PlentyOfFish Review

PlentyOfFish came to life in a very random fashion in 2003. The founder, Markus Frind, was a computer science student at the time learning a new computer programming language. But he didn’t fancy reading books to learn, so he instead created a website bit by bit to learn this new language. The website was called PlentyOfFish. However, he had no intention of creating a dating website that was actually going to be used. For him, it was just a learning experiment. But then people started signing up, people started using it, and all of a sudden, the site took on a life of its own.

Today, PlentyOfFish is one of the most popular online dating websites out there with more than 35 million users worldwide. It is also a service that tries to capture all the search functions of its competitors.

To set up a PlentyOfFish account is slightly more time-consuming than for some of the other dating websites or apps, as it requires you to supply a fair bit of information.

You first set your location, gender, what gender you seek, your height, and what you are looking for (hang out, friends, dating or long term). You select your hair colour, body type, whether you own a car (slightly unusual), education and eye colour. You answer whether you speak a second language, whether you want children, whether you have children, whether you smoke, drink, or do drugs.

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You select your relationship status, religion, profession, and pet status. You then describe your personality in one word (from a menu of options – e.g. ‘athletic’ or ‘hipster’) and select how ambitious are you (also from a menu of options).

You are then off to describe your dating intention (options from casual dating to marriage), you select your longest past relationship, income, the status of your parents (married, divorced, etc.), and how many kids they had and where you are in the birth-order (also slightly unusual). You are then asked whether you would date someone who has kids, someone who smokes or someone who carries a few extra pounds (or more).

You add a headline to your profile (for instance: “Looking for Love”), write a description of yourself, your interests and you describe your ideal first date. Lastly, you add pictures. Your profile is now set up and you are ready to find dates. All in all, this should take you about 20 minutes, but may take longer depending on how much time you spend on describing yourself.

However, before you get started looking for dates, you are taken to a personality test (multiple choice). You don’t have to fill this out btw - you can skip it. But if you do take it, you answers will be used to find you matches. More about this later.

PlentyOfFish has a multitude of ways for finding dates. However, the two key functions are a search function and something called Meet Me (which is similar to what you find on Tinder).

The search function gives you three search options: a basic search which gives you the most commonly used search filters, an advanced search which give you all the search filters (filter for any criteria the person submitted when setting up the profile), and also a username search that enables you to find users by their usernames.

Meet Me, which is basically a Tinder knockoff, displays (on the desktop / laptop version) the person's photos, age, tagline and location. You then have the option to select Yes, Maybe or No. On the app, you see the main picture, age and location, and you can only choose Yes or No.

However, the profiles presented are not screened according to your search criteria, so you will see a broad selection of users. You also get to see a list of which users have already liked you (although only for paid members), as well as any mutual matches.

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If you took any of the personality tests or assessments, PlentyOfFish will match you with other users who also took the same tests based on your answers. You find this under a tab called ‘Chemistry’. This feature shares similarities with eHarmony, Matchaffinity, OKCupid.

A tab called My Matches gives you a list of potential dates PlentyOfFish thinks you will match with, based on what kind of people you liked on Meet Me. You however need to review at least 50 people before PlentyOfFish can provide you with matches. In My Matches, there is also a function called Ultra Match, which in addition to your actions on Meet Me, also takes into account your other actions such as who you have messaged, liked, added to favourites, etc. This feature shares similarities with Zoosk.

PlentyOfFish also a tab called 'Will Respond' which features those profiles in your area that are the most active users and the ones who are most likely to respond to your messages. This feature is however not available on the app.

There is also a tab called 'New Users' which shows you the last 20 people who signed up in your area and who match your search criteria. There is a tab called 'My City' which shows you the people in your area who also match your search criteria, and there is a tab called ‘Online’ which shows you which users are online at the moment in your greater area.

If you see someone you like, you can 1) send him or her a message, 2) send a virtual gift (you however need to be paid member to do this, or 3) add that person to your favourites. Females are also allowed to send private images, but not men (due to history of men sending explicit pictures).

When you check out someone's profile, you get to see their pictures and all the info he or she submitted when creating a profile. You see what the person is looking for in terms of relationships, and if he or she completed the Needs or Chemistry tests, you get to see the results. You also get to see what he or she has suggested as a first date, any gifts received and the mail restrictions he or she has set (for instance only above age 27, or within 10 miles). If you are a paid user, you also get to see the extended profile.

