A 52-year-old divorced mother who is tired of being cheated on dates has launched an anti-catfishing app to make dating safer.
10-year-old single Dorisa Soudi moved from Dubai to central London in 2018, where she currently lives – and the mother, whose daughters Dalia, 23, and Tala, 19, are both full-time students, dabbled in online dating and socializing with friends in the bustling downtown.
But while Dorisa’s dates turned out to be duds, with men disrespecting their dating profile pictures, Dorisa was horrified when her daughters revealed the concept of catfishing: when someone pretends to be someone else online.
Fueled by a desire to create a safe dating space for herself and her daughters, Dorisa created a video dating app, ZiP, making catfishing nearly impossible.
“Almost every date I looked different from their picture,” Dorisa said.
“Being a woman and having two daughters in their twenties, I’m always worried, always worried.”
She added: “My desire to protect them and their peers, coupled with the fact that others were having similar issues online, meant I knew we needed a solution.”
Divorced in 2012, it wasn’t until Dorisa moved from Dubai to central London in 2018 that she felt liberated and took up online dating.
“The diversity and freedom of being a single woman coming from the Middle East was very liberating,” she said.
She added: “Everyone was very open about dating apps and I loved it.”
But when most of Dorisa’s dates didn’t look like their profile pictures, the mom was turned off for good.
“When I met my dates, I was like, thank goodness none of these gentlemen look like their pictures — not one,” she said.
She added: “I would politely say your photos don’t look like you in person and then they would jokingly say it was a photo from five years ago.
“I was never rude, I always told the truth that I didn’t feel we had a connection.
“I just didn’t want to date anyone anymore because I didn’t want to waste my time.”
She added, “Anyone would be surprised if I used my photos, but I soon realized that everyone was using filters and even fake profiles to improve their online appearance.”
However, Dorisa’s daughters were quick to explain the dark side of dating.
“My girls explained it was a really big thing called catfishing,” she said.
She added: “This is where people use fake pictures on dating profiles. But I discovered it wasn’t just about fake photos – people were using filters and old photos to look different.
“I think the lockdown has made people think more about fake accounts, the Netflix show Tinder Swindler has also made people more aware.
“If people are upset because they’ve been fished out, that means they want something real.”
She added, “Then we went into lockdown and my daughters and I were constantly tapping on our phones and I said imagine having a dating site like TikTok.
“I did some statistical studies and realized there was no video profile dating app. So I put it on my protest board and ZiP was born.
With an integrated video profile, Dorisa’s ZiP dating app stops the usual fake downloads, filters, and catfishing tools.
“It’s a dating app without pictures, that’s what I call it,” she explained.
“We have facial recognition and built-in tools to identify potential catfish, there are no filters. We also ask people to update their video every three months so that everyone’s profile is up to date. day for them.
“We also send reminders during chats to encourage people to stay on the app and not give out personal information too soon. We just make sure people are comfortable.
But Dorisa explains that her fake removal tools don’t spoil the fun.
“The videos are 15 seconds long and the users answer silly questions about themselves,” she said.
“There are 5,000 questions for the app – I wrote them all down.”
She added: “They are designed to help people get to know you, like were Ross and Rachel on a break? Who is your favorite Marvel hero? What is your nickname?
“They help give a sense of personality, allowing people to really decide whether or not they like that person.”
By launching ZiP in September this year, Dorisa is determined to revolutionize the dating scene.
“The app is for friendship as well as love,” Dorisa explained.
“We launched at several universities in September, such as Manchester, Bristol and Kent.”
And it’s not just catfishing that Dorisa fights for – she’s also determined to eradicate booze with her “condom cups.”
“I’ve also contacted a number of student unions about handing out cups that stop puffing in the evenings,” she said.
“When my daughters explained what was happening to people at parties, I wanted to help eradicate the spikes.”
According to Drinkaware, one in nine women and one in 17 men have had a spike in the UK.
“The condom cup covers any size drink and prevents someone from dropping something in your drink,” she said.
“We will be distributing our ZiP cups in December, ready for all Christmas parties.”
Breaking the boundaries of technology, Dorisa is also determined to fight the stigma of the 50s as she revolutionizes the world of dating.
“Being a woman in tech is challenging,” she explained.
“But I think it’s more of a challenge when a 50-year-old woman starts her own business.
“But of course a 52-year-old woman understands Gen Z much better than other generations because we are actually the parents of Gen Z.
“We have a hidden insight into what they want.”