Portal Engine

Ikub.al platform is a Business Content Management System (Business CMS).

In addition to standard CMS features, it has built-in features that help a business manage better a portal and also to make profit. Some of the main features, to be described below in more details, include:

  1. Sponsored / preferred / selected articles, which represent different ways to make an article more visible than others. Both, the user posting an article and the moderator, have the option to use such features by payment.

  2. Processing of payments using cash, scratch cards, credit / debit cards, or PayPal. Every user has his own balance in the portal account/profile.

  3. Banner management through a dedicated admin section (including clicks, impressions, etc).

  4. Reporting and email notifications in several levels which help to monitor the whole content going to the portal.

  5. Possibility to send portal information by SMS messages from the system (through SMPP protocol / Internet SMS Gateways integration)

  6. etc

At the core of the system, there are three very important concepts:

  1. Articles: Any kind of information which is entered into the portal is called an article. It is the main building block of the portal. At the very basic level, an article includes a title, a short description, content (formatted text, photos, videos and attachments), a list of tags (keywords), and the category where it belongs. Depending on the category and on different configuration choices, many more options become available, such as associating an article with other articles, associating an article with many categories, structured fields for information which are category-specific, possibility to select the location on a map, etc.

  2. Categories: information in the portal is organized in several categories through a concept which we call multi-dimensional hierarchy. While a one-dimensional hierarchy is a multi-level categorization of articles, a multi-dimensional hierarchy offers multiple categorizations, where each one can be in organized in multiple levels. Let’s take as an example the organization of schools in a country. In such case, one categorization of schools could be the administrative divisions of the country, which are typically organized in 2-3 levels. Another categorization of schools could be the school level, which is typically in one level only. Another categorization could be based in the discipline, which can have several levels. By combining all these categorizations we could have a multi-dimensional hierarchy. The organization of information in such hierarchy allows us to organize any kind of information very efficiently. Many other details about what kind of information belongs to one category are specified at the category level. Some of the important details include:

    • Which categories are “associated” with the current category?

    • How much does it cost to have articles of that category sponsored / preferred / selected?

    • Which other details can be specified for an article in this category?

    • For an article, can the user select a location on a map or not?

    • Etc.

  3. Sub-portals: A sub-portal is based on a specific category (for example: real estate or cars or jobs) and has articles for all sub-categories of that category. When creating a sub-portal, it is very easy to get all the necessary information and organize it in a page along with banners, polls, quizzes and other built-in options

 

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Customized data entry form depending on category (templates)

Since the system is designed to handle almost any kind of article, it is very important to organize these articles the best way possible. For this reason, the information that a user can include in an article depends on the selected category (the user first selects the category and then can post an article). This customization includes:

  1. Associated categories which user can select. For example, when posting a notice for selling a car, the user can also select air-conditioning type (from the categorization of conditioning types), fuel type (from the categorization of fuel types), etc

  2. Templates which determine other structured fields a user could fill-in. A template may have any number of structured fields of different types, such as text, number, date, dropdown list, yes/no, etc. In the case of a notice for selling a car, the template include fields for engine size (number), Km (number), price (number), top speed (number), airbag (yes/no), etc.

  3. Other options which could be enabled or disabled at category level, such as an expiration date, location on the map, attachments, etc.

There are still some general characteristics that can be used to complete an article:

  1. Link to a business profile which allows articles of a business to get associated with its profile.

  2. Expiration date allows the article to expire on a specific date. After that date the article is not public anymore. It’s possible although to refresh a article with a simple action-button, after it has expired. The refresh technique allows the users to refresh the article for a specific time period in the future, publishing the article again from scratch.

  3. Every article can be associated with an Image Gallery.

An article can be customized to be redirected to another link in the portal or outside the portal, by specifying the exact URL.

Customized display for articles

In addition to customizing the data entry form depending on the category, it is also possible to customize how the article will be displayed. At the category level, there are several options which specify features that could be enabled or disabled when articles of that category are displayed. For example, possibility to contact the user who posted the article, possibility to view the location on a map, etc. For a more detailed customization, a user control can be created which specifies all details on how the article will be displayed. Then, the selected category is configured to use this user control for all articles inside that category.

 

In addition, it is possible to create a user control that customizes how the article is displayed when the user is browsing the category. In the same way as above, the category is configured to use this user control while browsing.