The home page of the desktop / laptop version is simply the 'online now' page. In other words, as you open the website, you see who is online at the moment. The home screen of the app is the menu that displays the app functions.

PlentyOfFish keeps a record of all the profiles you viewed and all the users that viewed you, and also who you added to your favourites and which users added you to their favourites.

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The email settings of PlentyOfFish enable you to restrict the genders that can message you and the countries people can message you from. You can specify that you only want messages from people within a certain age range, and you can also disallow messages that are shorter than a specified number of characters (e.g. 50), meaning you can for instance avoid the short messages saying just 'Hi' or that is only a smily face. You can also allow or disallow a user to see that you viewed his or her profile.

PlentyOfFish has discussion forums where users can discuss anything related to dating, ask either men or women about anything, and discuss the PlentyOfFish site. There are also forums for specific countries.

PlentyOfFish also arranges events for its members. These events are normally casual get-togethers at pubs, clubs, or lounges, bowling events, karaoke or similar events. PlentyOfFish members are allowed to bring non-members to many of these events.

PlentyOfFish also has a blog where it publishes articles about dating, gives dating advice, provides research insights from user activity on the site, shares love stories, etc.

How is it different?

PlentyOfFish is free. Or at least, PlentyOfFish has a free version that is fully functional, meaning you can communicate with other users and set up dates. The paid-for version has additional features that are nice to have, but not essential.

PlentyOfFish also offers you multiple ways of finding dates. PlentyOfFish has captured pretty much every search function and other way of finding potential dates that is offered in the online dating world. It basically has, in one form or another, all the main functions of its competitors. 

PlentyOfFish also has a very large number of users. And given that the service is free, a lot of the people that sign up will also be active users. (The paid-for services normally allow people to sign up without paying, but do not allow users to send messages and be active uses. Therefore, a lot of these users will simply be inactive).

 

Who uses the site?

PlentyOfFish has a bit of a reputation. For a long time, PlentyOfFish was associated with hook-ups and no-strings-attached fun. Although this was probably more true a few years ago, PlentyOfFish is still a service a lot of people use for hook-ups.

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And it’s also probably fair to say that the proportion of people that are looking for casual sex is significantly higher on PlentyOfFish than on most paid-for services. One thing about free dating sites is that they tend to attract people looking for casual sex (and they tend to have significantly more male than female users).

The profile of PlentyOfFish has changed slightly over the years and several changes were made in 2013 to change this profile away from casual dating (see history section below for more info). Now, it is increasingly being used by people who are looking for committed and long-term relationships. In fact, PlentyOfFish today has an impressive track record of getting people married and also for having babies created.

PlentyOfFish has a lot of features for finding dates and tries to provide something for everyone. It tries to be a service for anyone and everyone. So chances are that you will find people from all walks of life on PlentyOfFish.

The users of PlentyOfFish are also slightly older on average than users on many other websites and apps. The average age of a PlentyOfFish user is 34 years old.

Design and Functionality

The design of the desktop / laptop version is probably not the websites’ greatest feature. It’s ok, it works, but it’s probably not what one would expect in terms of modern web design. It uses a good number of different colours that contrast each other and don’t go particularly well together (blue, green, grey, red, yellow, orange, etc.). It almost feels like a trip back in time as the design seems a bit old.

There are also advertisements on the desktop / laptop version and even ads for other dating websites. These ads are distracting, and many are also animated (which makes them more distracting).

On the positive side, the desktop / laptop version is functional and relatively easy to navigate, despite the many different functions on the site. It has a menu that is always displayed on the top of the page that makes navigation easy, and the fonts, text and buttons are large and easy to see.

The design of the app is a step up from the desktop / laptop version. It’s rather nice. When you open the app, you will see a menu with large icons that enables you to navigate around the app. The app also contains all the key features you have on the desktop / laptop version. The app is very easy to use and quite intuitive. If you click on any of the icons, for instance ‘Messages’, you can see messages sent and received. If you want to do a search for instance, you will need to go back to the menu. So in other words, the menu is the hub for everything you do and makes it very hard to get lost.

