As much as it pains me to say this, it looks like my favorite Slovak David Dobrik might’ve taken another designer’s ideas without giving them the proper credit or compensation.
Here’s the story: On Sept. 18, TikTok user and designer Karim made a video that essentially served as a job application to help Dobrik with his latest venture. That venture, launched in December 2019, was a social media platform similar to Instagram, only this one was exclusively for unedited and unfiltered photos similar to the ones on disposable cameras.
As he noted in his five-part video application, Karim had a lot of good ideas for the app. He created a hypothetical “simplistic” layout for it modeled after VSCO, and even outlined how users would be able to interact with and use his version of the app. He also came up with a catchy name for the app: Dispo.
Karim’s videos went viral all across TikTok. They received thousands of positive comments from tons of users — including Dobrik himself.
“Dude when you said Dispo I literally screamed,” Dobrik commented on Karim’s first video on Sept. 19. “We’ll be reaching out!”
For a while, both Dobrik and Karim didn’t provide any updates about the status of the app or Karim’s involvement in its creation. However, on Oct. 7, the Wall Street Journal reported that Dobrik’s app had received $4 million in seed funding from Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian’s new venture fend Seven Seven Six. The official name of the app? Dispo.
This announcement prompted Karim to make a follow-up video explaining what transpired following his virtual job application.
According to Karim, Dobrik and Natalie Mariduena, Dobrik’s assistant and business parter, saw the designs and “loved them.” However, after a “brief correspondence,” Karim said that the team decided to go in a different direction.
That didn’t stop Dobrik and his team from using the name Karim came up with, though. In fact, as many TikTok users were quick to point out, the official Twitter account for David’s Disposable joined Twitter under the username DispoHQ on Sept. 18 — the same day Karim proposed the name.
Technically, there is nothing illegal about Dobrik and his team using the name Karim came up with without crediting or compensation him, but it still isn’t sitting right with people. All over social media, fans are demanding answers — especially since Dobrik is known in the influencer community for being an all-around good guy.
“It’s kinda messed up he took the name without asking,” one person said. “Legally he could do it but morally I think it’s inconsiderate.”
“He should pay you for the brand name idea,” another added.
“Wait so you’re telling me that he stole your entire design and idea?” a third commented. “How is David getting away w that.”
“This dude [pitched] an idea to David Dobrik about the Dispo app,” a fourth wrote on Twitter. “They didn’t even pick the dude for their team. He came up with the name Dispo [and] he also designed [the] concept for the app. It’s just sad.”
Neither Dobrik nor Mariduena have commented on the situation.
For more influencer drama, read up on how Danielle Cohn allegedly claimed an Ashanti song was hers.
More from In The Know: