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Munir Badr launched his web presence specialist in 2005.
He was right in believing that his idea to offer.ae domain names registrar and hosting services to clients around the world was a good one. Today, his company serves over 20,000 customers globally. Badr, the CEO and founder of AEserver, says that their company has experienced a stronger growth in recent years. He says that the demand for the UAE's ccTLD,.ae (country code top-level), is increasing, and registrations will surpass 270,000 domains by March 2023. AEserver is ranked second among 23 registrars accredited by the registry.ae Domain Administration, which is a part of the UAE Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority. The increased registration volume indicates
A healthy business environment
"As many new companies are established and as existing businesses turn to digital technology to stay competitive and grow their business, the number of digital entities is increasing."
Badr and the AEserver Team are inspired by this success and have organized a new event enttield Domain Days that will gather industry professionals in Dubai to share their best practices, knowledge, and know-how. Badr says that the event is aimed at our community, and will bring together experts from around the globe to discuss the amazing opportunities surrounding domains.
The current business environment in the UAE for internet entrepreneurs is very different from 2005, when Badr was a student at The Westminster School, Dubai. He describes the situation as "poor connectivity, an expensive market, and no business experience." First, establishing a business name was difficult. He says that while today, the task is almost trivial and can be managed entirely online, with dozens of options, back then, it was a laborious and complex task that consumed a lot of time and energy. "But this was only the tip of the Iceberg. I wanted to sell digital products or intangibles, offering a complete online experience. It was innovative and unique in 2005." Badr also recalls that at the time there was a limited use of credit cards, and widespread usage of r
Reluctance to share personal information on the Internet
He explains: "It may sound like anecdotal evidence, but I remember a client who drove from Abu Dhabi to pay for a small bill in cash." "Things have improved over the years, thanks to the incredible digitalization acceleration imposed by the local authorities, as well as the introduction of various forms of online purchasing and the entry of Souq.com, now Amazon, which has revolutionized the e-commerce industry and how locals buy."
Badr continues that startup founders today have better access to resources, skilled workers and remote workers. They can therefore "set up their online presence in just a few hours." Badr also adds that "the COVID-19 pandemic has taught everyone valuable lessons about managing an organization. From where the workforce should be operating, delegation, automation, and collaboration." He explains: "As with any company that was launched in the past, AEserver has a central office where employees used to gather and support our customers 24 hours a day. We have moved away from the typical hierarchical structure in the last three year and adopted a more "unstructured" approach.
Flexibility and productivity are favored
"Initially, this was almost forced by the situation. Now it is part of our culture. Badr, who has been embracing remote working since the COVID19 outbreak, explains that it is more important to recruit the right talent than having them physically present in the office. Badr says that today, "everyone works remotely, even though office space is available." We have employees in the UAE, as well as those working abroad. This is an important part of our business, since it allows us to support customers on all continents.
Badr, when asked what other advice he would give to founders who are looking to grow their business, said that investing in technology to optimize business processes was a wise decision. "For instance, our phone system is always on the cloud," he explained. "During the COVID-19 lockdowns, we were able to continue our operations without any interruptions. Some large companies in the UAE could not be reached over voice because they were not ready to handle a hybrid situation.
Since the pandemic AEserver's growth has accelerated, not just in terms of the number of customers, but in terms of the services and markets that it covers. He says, "We became an accredited domain registrar for Bahrain's.bh extension in addition to Qatar's.qa."
Badr has ambitious plans for AEserver.com's future, and he believes that focusing on consistency as well as scalability is a key to achieving these goals. Badr says that as part of the unconditional commitment we have to our customers, providing after-sales service is vital in maximising each customer's lifetime value. This will spread a positive brand image via online reviews and through other channels, which will lead to new business. Business community in UAE and abroad is large but well-connected. Brand image is important because most entrepreneurs are connected by second or third degree connections.
Badr explains that scaling up the operations at AEserver is about identifying the best services and solutions for both new and existing customers. "Competitive pricing is only one factor in this area. But as consumers, we know that's just one piece of an elaborate puzzle." Our customers' trust is earned by
"An almost maniacal approach to quality in all its forms and manifestations." Badr, on the global front has observed a slowdown of the domain industry following the COVID-19 epidemic boom. Badr points out that Verisign (the registry operator of the.com and largest domain zone) has publicly stated their expectation for its domains managed in 2023 to increase between 0% and 2,5% year-overyear. However, it only grew by 0.2% during Q4 2022. "New units were sold at a lower rate in Q4 of 2022 than the same period in 2019. Volumes are important these days because of the rising costs of domains and hosting infrastructure. We make sure our growth rates and churn rate are controlled.
Badr says that he is most proud of the fact that AEserver was built without capital injections by investors. He says that the business is doing well and that a significant portion of profits are invested back into marketing, growth, processes and the organization. "However we are open to new partnerships and ideas to take the business to the top." We are approached by investors, venture capitalists and bankers. Funds and aggregators also approach us. AEserver has been in
a strong financial position
"I haven't even considered outside capital injections."
Badr is of the opinion that Dubai, and the UAE as a whole, are in a healthy growth stage, which will continue, he believes. In the last 18-months, the demographic boom in Dubai led to an increase of new businesses and entities being launched in the UAE, with most having a digital aspect, as was expected. "Setting up business in the UAE can be very easy. You get many perks, such as tax-free life, global business ease, and access world-class infrastructure. I think that the UAE will continue to be a leader in the world of business and living, and that this will lead to the growth of the land market.
Why Gen Z needs a financial education
AEserver.com's founder Munir Bádr shares his tips on how to run a successful online business
BE CURIOUS AND FORCE YOUSELF OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. "Leverage local resources, the vibrant ecosystem of people, events and shows that are regularly scheduled all year round. The UAE is a hub for major events around the world. "EXPANDING YOUR NETWORK ONLINE AND OFFLINE" As the old saying says, "Your network is worth your networth", we all understand the importance of positive feedback and customer reviews. It is possible to use your knowledge in a way that will accelerate the growth of your business and enhance the experience you offer to existing and new clients. "BE LOCAL and INTERNATIONAL at the same time" Dubai has been historically a trading center, connecting multiple areas. This is still true, especially when you consider the opportunities offered by the Internet and being online. You can also test different business ideas by focusing on other nationalities or industries in the UAE. This will make your global expansion much easier. "INVEST IN YOUR SOCIAL IMAGE" Today's business world requires that its management and founders are visible and accessible via social media platforms. It is crucial for trust and transparency, especially in online businesses. To stay ahead of your competition, you must keep up with the social media following. Post regular updates on the company's activities, results, and achievements.
Don't rest on your laurels. "Technologies are changing at a rapid pace, and there is always the possibility of disruptions or newcomers. To be vigilant and aware of emerging trends, you need to invest, experiment, and take risks.