Plenty of Fish: An Overview

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Overview

Plenty of Fish has been one of the top online dating websites since it launched in 2003. By 2015, Google Trends announced it ranked as the number one searched-for free dating site, now celebrating 3 million daily active users and 50,000 daily registrations. There truly are plenty of fish to catch in this pond! These numbers place POF ahead of other popular dating websites in terms of user base, including OkCupid and Match.com.

Pros: POF is free to join while users have the option to buy a membership. The website and app are continuously being updated in fresh and unexpected ways, and now includes features such as local event postings, unique algorithms for matching singles, personality assessments, and much more. An app is available for Apple and Android devices.

Cons: Both the website and the app look very cluttered. Everything is crammed into small spaces and feels like an information overload. On the app, features are labeled with icons that are not intuitive to understand. Text titles on the website are also a bit unclear, which leads to some searching around while looking for specific features.

Main Features

1) Search Engine : Searches can be made based on a long list of criteria, including age, intent, education, ethnicity, astrological sign, location, and more. This allows for a great deal of honesty to find an ideal partner.

2) Match Algorithms: Users have the opportunity to input the characteristics of their preferred matches, such as body type, age, intent, and so on. A unique aspect of POF is that its matching algorithms take into consideration that people often say one thing and mean another. Intelligent algorithms track the type of individuals that users click on and use this information to provide matches that reflect this interest. This way, a single who wishes to meet 20-something, average-built men and actually checks out profiles of 30-something, fit males will receive matches to reflect both interests.

3) Personality Assessments: Users may take a series of assessments to gain deeper insights about themselves and their dating style. These assessments go a step further and share how to apply the results for successful dating. Users may take the relationship needs assessment, chemistry predictor, a keeper test, a sex test, or the newly added psychological assessment. All assessments are easily accessed by clicking the “Chemistry” link, which is not a terribly clear title.

4) Meet Me: Based on a few photos, age, location, and intent, users can scan through other singles and indicate whether or not they are interested in meeting. All users are notified when someone wants to meet, however the free membership does not reveal who all of these people are. This form of interest should also be taken with a grain of salt as it does not imply your profile has actually been read or a message has been sent.

5) Favorites: Add someone to your list of favorites for revisiting later, perhaps when you have more time to properly message them. This also serves to notify the other individual of your interest, which initiates connection.

6) Flirts: If you are too shy to send a proper message, users may opt to send a flirt instead. This is definitely not the best way to score a date or make a connection, but the option is there if you are feeling lazy.

7) Viewed Me: View the complete list of users who have viewed you, as well as your own viewing history.

8) Mobile Users: The Plenty of Fish app accesses your location to reveal other people in your present vicinity. This enables singles to reach out to those in their current area to encourages meet-ups.

9) Local Events: POF makes it possible for users to host and attend local events. This feature helps provide an easy way for people to bring the dating experience offline, where it can be easier to assess a connection held between two people.

10) Top Prospects: Other singles you engage with will be listed on the “top prospects” chart, arranged in order of chemistry results and frequency of communication. The website claims a high likelihood that singles will find a suitable match amongst these top prospects.

11) E-mail Updates: Choose whether or not to receive e-mail notifications when you have new matches or when someone messages you, favorites you, views you, or wants to meet you. Go to settings to easily customize these notifications.

12) Call: Call people for audio or video chat. This helps people to ease into meeting offline by easing concerns of safety as well as concerns surrounding compatibility.

Paid Membership

Plenty of Fish makes it possible for users to upgrade their account for more services. Prices are set from US $39.99 for three months, US $64.99 for six months, or US $89.99 for twelve months. Perks include:

1) Show up first on ‘Meet Me’: Your profile will be one of the first to appear when other singles are using the ‘Meet Me’ feature.

2) View people’s extended profile : Upgraded memberships allow you to view information on a person’s profile not available to everyone.

3) See if your sent messages were read or deleted: Sent messages are marked as read, unread, or deleted. This helps users to know whether they should send that follow-up message or not.

