Akhbarak.net is a news aggregator that consolidates news from many sources and automatically clusters them and presents them to the user in a relevant manner. The website was founded and first built by Osman Ahmed Osman in 2003 using old PHP technology.
2. Client Requirements
The client contacted eSpace in 2010 because the website was experiencing maintainability issues and could not add new functionalities easily. Also, the quality of algorithms needed improvements.
3. The Challenges
eSpace was required to build a highly scalable, modular news aggregator with the latest state-of-the art technologies. Akhbarak.net wanted to position itself as the top ranked news aggregator in Egypt and the Middle East, and this was an enormous challenge.
4. The Solutions
After 6 months of active development, eSpace released the first version of Akhbarak 2.0 in March 2011. The release was introduced gradually as we maintained both versions and conducted A/B testing techniques between the old and new versions until it was clear that the new version was picking up higher traffic and that users were favoring it over the older version. At that point, the older version was shut down.
5. The Outcome
Akhbarak.net is able to crawl more than 100 Arabic news websites easily. It functions by grabbing the details of the articles and then applies data mining techniques to cluster articles covering the same news stories. The ranking engine then ranks articles to make the most important and relevant news easily accessible to its users.
This would not have been possible without the introduction of the latest high-end technologies, and they are an important part of the reason for why Akhbarak.net is the top news aggregator in the region. eSpace continued working on maintaining and developing new functionalities in Akhbarak.net for almost 2 years until it was acquired by Sarmady, a company owned by Vodafone Egypt, in January 2013. Akhbarak.net gets around 600,000 visits and more than 1.5 million page views per day.