Another feature is the possibility to have several templates for an article, from which the user can select one. For example, in case of a business profile, the category may be configured with three possible templates (three different user controls) and the user can select the one he likes best.

 

Sponsored, preferred, rotated articles

One of the important business concepts in the portal is the ability to have specific articles more visible / evident than others. There are many options to achieve this:

  1. Sponsored articles: At each sub-portal, there is a more visible / evident section in the homepage where sponsored articles are displayed. In addition, the sponsored articles are usually displayed when reading an article from that sub-portal. An article can become sponsored by the user who posts that article (if the user has enough credits) or by the moderator. The necessary credits depend on the category of the article and on the period for which that article will be sponsored.

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  2. Preferred articles: The user typically finds in the portal the information he needs by searching for specific keywords or by browsing through the list of categories. Preferred articles are a way to have one article ranked preferentially before others when the user searches / browses in the portal. As for sponsored articles, the user posting the article or the moderator can make an article preferred. Also the number of credits necessary depend on the category, the period to be preferred, and the type of template to be used (there are three type of templates).4

  3. Selected articles: A third way to have articles more visible / evident is to show an article at the bottom of another article of a specific subportal. Similar to sponsored and preferred articles, the user or the moderator can make an article selected and the credits necessary depend on the category and period.5

 

Interactivity

The portal has implemented several interactive features, so the users can be active and “interact” with the information published in the portal. These features include:

  1. Comments: users can make comments for any article in the portal. The system has a built-in anti-spam support through captcha mechanism.

  2. Votes: users can vote up/down an article as well as the comments of that article. Articles with most votes can be shown in specific sections of sub-portals.

  3. Sharing: There is built-in support to share articles in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. Also articles can be “liked” for Facebook and “+1ed” for Google+.

  4. Send to friends: users can send a link of a specific article to friends email addresses.

  5. Question and answers: If a category allows questions and answers, users can post a question and other users can answer. Each answer can be voted up/down, so the best answer gets more votes and is ranked at top of the list. The user who asked the question has the possibility to mark an answer as correct, so other users can later find easily the correct answer.

  6. Friends and groups: Similar to other social networks, users can create a list of friends in the portal, as well as create a group of friends, or become a member of an existing one.

  7. Mark as favorite: Users can mark an article as favorite and read it whenever he likes, after finding the article in his favorites list. Also tags (keywords) can be marked as favorite and read every article that has the specific keywords.

  8. Subscriptions: Users can subscribe for each category in the portal, so he can receive email notifications or newsletters about new articles in the category.

  9. Reward points: users can earn points from different configurable actions in the portal (ex. replying on comments, answering polls, posting articles, etc.). These points can than be used in a system for reward points, to earn bonuses in e-commerce platforms of the portal.

Additionally, an advanced collaborative system is implemented around the concept of titles. The system has a predefined list of titles that can be earned by users when performing different activities in the portal. For example, if a user has posted an article that gets more than 100 comments, he may earn a title “Nice article”. Also the system can award credits for specific activities, for example for each 1,000 visits an article gets, the user can earn 2 credits. By earning titles and credits, a user can get more rights in the portal, for example he may be able to edit other user's comments. This system encourages users to actively participate in the portal to earn more titles / credits and compete with other users. Such collaborative system is also used to control access to admin section of the portal, explained in more details later.

 

Payments and credits management

In order to perform certain activities in the portal, such as making an article sponsored or buying a service (like coupons for services on sale) the user needs credits. Credits can be earned by actively participating in the portal, but can also be bought. Users could buy credits by using the following methods:

  1. Paying by PayPal: The user can select the number of credits to buy, make the payment through PayPal, and the corresponding number of credits will be added automatically to his account.

  2. Paying in cash/bank: When a payment is made in cash or bank transfer, the moderator adds the corresponding number of credits to the user’s account.

  3. Paying by Credit Card: The user can select the number of credits to buy, make the payment through Credit Card, and the corresponding number of credits will be added automatically to his account.

  4. Paying using scratch cards: A system to generate, prepare and print scratch cards is implemented in the portal. A user can buy a scratch card and use the hidden number to add credits to his account.