4) Know the date and time someone viewed your profile: If simply knowing that someone clicked your page is not enough, then you can know the exact date and time as well. This is not an altogether necessary feature, but it adds something to the list.

5) Send three gifts per day : Users have the option to send virtual gifts to other singles. This helps you to stand out from the crowd! Send up to three in a single day with an upgraded membership.

6) Upload 16 images : Bump up your image count from 8 to 16.

7) Remove ads: Get rid of those pesky ads.

Plenty of Fish also states that upgrading your membership gives you a “massive increase in messages,” triples the number of people viewing your profile, makes you stand out in search results, and “more than triples your chances of meeting someone.” These claims seem to float there without any added explanation and the website inaccurately lists them as “features,” perhaps to make the list look longer and therefore more appealing. One can not know for sure.


User Interview

We spoke with Oliver, a user of POF in his 20’s, about his experience using this platform. He opens up about what he appreciates and dislikes about this dating site.

Stephanie: How did you come to choose Plenty of Fish?

Oliver: I have been using it for a few years because it is free and everyone seems to know about it. A lot of people in my area are on there.

Stephanie: Do you primarily use the app or the website?

Oliver: I used to go to the website but switched over to using it on my phone. I’m usually getting messaged throughout the day so I like to be able to respond quickly.

Stephanie: What are some things you like about the app?

Oliver: I can see who else online and near by, so messaging people can be more like instant messaging than e-mailing. I also always look at the personality type and the tags people put for their interests. It is easy to skim someone’s page really quickly and note these things. I also love knowing when people want to meet me. It takes away some of the pressure when reaching out because I already know they are interested. Sometimes I call someone before meeting them, which helps me to know that people are who they say they are and to know if their profile pictures are honest. I’ve had too many experiences where girls look completely different than their pictures say. But I guess I like the app more than the website version because I can stay connected all day and I can get back to people really quickly.

Stephanie: Is there anything about the app you think should be improved?

Oliver: Yeah, I mean the whole thing is a mess. It should be redesigned. When I first got the app, I had no idea where to find anything and had to tap on pretty well all the pages before finding what I was looking for. Took me a while to figure it all out. It’s also a place a lot of people go for hookups since it is free and so popular, so I have to sort through those people before finding others who are legitimately looking for a relationship. They’re definitely there, though.


Our Advice

There are some definite benefits as well as downfalls to POF. It has received negative reviews for being a shallow pond, so to speak, where people go for one night stands or friends with benefits. If this is holding you back from giving POF a try, keep in mind that since 2013, POF has implemented many changes to redirect the community’s growth towards more meaningful relationships, including communication between enormous age gaps (such as a 60 year old male speaking with an 18 year old female). The option for “casual encounters” has been removed, albeit replaced with “noncommittal” options. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that this kind of activity is on every dating website. We can definitely appreciate that the overall vibe of the community is shifting towards more wholesome ends, which is encouraging for users looking to create meaningful relationships.

Also, there is a lot of value to be found in the algorithms that take into account people you say you are interested in and those you actually check out. This serves to open people up to other potential matches rather than fixating on a narrow field of characteristics.

In the end, we would recommend using this website because of the sheer number of features available to users, as well as the fact that there are so many active users. This increases your chances for success! The local events are also a major benefit for people looking to use online dating in new ways: rather than using the platform to meet online, singles can go through the platform to discover social events where they can meet people face to face.

As with any free dating website, give it a try with a free account before going premium. You may discover that paying for additional features is not entirely necessary.

 

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About the Author:

Stephanie Arnold is a writer, visual artist and composer who seeks to unveil the working structures of the human psyche. She works to share valuable insights that stem from personal experience and assist in the development of deeper levels of self-awareness, especially in regards to a sincere and healthy relationship to love and loving. The core of her philosophy is that self-love is the root of loving outwardly, and is therefore necessary to develop if one wishes to create fruitful relationships with others. Her evolving portfolio may be found at www.lovefromwithin.org.

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