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The Meet Me function enables you to swipe life and right, the same way as Tinder does. It works quite nicely, but still has a bit less ‘sex-appeal’ than Tinder.

 

What do you get with the free version?

PlentyOfFish is one of the few large online dating websites or apps that has a functional free version. The free version doesn’t give you all the features you would want, but it enables you to fully interact with other users, send and receive messages and set up dates.

One annoying part of the free version however, is that you have to deal with advertisements. Ads are targeted and displayed on most pages of the mobile / desktop version, and they can slow down the website.

Another frustration is that you can’t see who said ‘Yes’ to you on Meet Me without upgrading to the paid membership. You also can’t see your previous interaction with a user, unless you go to ‘Sent Messages’. Meaning, if you see someone you like or want to message, you won’t know if you have already contacted that person unless you go to your ‘Sent Messages’ archive first.

The Costs

If you decide you want the additional features (or want to avoid the ads), PlentyOfFish gives you three options for length and cost of membership. You can choose between 3, 6 and 12 month membership plans.

As a paid member, you won’t have to deal with advertisements. You will show up first on the Meet Me list and also get access to the extended profiles of other members, meaning you get to read their test result summaries. Among the many features of the upgrade, you also get to see when the recipients of your messages were last online. Upgraded members can also see if their emails were read or deleted, see at what time a user visited your profile, see who already said ‘Yes’ to you on Meet Me, and a few other features. PlentyOfFish claims that if you upgrade, the number of people viewing your profile triples.

 

How to cancel your membership?

You make the payments for the 3, 6 and 12 month membership plans upfront. There are no payment plans, so you will need to make one full payment.

best dating websites reviews COST MONTH /
TOTAL
3 Months £12.90 / £38.70
6 Months £8.50 / £51.00
12 Months £6.78 / £81.40
FEATURES PlentyOfFish
FREE
PlentyOfFish
PAID
Show up first on Meet Me
Access uses extended profile
See if emails were read or deleted
No ads
See when user viewed your profile
Use themes on your profile
Send up to 3 free gifts per day
Use up to 16 Images
Make calls without revealing contact details
See who said 'yes' to you on Meet Me

Unless you cancel your membership before it ends, it will be automatically renewed and you will re-billed for a new subscription on the same terms as the old one.

To cancel the PlentyOfFish paid membership, you need to go to Your Account. From there, you will need to un-check Automatic Renewal of your purchase.

If you opt out of automatic renewal you may still use the paid services until the end of the subscription term.

You can also terminate your account anytime. However, you will not be entitled to a refund for any un-used periods. And also, if you do terminate before the end of the term, your paid features will also be terminated.

To terminate your account, go here. At the bottom of the page, click on CLICK HERE! in To delete your account CLICK HERE! You are then asked to add 1) Your username, 2) Your password, 3) Reason for removal, 4) How many POF dates you’ve had, and 5) If you would recommend POF to others. You can then click on Quit / Give Up / Delete Account.

If your subscription was purchased through a third party account, such as iTunes or Amazon, the subscription must be cancelled through the third party provider.

Statistics

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Available in which countries?

PlentyOfFish is most popular in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, France, Spain, Germany, New Zeeland, and Italy, however it is available in more than 20 countries and in 6 different languages.
 

LGBT

PlentyOfFish allows for same-sex dating, however it is not a site most gay and lesbian singles use to find a partner. This is by and large because the pool of candidates for same-sex dating is rather small. In other words, most people on PlentyOfFish are straight.

One, let's call it 'problem' with PlentyOfFish is that when you select what you are looking for, you can only choose men or women. You are not allowed to select both. Put differently, you are not allowed to be bisexual. There are also no features or specifications that cater to the same-sex community, nor are there any (or very few) events tailored to same-sex dating. One good feature however, is that you can restrict the genders that can message you, so you can only receive messages from either men or women.

