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While some dating sites are known and marketed strictly toward long term dating or marriage, other sites focus on short term relationships or hookups. With sites like Plenty Of Fish, or POF as it is frequently called, the interesting phenomenon is that you will find fans and detractors on both sides. To many people, Plenty of Fish is the website or app that they met their future spouse or significant other on, while others still use it to meet a one time date for a short term affair. Listed directly on the Plenty of Fish homepage is the following:
“POF Has More Dates, More Relationships, More Visits Than Any Other Dating Site.
- There are over 3 million active daily users on POF, we are the largest dating site.
- You know of at least 1 person that has found someone on POF.
- You never have to pay to message anyone!”
Though it isn’t uncommon for dating sites to claim superiority in matches, based on their own internal reviews, chances are you do know at least one person who met someone significant (or temporary_ through Plenty of Fish. Plenty of Fish can be used as a traditional website, online, or through their iPhone or Android app!
History: Plenty Of Fish
Do you live in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, or Brazil? If so, Plenty of Fish is a popular dating site in your area. The site is free and more workable as a free site than some, but premium services allow more options, further explored below.
The dating site was founded by Markus Frind, who graduated with a Computer Systems Technology in 1999 and turned Plenty of Fish into a full time business by 2004. Hard times hit the site in 2011, when POF was hacked with 30 million user accounts exposed and later legal trouble included a lawsuit accusing the site of using a deceased soldier’s photos without permission. Unlike many sites which immediately sell to larger corporations, Frind remained very involved.
In 2013, whether out of ethics or for better marketing for the site, Frind eliminated the option of “casual encounters”, along with no longer allowing huge age ranges to match and message. For instance, it eliminated a 50 year old man trying to connect with an 18 year old woman.
In 2015, Frind sold POF to Match Group, i.e., the owner of many dating sites, including match.com, for $575 million dollars, all going directly to him as sole owner! http://www.businessinsider.com/how-markus-frind-bootstrapped-plentyoffish-and-sold-it-for-575-million-2015-7
Pros & Cons
- Unless you are that 50 year old man who is hoping to match with an 18 year old female, then you might be glad the site has set a few boundaries to help users avoid unwanted message spam.
- Just as OkCupid uses Myers-Briggs style personality tests for matching and eHarmony has long stood by its ‘scientific’ matching, until it was more recently debunked as untruthful advertising, Plenty of Fish has a section titled, “Chemistry”. Essentially, this is their version of a dating site personality test and they give it equal hype by calling it “World Famous”.
- The ultimate personality report, found HERE for logged in users, https://www.pof.com/poftest.aspx, promises to be very detailed and produce the “most ideal matches on the site”. POF says that it is based on research and done on “tens of thousands of people in relationships”. Why is this listed as a “pro”?
- First, the test is only 73 questions, which is shown on one scrollable page, verses having to click from page to page without knowing the length, until the test is complete. Also, unlike sites like eHarmony which make the tests a large focus for users, it is completely optional.
- On POF, only those who enjoy personality tests should complete them, while the rest can skip them completely.
- While it is true that people do have success on the site, when it comes to using POF’s “Meet Me” section (which is essentially meant to be comparable to Tinder or Bumble’s swiping) on the website, it isn’t nearly as user friendly as swiping would be, since it involves selecting one option with a mouse or laptop click.
- One solution is to use the Plenty of Fish app. While using the app, left swipes mean ‘not interested’, while right swipes mean ‘interested’. To look at a profile for more pictures or further review, click on the users’ photograph. Unlike Tinder or Bumble’s apps, on Plenty of Fish, you will not immediately see a personal description, but a long list of stats (age, location, intent, profession, height, etc.)
- If you don’t enjoy reading or writing personalized profiles, this can be fine, but it will take more time to get to the individual details you’re looking for. Although this is less user friendly, these options seem to be an effort by POF to distinguish themselves from Tinder’s style.
- Not as inclusive to the LGBT+ community.
- POF Scams: There are still scammers and catfish that you need to watch out for while on the site.
Plenty of Fish can be used as a free site. This is what draws many first time users to try it out, since messaging is free. However, as with most free sites, the paid options available will streamline your usage and fix or improve some of the frustrating parts of being a free user. Here they are, explored below.
