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There is limited interaction between a man and a woman.” Some et3arraf features that preserve this “cultural constraint” include anonymous profiles and withheld contact information, restricting users to messaging only their matches, and “progressive intimacy sharing,” in which a user’s photo is blurred until they choose to share it.
The founders say the site’s success is based on the “fact that we respect the privacy in the beginning.” Active for nine months, et3arraf has already spawned a few marriages.
Calling it a “good problem,” Maalouf is waiting for his lawyers to weigh in, but thinks he’d prefer angel to VC financing: “We still decide everything about the site and I am not sure if I want to share it with someone yet.” Et3arraf lays claim to being the first Middle Eastern dating platform, “for Arabs, by Arabs, in Arabic.” “We think we are successful in countries where cultural constraints make it difficult for singles from opposite gender to meet,” say Maalouf and his co-founder Rakan Nimer.
The idea for et3arraf was borne from a heartbreak Maalouf suffered in France.
It’s a recipe they say results in more successful marriages.
“I came back to Lebanon and I had the idea that it is really important to find someone that is close to your values, your principles and what you stand for,” he explains.“I realized that there was nothing like this for Lebanon or the region.