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Pros

  • It’s free – or at least the free version is fully functional (there is a premium paid-for version with additional features)
  • Large number of users - and because it’s free, a large proportion of those users are active users
  • Lots of search options and ways of finding dates
  • You get a decent amount of information about the potential date from the profile
  • You get a record of all the users you viewed and also all the users that viewed you
  • There are lots of options for what kind of relationship you are interested in, like casual dating with no commitment, actively seeking a relationship, etc.
  • You have the ability to restrict what gender, from which location and age range of persons that can message you. You can also disallow members to send you a short first message
  • Paid membership is less expensive than most other subscription based dating websites
  • Available in more than 20 different countries
  • Nicely designed app

Cons

  • The free version has distracting ads
  • Skewed male to female ratio (61% male and 39% female)
  • No or very little user verification
  • Because the site is free, you may meet people that are putting little effort into their approaches, and many who simply play a numbers game.
  • Many users are looking for casual sex, so may not be ideal if you are looking for love
  • There are so many functions it can be overwhelming for some users
  • The paid subscription is renewed automatically
  • You can’t contact anyone 14 years outside your age range
  • Poor and slow technical support or customer service. No phone support
 

History

PlentyOfFish was created as a website experiment in 2003 by Markus Frind who at the time was attempting to learn a new computer programming language.

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In 2009, PlentyOfFish was featured in the music artist Flo Rida’s music video called ‘Available’. It was in 2010 featured in Lady Gaga's ‘Telephone’, Natasha Bedingfield's ‘Touch’, Ke$ha's ‘We R Who We R’, Jason Derulo's ‘Ridin' Solo’, and 3OH!3's ‘Double Vision’. In 2011, it appeared in Britney Spears's music video for ‘Hold It Against Me’. These appearances were paid-for product placements.

PlentyOfFish released its first TV commercial in 2010.

In 2010, PlentyOfFish launched mobile apps for iPhone and Android.

In 2012, Markus Frind stated that based on the millions of relationships and marriages PlentyOfFish had created over the past several years, it was estimated that over one million babies had been born as a result.

In 2012, PlentyOfFish was the top searched dating site on Google.

In an attempt to change the profile of PlentyOfFish from a casual hook-up service to focus on meaningful relationships, PlentyOfFish made the following changes in 2013:

  • Removed the ‘Intimate Encounters’ option
  • Disallowed contacting people 14 years older or younger than yourself
  • Deleted message exchanges whose initial message had sexual references
  • Disallowed male users to attach images to messages

In 2013, PlentyOfFish removed the option to set your status as ‘married’.

In 2015, PlentyOfFish was sold for $575 million to IAC/InterActiveCorp (owner of Match.com, OKCupid, Tinder and other dating services).

According to Google, PlentyOfFish was the most search online dating service in 2015.

In 2016, PlentyOfFish surveyed 1,000 people who got married after meeting online and asked what was the most successful first date. The answer was: Dinner, followed by drinks or a coffee, and capping the evening with a walk.

 

Privacy / Safety

PlentyOfFish basically has no user verification. Users can’t be verified through Facebook or other social media platform. Neither is there a picture verification system. This means that it’s easier for people to create fake profiles and to misrepresent information.

The one area where PlentyOfFish does a good job, is to try to control any kind of offensive or obscene content on the site. There is a restriction on sexually revealing photos and users are also not allowed to be overly explicit in their self-description.

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The message settings enable you to decide that people above or below a certain age are not allowed to message you. It also enables you to decide that only men or only women can contact you, and you can also set the number of character a first message needs to contain (meaning you can avoid the simple ‘Hi’ messages).

PlentyOfFish allows you to block a user from contacting you as well as reporting a user that you have a problem with.

PlentyOfFish uses tracking companies and ad networks to obtain information about its users. These agencies are independent third parties that search and collect user data like clicks, ad views, pages visited, time spent viewing a particular profile, etc. The information is collected to direct and display specific advertisements to the users.

POF blocks cut and paste messages so that spammers are unable to send the same message to a large number of people.

PlentyOfFish is owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns more than 50 companies and websites including match.com, Tinder, OKCupid and many other dating and personal network sites. It is likely that user information is shared among these different networks.

Other

PlentyOfFish currently has more than 35 million users, and 100 million users have created an account since the site was launched. There are about 3 million daily users.

Of the more than 35 million users, it is estimated that 500,000 are members that have upgraded to the paid version.

Women between the ages of 25 and 26 receive 14% more messages than other users, and women who are 33 years old receive the fewest number of messages.

Women who are Catholic receive 20% more messages than women of other religions or non-religions.

Men who earn between $100,000 and $150,000 per year receive 42% more messages than men in other income brackets.

Men who want children receive 23% more messages than men who don’t want children.

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