 

Users, roles and permissions

As explained above, the concept of titles is an important one. These titles are used also to control access to specific areas of the admin site or specific features. To make it easier, the concept of “action” is used. A list of predefined actions is specified in the portal, but the list can be easily extended. When an action is defined, the moderator also specifies the title which is required and the number of credits the user must have, in order to perform that action. Then, a feature that needs to be protected will ask the system if the current user is allowed to perform that action and the system will check both the title and the credits. By defining titles that cannot be earned by normal portal users, but only assigned to specific users, it is easily possible to control who has access to specific features. Three important predefined actions are:

  1. Moderation: Features needed for managing day-to-day activities of the portal are protected by this action.

  2. Management: Managerial features, such as statistics, reports, etc are protected by this action.

  3. Administration: The core features that define the most important aspects of the portal are protected by this action.

 

Profile

Although it is possible to be involved in the portal (for example to post an article or leave a comment) without creating an account, by creating one a lot more functionalities become available. To create an account, a user can register in the portal (http://www.ikub.al/userprofiles/createAccountnew.aspx), but also can use an existing Facebook account so he does not need to go through another registration form.

 

Once registered, the user has a profile page where he can manage everything related with the portal. Here are the main aspects of the user profile:

  1. Profile details where the user can modify the profile information and change his password.

  2. Activities section which includes all articles published by the user, favorite articles (users can maintain a list of favorite articles to keep track of interesting / useful articles), lists of articles, credits management, etc. User can sponsorize articles if he has enough credits and is allowed to do so.

  3. Configuration section to allow user to change settings, such as when will he receive email notifications or how to delete his account. He can manage the newsletters lists where he’s registered by editing or deleting them.

  4. Sub-portal workspaces where the user can manage details of the specific sub-portal.

  5. Buy coupons for on-sale offers in the portal

In addition, each user has a public page where other users can see some of the information from his profile. How much other users can see depend on the settings of the user and on other facts, such as if they are friends with each other.

‘My page’ is a simple way to show every important information and fresh informations of the user and personal preferences, such as coupons he has bought, horoscope of his own sign, etc.

Group management

Users of the portal can create groups and / or participate in others group. The purpose is to make it possible to share information (articles) only within the group. There are three kinds of groups:

  1. Public – everyone can join the group without approval.

  2. With Approval – someone that wants to join the group, should ask approval and the group owner can approve or deny the request.

  3. With Invitation – no one can apply for membership. Only the owner can invite other people to join.

When publishing an article, one of the advanced options it to select the group which will have access to the article. Only members of that group will be able to view the article content.

Friends

Similar to other social networks, each user can have a list of friends. Friends can exchange messages with each other and also share information (articles). When posting an article, one of the advanced options is to allow only friends to view that article.

Article lists

For users that publish a lot of information, there is a possibility to group related articles in a list. This is useful for a better management of articles, but also to allow interested users to subscribe to the list and get notified when a new article in the list is published.

 

MODULES

On top of the core features the system includes a number of modules which extend the portal functionalities. Modules are reusable components that can be used across all sub-portals, in difference from sub-portal specific features that are explained later.

Indexing and searching

Good search results are a must-feature for wide commercial portals. For this reason, we have invested to create a custom indexing and searching platform that would give the best possible results. As a starting point, we have based our solution to one of the best open source search platforms “Apache Nutch”. On top of Apache Nutch, we have developed several plug-ins to improve crawling and indexing of content in Albanian language. We call this platform “xhindi” (genie) and it is able to successfully crawl and index Albanian websites.
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Specific to the ikub.al platform, we have developed two other plug-ins to get better results for ikub.al articles. One of the plug-ins monitors the ikub.al RSS feeds and crawls/indexes new articles as soon as they are published. The other plug-in implements a “sponsored results” section, similar to Google. All paid articles are included in this index and when searching for content which are part of these paid articles, they show in front of other results.

 

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Built-in search
There is also a built-in search based on article keywords and the value of each keyword on a specific article. Articles that have a higher value (sum of the keywords) is ranked above the other articles. This logic is also combined with sponsored articles, which rank above the search results. In addition to the keyword searching, it is possible to filter your search in a specific category and on specific periods of time (today, this week, this month, anytime).

