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Country Snapshot: Egypt

Marc Jarrett
When I first started researching the Internet characteristics of Egypt at the excellent resource site www.internetworldstats.com, I automatically went to the section headed "Middle East" expecting to find it listed there, but I could not find it. Instead, it was listed under Africa. You live, you learn.

Egypt has roughly the same population as Germany, at just over 81 million people, of which about 10 percent have access to the Internet at this time.

Of all the world's countries, we used to enjoy the highest Alexa ranking in Egypt, due largely to the fact that credit card penetration remains negligible there, at approximately three percent of the population.

Upon after having just rechecked our status, however, it would appear that the Czech Republic (278), Slovakia (535) and Thailand (1,135) have overtaken Egypt (2,521) in said rankings at this time.

As with most of the countries in this region, cash remains a popular method of payment and the use of credit cards and other forms of electronic payment is limited.

Clearly, since cash is wholly unsuitable for paying for services over the web, the telephone is the next best thing; with Egypt enjoying coverage rates of well above 90 percent.

Cell phone technology has enabled countries such as Egypt to bypass the messy infrastructure and expensive start-up costs of setting up fixed-line systems. As a result, wireless technology is reaching isolated rural areas where fixed lines were never able to penetrate.

Thanks to our new voice dialer, surfers from there are now in a position to pay you on a per-minute basis. This should be deployed in tandem with our PbP "classic" product, so that you can continue to make money from those surfers that still use dial-up to access the Internet and do not have the luxury of broadband or a second phone line.

Another point worth noting is that gay traffic seems to convert particularly well from there. We attribute this to the fact that homosexuality cannot be freely expressed there, so gays have little choice other than to go online to satiate their carnal desires.

Finally, when pitching to Egyptians, remember to communicate with them in their own native language of Arabic. Your phone processor should be able to provide you with all the tools necessary to do this — if not, you should consider changing to one that does.

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