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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.
With a small marketing budget, the site soft-launched on Valentines Day 2013 with a goal to win 15,000 registered users. Without any advertising since April, et3arraf’s user-base has grown to 56,000.
Promoting successful marriages might sound lofty, but in conservative countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia, young singles are challenged to find a mate.
“There is no concept of dating in the Arab world,” says CTO Nimer.
Based on an “affinity matchmaking quiz,” et3arraf recommends up to 40 matches, 10 of whom are active on the site at the same time and 30 of whom are considered to be the most compatible.
“ He and Nimer met at a tech mixer, and agreed that marriage websites were an untapped market in the Arab world.Instead his site deals with, “the real problems that they are having-—liberalism, conservatism, religion, responsibility in the couple, kids.” The quiz uses psychology to determine suitable matches based on questions about social attributes, individual attributes, couple attributes, and personal attributes, as opposed to the kind of person users might think they want.“We use the psychology behind your answers to figure out what the best match for you really is,” says Maalouf. “Unfortunately in the region, religion is very important.” In conservative Arab countries, one of the main ways to meet someone is through your family—maybe your mom introduces you to someone.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.