 

Banners

Banners are one of the most important commercial aspects of a web portal. Our solution for banner management is fully automatic and keeps track of banner types, positions, clicks, impressions, etc. Banners management module is as follows:

  1. All pages where banner can be displayed are configured in the system.

  2. Every portal page has banners positions configured.

  3. When a new banner is placed in a specific position of a specific page, it is configured in the system, and it keeps track of banner clicks/impressions. For each banner position, there is a configured banner with every details needed, like image, period, etc. Each banner may have many elements, which are configured to show by percentage. The element with bigger percentage value, has a higher probability to show on that position. Banners can be image, flash, or script files. There are different kind of banners, like static, transition banners, fixed, pop up banners, etc, which have also other configurations like Cookies.

  4. Banners are displayed also in a timeline that show every position throughout the months.

  5. System generates email notifications for banners positions that are close to the end, so the moderators can take precautions.

  6. For each banner we can measure impressions, clicks, IP, referrer URL and portal where the click was generated. Several reports can show banner performance through indicators as CPM, CTR, CPC. Another useful report is ‘intrusion’ of the banners, which shows the level of intrusion to the user experience in the portal. Several reports with graphs are included where the moderator can see the number of clicks / impressions of specific banner(s) positions/pages, as below:

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Homepage management

For each portal the homepage is the most important page, so it is crucial to be able to have a good system to handle it. We have developed a flexible module to easily manage the homepage as well as other important pages, such as News, Events, Notices sub-portals. Portal administrator can very easily change the sections of the homepage, as well as manage the content. Regarding the structure, the homepage (and other similar pages) is split into several sections which can be managed from the admin site. On the other side, many controls are developed to show a list of articles in different ways (simple list, with big pictures, small pictures, as a gallery, etc). Then, from the admin site, the moderator can define what controls will go into each section and very easily change it. Regarding the content, there is a specific page in the admin site that allows the moderator to manage all articles in the homepage. In addition, for each article there is a moderator command to add that article to the homepage.


Clicks of every article in the homepage are tracked and different statistics are possible at the level of a page, section, or article. For example, below are clicks for each section of the homepage in a selected period.

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Content management

Managing the content of a wide portal is not an easy task. It requires a dedicated group of people, as well as specific tools to make it as easy as possible. We have developed a module to help in this process. At the core of the module there is a control to enable keeping track of all the content which goes into the portal, either from the internal content team or from outside users of the portal.

 

At the basic level, it is possible to specify for each team member a schedule with the number of articles that should go in each category, each day of the week. By comparing the real numbers with the schedule, it is possible to get a report of how each member is performing. However this concept is extended to keep track of different types of articles (those that require translation, copy/paste, etc) and also to calculate an estimated value for the amount of time required. This is useful when analyzing the performance of each member and also to compare them against each other.

 

It is possible to mark a category so that people cannot post directly in the portal. This articles are posted in the system at a specific general category, which is monitored by a moderator. Moderator can publish, categorize, edit or delete the article, after he reviews it.

 

Based on this information, daily and weekly reports are automatically generated and emailed to the manager.


The notifications system is also able to send email notifications like when the article expires, is re-activated, finished the sponsored period, etc. Many chronological reports are built for every article activity.

 

Notifications system

To help users stay updated with what goes on at the portal, a powerful notifications system is implemented. There are more than 30 actions that will trigger an email notification to the interested users, such as when someone is leaving a comment to an article, or the user has posted or has voted up/down the article. Each user has the ability to turn on/off any of the notifications as shown below:

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Subscriptions system

To stay updated with the articles posted on some category or for articles which have a specific tag (keyword), any user can create a subscription to that category or tag. When creating a subscription, a user can specify to be notified via email or SMS and can also select the time and interval when to receive the email or SMS. Email subscriptions are free, while for SMS subscriptions the user will need credits.

Users can subscribe also for a subportal daily/weekly newsletter (no login required) and/or a specific category or subcategory of a portal. Subscription can all be managed at user profile page, under Subscriptions tab.     

Additionally, it is possible for the developers to create custom subscriptions in specific sub-portals and integrate them in this module. A custom subscription is useful when the content of email/SMS needs to be formatted depending on the data of that sub-portal and, and also when the criteria for which the user wants to subscribe is more advanced than based on category or tag.

A log of all subscriptions and of the emails/SMS being sent is also kept and can be viewed by the administrator.