- 8 Months: $9.99 a month ($79.92 Total)
- 4 Months: $12.75 a month ($51.00 Total)
- 2 Months: $19.35 a month ($38.70 Total)
- 10 Tokens: $16.90 ($1.69 per token)
- 5 Tokens: $8.95 ($1.79 per token)
- 1 Token: $1.99
Ease of Use
Plenty of Fish will be easy to navigate if you learn the lingo for the site: “Meet Me” is where you will see photos and match based on that alone.
“Chemistry” is where you take a personality test.
“Search” is the basic search area, found HERE: https://www.pof.com/basicsearch.aspx where you can search by age, gender, intent, body type, education, ethnicity, location, and last visit. If those are not enough to find what you’re looking for, try advanced search HERE: https://www.pof.com/advancedsearch.aspx to include other features like personality, car ownership, smoking, drinking, etc.
Customer service through Plenty of Fish may be one of the worst. Not only do they not offer phone support, though no phone number is now the norm for most dating sites, but they also make customer service difficult to access and mostly limited to self help suggestions rather than actual support or solutions. In 2012, POF still had only 75 employees, which might explain the limited support available.
Beware of doing a search engine search for additional site support, as other websites will pop up that “seem” to offer phone support for POF, but are actually 3rd party sites.
To explore self help service options click “Help” on the upper right hand side of the web page. If not to contact their support staff, you can also locate other helpful options – such as how to block a user, create a positive conversation https://www.pof.com/HelpCenter/helpCenter_conversationtips.aspx, edit or remove your profile, safety and security, etc.
For Public Relations, one can look HERE:
https://www.pof.com/HelpCenter/helpCenter_contactPOF.aspx or email: PR@pof.com.
Unfortunately, if you message that email address with a Customer Service question, your email will be deleted. The same page suggests that customers look HERE for help:
Ultimately, if you have a problem or want to delete your account, you might end up receiving more support from your bank in reversing an incorrect charge, should it be a billing problem, than from Plenty of Fish.
How does This Work?
Pick a username, enter your email address and confirm it, create a password, and then add gender, birthdate, country, ethnicity.
Although personality tests are optional on the site, the stats of what you’re looking for are “mandatory”. After you complete a detailed search questionnaire, for which you are required to fill in almost all fields to proceed, you will be able to browse the site. While this limits the gratification of immediately beginning the search process, remember that the more specific, personalized information POF gathers, the better your match results should be! Examples: Do you smoke, drink, have children, want children, own your own car, etc.
On the same questionnaire, you will be able to start your profile’s headline and description. For free accounts, you can upload up to 8 photos. Paid accounts get to upload up to 16 photos.
- While sites like Tinder and OkCupid, allow you to sign up for one month of service, POF does not offer a one month plan. Instead, Plenty of Fish limits the shortest member enrollment to 2 months.
What are the benefits of membership?
- Showing up first on “Meet Me”. Unlocking the Extended Profile for every user. Read receipts, to alert you if your email was read or deleted. No advertisements. Time and date stamps for anyone who views your profile. More emails. 3x the number of profile views. Your profile will get a search priority. You can send 3 “gifts” per day. 2x the success of meeting someone. 16 image uploads.
- In addition to the Upgraded Memberships above, POF has tokens for purchase. Tokens exist to maximize success as the purchaser then has the ability to send a “Super Yes”. Sending a Super Yes increases the odds of getting a mutual match to 56.3% according to Plenty of Fish.
- There is also the benefit of having a highlighted profile. This allows a profile to be listed in the Meet Me section, under the heading of “Today’s Catch” with an orange bar on one’s profile. Last, priority messaging sends emails to the top of another’s inbox.
- If you’re on a tight budget and don’t see many profiles that stand out, but you like one profile (or some) in particular, then tokens would be the best purchase option for you.
The online complaints about Plenty of Fish are impassioned in their dislike. Complaints are mainly from users frustrated that their accounts were deleted suddenly, without seeming reason or warning. Worse, users are upset POF has no customer phone support to follow up with. Last, some feel they encounter fake accounts or lose funds to scammers or even the site, when their account was not deleted as they wished.
You can’t beat the price of free and free messaging means the site is tried by many users, which will give you a large pool of people to browse. However, are the matches high quality? This will be determined by each user for themselves. For every one user who decides they prefer the speed of other matching apps, there are users meeting, marrying, and more on Plenty of Fish. Sign up is easy and the site options are relatively simple to navigate and understand. Our advice?
Try Plenty of Fish for a week or along with one or two other dating sites, then stick to your favorite after a comparison. If POF is working well, try out their membership or, at least, tokens!