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It's safety first as the girls take control of dating sites

Following the success of Bumble, there's now a wave of new female-centric apps. Katie Wright finds the platforms making women and their protection a premium

Published 20/08/2016

The tech world is finally wising up to the challenges women face online
The tech world is finally wising up to the challenges women face online

Ask any discerning dater and they'll tell you, Bumble is where it's at. The app, which was created by one of the founders of Tinder, requires women to send the first message, thereby discouraging the kind of creepy guys who make Tinder an increasingly depressing place to try and find a date.

And Bumble's not the only app putting women's needs first. Ciao (www.ciaodate.com) is a new dating platform - with one crucial difference to the likes of Happn (which uses GPS to show exactly how many metres you are from other users and how many times you've crossed paths): it removes the geolocation aspect, allowing users to zoom into areas on a map to find potential matches.

"When it comes to dating apps and, indeed, modern technology, personal safety is the public's number one concern - and rightly so," explains Ciao founder Alex Ziff.

"Many dating apps have the ability to reveal the individual's location to other users on that app. We're keen to reassure people however that Ciao Date does not track, or locate, people in any way through their phone."

The focus, instead, is on the date itself, so users specify the location and kind of activity; be it sushi, cocktails, or something outdoorsy, and you can even decide before you meet how you're going to split the bill, because gone are the days when the person who instigated the date was automatically expected to pay for everything.

Away from dating, Zipskee (zipskee.com) connects globetrotters with locals who can show you around and help you discover the tastiest tapas in Barcelona or the coolest clubs in Berlin.

The idea came about after CEO Evan Hung had a chance encounter with an Austrian in Denver who was doing a medical placement.

The two ended up hanging out, then a year later, Hung visited his friend in Innsbruck and found himself alone during the day.

"I explored the city by myself since he had to attend classes - and experienced the similar challenge of not knowing anyone local. I have always loved learning about new cultures through the lens of local people and desired the ability to easily connect with them. It was these circumstances that led to the birth of Zipskee."

The site matches users by language and interests and, because it has a star rating and review system, lone female travellers can feel safe connecting with people all over the world.

Whether you're looking for romance, friendship, or just advice that you won't find in guide books, it's never been easier to link up with people, near or far, but sexism and abuse are still all too common.

It's encouraging to see, though, with the arrival of Ciao and Zipskee, that the tech world is wising up to the challenges women face online.

Belfast Telegraph

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