Polls & Quizzes

Polls are a useful feature of the portal to make users participate actively in the portal. The polls module helps to easily create and manage polls. A poll can be included in a homepage section, can be used in a sub-portal, or can be associated with a specific article. It is possible to have both single-choice and multi-choice polls.

Homepage or sub-portal polls can be created and managed only by the moderator, while article specific polls can be created by any user posting an article in the portal.

Similarly to polls, quizzes are another feature to encourage users participate in the portal. Quizzes are very similar with polls and can also be included in a section of the homepage, in a sub-portal, or in a specific article. Additionally, it is possible to create a group of quizzes, so when a user answers a question he moves to the next one, until he reaches the end of the group.

Developers can also use the quizzes module in specific sub-portals as a tool to evaluate users. For example the jobs subportal uses this module to associate a questionnaire (basically a quiz group) with a job offer, so that the applicants have to answer the questions before completing the application process. Then, to select the best candidates the applications can be sorted based on the score they receive in the questionnaire.


Statistics

Several modules that we have mentioned include some statistical reports (such as for banners and homepage). However the statistics module keeps track of some other kind of informations:

  • User statistics – keeps track of user activities and generate reports for number of articles posted by users, number of comments, votes, subscriptions, etc. Also, it includes reports for new users registered in the portal.

  • Article statistics – keeps track of article visits, comments, votes, etc. It is easily possible to view most clicked / voted / commented articles.

  • Subscriptions statistics – gathers statistics about number and type of subscriptions created each day.

  • Notification statistics – gathers statistics about the number of notifications sent each day by the system.

  • Staff statistics - gathers statistics about people working with contenta and their performance in the portal

  • Polls statistics - data about every poll created in portal

  • Sub-portal statistics, for example:

    • statistics about job applications in the jobs sub-portal

    • statistics about the tag.al sub-portal, like sold coupons and new clients

 

Newspaper generation

In order to be able to reach users who are not frequent users of Internet, the ikub.al platform includes a system which automatically prepares a newspaper with the portal information. This system is based on the concept of a template that is automatically filled with information from the portal. When the template is first created, a list of sections is defined and for each section that category that will be used to get the information being selected. Depending on the type of that category, a template is prepared to show the information of that category in an appropriate way.

Based on the main template and on the template of each section, the system uses advanced PDF functionalities to automatically prepare the newsletter for print. We have estimated that the system is able to automate about 90+ percent of the work needed to prepare a newspaper.

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Book generation

The business directory of the portal is an excellent source for the information of a “Yellow pages” book. For this reason, we have developed a system that automatically prepares a “Yellow pages” book for print, based on the information in the business directory. The core concepts of the book are:

  • Organization of the businesses in a hierarchical category.

  • Possibility of different templates for businesses (for example based on how much they pay).

  • Automatic creation of a tag list based on the tags selected by the businesses.

  • Possibility to generate a map with the business locations in it and indexing by regions.

  • Possibility to automate the different type of banners that will be included in the book.

Similar with the newspaper generation, the system uses advanced PDF functionalities to automatically prepare the book for print and we estimate that 80-90% of the work is automated.

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Newsletters and SMS service

Newsletters service is a built-in functionality offering businesses a possibility to send email advertising campaigns to the portal users or a list of emails. This service may be automatic or manual. At the end of campaign, a report can be generated (failed, bounced, views, clicks, unsubscribed emails).

Portal engine offers a service to send Bulk SMS campaigns to a list of cellular numbers. In order to initiate the campaign, you need to specify: sender name, text of the SMS, date and time, list of the numbers. The SMS is scheduled and is sent on the specified time.

A detailed report is generated for every campaign.

Short codes

When an internet connection is not possible, SMS is the next best thing to stay tuned. We have implemented a short codes module that makes it possible to get information from the portal through the use of short codes. Currently, in the portal there are many services implemented, such as explained below, and it is easy to add new ones.

  • Horoscope subscription – get the daily horoscope.

  • Category subscription – get any new article posted in a specific category.

  • News subscription – get latest news from the time.al news aggregator.

  • Exchange rate – get the daily exchange rate for the major currencies.

  • Post article – send an article to be published in the portal.

  • Cinema schedule – get the schedule and price of major cinemas.

  • Paid articles – make an article sponsored / preferred by sending a SMS.

Discount – get discount coupon for offers allowing the use of coupons.

