Our consumer-oriented design version will be out very, very soon. Our mobile web app has been out and in beta for the past 2 months and we have been getting awesome feedback (and design criticism as well, especially from @samer).

In any case, I would love to hear your opinion on Yelp.com ‘s design and how you would tweak it, if at all, for Lebanon (Feel free to private message me). It’s the most known hyperlocal web service in the states (valued at $5 billion).

Again, thank you for the constructive criticism. It's to our benefit!

Last edited by achkar (May 10 2012)


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