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RSS feeds

The system has built-in feeds to get any information a user is interested. Three main types of feeds are listed below:

  1. RSS feed for any category of the multi-dimensional hierarchy of articles. For example, it is possible to get a RSS feed for all notices of BMW cars that also are categorized with petrol fuel. The feed would be
    http://www.ikub.al/Rss.aspx?node=9E26CDB8-DBA6-4504-8BB6-29F0753BE179~93ACF536-75F2-447F-B49C-3A601CF8B94A

  2. RSS feed for any tag (keyword). For example a user may subscribe to get any article that has “party” as a tag. The feed would be http://www.ikub.al/Rss.aspx?tag=party

  3. RSS feed for articles posted by a specific user. For example to get all articles posted by the user “bosi”, the link would be
    http://www.ikub.al/Rss.aspx?userid=CFB1C287-6721-4A95-BFCA-43A1BA8B381E

 

Sub-portal specific features

Business management

The concept of a business is very important in a Business CMS. Any user can register the details of a business in the portal and can use that business to manage all business-related activities in the portal. Every business may point its map location, which leads him to be found on every search on the portal’s map. On the other hand, listing of all registered businesses makes up the business directory, where interested users can look up within a category, search by name, or location.


After registering the business profile, for each information published in the portal (offers, job listing, notices, etc.), the owner of the business can specify that such information belongs to the business. This relation has two effects:

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  1. For all articles related to the business, the name of the business along with contact details is displayed clearly visible at the top of the article.

  2. At the business profile page, all articles related with this business are displayed, so that any user who visits the business profile, can also see all offers, job listings, and other information related to that business.

Businesses profile is also integrated to show MarketKonekt products of that business.

The profile page of the user includes a “Business” workspace, which portal provides to easily manage businesses and their offers.

 

Financial information

One of the developed sub-portals is “Finance”. The main features are:

  1. Get the exchange rates of the main currencies from the banks in Albania, as well as the rates from the “Bank of Albania” and from European Central Bank.

  2. View a graph showing the history of the exchange rates for up to 4 months.

  3. View the LIBOR/EURIBOR rates.

  4. Loan calculator tool

  5. Exchange calculator tool (by choosing also which bank rates to apply)

  6. Pay and taxes calculator tool (based on Net value and Albanian laws)

A back-end system is developed to allow the moderator to enter the above information, as well as when possible to get it from official sites (for example ECB rates) via RSS feeds.


Job management

The jobs sub-portal is not limited to publishing of job notices, but it is a full system which allows the Employer to manage the complete application process and also allows the job-seekers to manage their CVs and their applications.

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The employer workspace has the following features:

  • Register/manage the business (es) (integrated with businesses sub-portal).

  • Publish a job listing for any of the registered businesses. As part of the notice, a questionnaire can be attached. The applicants will be required to answer the questionnaire when applying for the job.

  • Manage the questionnaires (useful for recruiting companies)

  • Manage/review the applicants for each offer. It includes the ability to send messages and get answers from the applicant, as well as options to rank applicants and make comments on them. Questionnaire results are part of the ranking.

  • Create subscriptions for applicants (CVs) who meet specific criteria (also useful for recruiting companies).

  • Search/browse for public applicants (CVs) and keep a list of favorite applicants.

  • Notifications by email when somebody applies for the job offer

The jobseeker workspace has the following features:

  • Registering their CVs in the system and have them private or public. It is possible to register several CVs (e.g. one for each language).

  • Apply for jobs and manage the applications process by attaching the CV or creating a built-in CV in the portal

  • Create subscriptions for offers that meet specific criteria.

  • Search/browse for offers and keep a list of favorite offers

  • Notifications by email when a new job is posted under the desired profession

 

Gis.al

As GIS/Map applications have become mainstream products (Google Map, Live Map, etc), map integration was one of the things we had in focus when developing the portal. As a result, for every article in the portal, it is possible to associate GIS data. At the first level, this depends on the category. If the category is configured to allow GIS data, the system will allow the user to specify a point, a line, or a polygon in the map when posting an article (e.g. when posting an apartment for sale). This information will be displayed along with the other article information.

On the other side, all GIS information is stored under the gis.al portal where it is organized into a category hierarchy (the system has an automatic mapping from the ikub.al categories to the gis.al categories). Here the user is able to:

  • Search for information in the map based on the category or a text and a map area specified as a circle or as a polygon.

  • Post a point/polyline/polygon in a specific category of gis.al.

  • Post GIS information using a standardized KML file.

  • Leave comments and vote up/down any information in the map.

  • Manage all GIS information in a separate workspace.

  • Download the results of search in KML format (with credits).

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Prediction game

For gaming (football) enthusiasts we have developed a prediction game, so the users can play and compete with each other. The aim of the game is to correctly predict the outcome of the football games and can be used for any tournament. Each user will enter his prediction and will earn points if he correctly predicts the score or finds the correct winner. The moderator will specify how many points are earned for the correct score and how many for the correct winner. Additionally there are bonus points for correct prediction:

  • The winner of the tournament

  • The finalists of the tournament

  • The best goal scorer

Also, the system provides several rankings (and several winners):

  • User with most points earned

  • User with most points earned in the qualification phase (or first phase)

  • User with most points earned in the final phase

  • User with the best average points/game (for users that have predicted at least half of the games)

By offering some prizes for the winners, it has proved to be very popular, especially for World and European Championships.

 

Online reservation

For hotels and/or travel agencies we have developed an online reservations system. The first step for the hotel/travel agency is to register them as a business in the business sub-portal. After this, whenever they post an offer in the hotels/tourism sub-portals, they have an option to allow online reservations. The typical workflow is:

  • The manager of the hotel/travel agency will post an offer that allows online reservation.

  • The visitor will apply online for the reservation and will specify details (dates, number of rooms/people, etc., depending on the type of the offer).

  • The manager will be notified (via email) that a new request for reservation is made.

  • Depending on their policy, they may ask the visitor to make an up-front payment (outside the system, but can easily be integrated).

  • Once the payment is made (when required), the manager will approve the reservation.

  • The visitor is notified (via email) that the reservation is confirmed.

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Tag.al

Tag.al is a marketing platform integrated within ikub.al. Businesses can advertise their offers and sell discount coupons for products and services. Businesses can reach their clients through different advertising channels. Clients choose offers to buy a discount coupon. The basic flow of the system is as follows:

 

  • A business registers in the platform (after registering the business details in the business directory) and choose a tag to identify itself.

  • An offer is published with discount coupons for a product or service and the details like: original price, discounted price, available coupons number, map location, description, etc.

  • Clients can buy the coupons (by cash, credit card, bank transfer) and use it near the business address to gather the discount. A chat functionality is also implemented, where users can ask questions about the offers details.

  • Clients register to get notified for specific offers category or all of them, via web, email, SMS. Subscriptions can be managed in a specific section.

  • Clients can view all the reserved or paid coupons and print the coupons.

For portal managers, there are many built-in reports for sold coupons, earned commissions, etc. In promotional periods, there is a promo-code functionality implemented, which can be used for a specific offer, category, or every offer.

 

Time.al

Time.al is a news aggregation platform for Albanian news. It automatically retrieves and analyses news from more than 70 Albanian news sites every 10 minutes. Then an algorithm groups similar news together to form a cluster with related news.

This makes it possible for the reader to find all the important news in one place and also read the same news according to different points of view.

Users can also read news by chronological order, or filter them by source, date or cluster. Depending on the location of the user, site automatically selects to show the news for Albania, Macedonia or Kosovo.

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Thematic information sub-portals

Evente.al - a subportal for advertising every events happening around in the coming week, month or year. Events are categorized in arts, sports, movies, business, etc. Users can filter events for a specific date in the calendar and subscribe for events to get them directly on their email. Events are displayed also in the map, to show the exact location of the event venue.

 

Notices - articles about cars on sale, real estate on sale/rent, job offers, etc). Users can post for free any notice and get notified about new notices via email, by subscribing to the interested category. There is also a built-in management tool for portal moderators, which helps make the daily work easier and get notified within few minutes the notice publishers.

 

Femrat.al (information portal for women) is dedicated to women and every information regarding them, like Fashion, Beauty, Motherhood and pregnancy, Weddings, Home interior and decor, Fitness and diets, etc.


Similar to this, the engine supports creating any kind of thematic subportal, like: Gjeniu (articles on how to do/make something), Gossip (articles about VIP and celebrities), Schools (articles about every school level), etc.