10 years since POF blew up!

10 Years ago this week I rewrote Plentyoffish to use asp.net and it exploded a in size a few weeks later and kept on going.

Back in 2003 I did many innovative things.   Some of the things that I did back than totally changed the industry

1.  Introducing the concept of a  image strip of profiles.
2. Allowing you to restrict what kind of people could contact you.
3. First site to use behavioral matchmaking and actually trying to predict relationships.
4. User hosted singles events at a large scale.

Its hard to imagine these days a dating site and especially a free dating site that doesn’t do at least several things on that list,  back than these were revolutionary concepts in a very young industry.    There are also a lot of things I did that failed. One of the things I did in 2004 was add blogging to dating profiles, it sounded like a good idea at the time  but the problem is most users just create profiles and than never want to edit them.     Probably the biggest feature I never got right was date night, its the exact same concept as howaboutwe.com  but they came along much later executed much better on it.    On pof you could just post to everyone in your area for a date on friday night.

Now after about 2006  we stopped being innovative in terms of what a consumer saw,  the problem was that every time we did something that made a difference  it would be copied by competitors in a matter of weeks.    This would have a major impact on our growth because their network effects would increase more than ours,  ie we weren’t the biggest yet.    Its at that point I started focusing on innovating in the backend and sticking to making huge improvements in retention and virality.   The improvements on  retention and virality also had a much bigger payoff.

For the next 10 years we are going to be a lot more innovative again and hopefully redefine the industry once again.

40 Responses to “10 years since POF blew up!”

  1. Nicolas Orduz-Toper Says:

    I think you meant virality and not virility :)

  2. rink Says:

    i cant get into pof says to many people spamming in your area. or password to easy to guess, im in uk and it seems u have loads of users from there, is this a fault and where to u report it to

  3. ccr912ccr Says:

    Please consider bringing back the blogging. I’m getting complaints that I’m not updating enough. I need space!

  4. himagain Says:

    Markus, THAT information above makes it far easier to understand how and why POF did so well from its beginnings.

    Innovation is still vital out there today, but you highlighted the key problem: copycatting. Sooo easy to do out in the Cyberbog.
    The magic of numbers. Something you know a little about, naturally. :-)
    IF you ever do get around to dropping in here, might I suggest that you set up a forum structure elsewhere, where your valuable insights from your unique experience can be passed on in a more business-like environment?

  5. David Says:

    I love how people think they can just build a prettier version of POF without understanding why POF is so successful…the community and brand awareness. Those are two defensible positions that you just can’t buy. Look forward to seeing how POF evolves ever more.

  6. Paul Says:

    Mr. Markus Frind, you fail to realize that the more you ask people to pay to upgrade the more you start looking like other pay sites! You should stop advertizing POF as the last “free” dating sites on the internet. POF is not entirely free. You’re rich enough. Why not keep it ALL free? In case you didn’t think you’re rich enough than put more ads on the site.

  7. AnnieC Says:

    Interesting that my comments have been removed – apparently POF does not care about individuals that have been sent unwanted ridiculous emails from POF – and telling me you can’t do anything – and that I should call my local authorities is just about what I would expect from Marcus Frind! Apparently when HE gets hacked he’s upset – but to hell with anyone else.

  8. Amy Gardner Says:

    Marcus, you desperately need to hire a staff of “home workers” to do nothing but answer emails and customer service questions!

  9. DL Says:

    user crguy00 deleted from site after years of using it with no contact or response from csr – years of recommending site to others – whats the deal with your CSR? Fix my account now please.

  10. ian Says:

    admin..

    how do I wake up and my account is gone.. do you guys have a security team? obviously someone hacked my account? u prob get this a lot but having a cryptology force would be cool. o ya and is there a way u can help me retrieve my account?

    regards,

    ian

    • Dustin Says:

      Same thing here Ian, with no responses. I tried making a new account and it was gone in 24 hours again.

  11. Chris Rodway Says:

    The thing is, i WAS a POF user for over 6 years, but now because of one individual i imagine, i am now TOTALLY blocked. I dont even know why i have been barred from this site, i have made some good friends on POF and now i cant communicate daily like i used too. I have to say i LIKE the site and miss being able to use it. I live in England and like most of the worlds free society, here you are innocent until proven guilty. On POF though, if somebody complains about a message, yr history, gone, guilty. There should be somebody you can talk too and ask why. I havent been able to use POF for over a month now. If you read this a mod or Marcus, i have left my e-mail address, it would be nice to get a response.

  12. Wendy K Says:

    I currently have my POF account invisible. Is there a way to cancel and remove profile?

  13. Azhar HUSSAIN Says:

    Why do I keep getting kikcked off pof I have
    Done nothing wrong please could you contact me and tell me why this is happing to me it’s very upsetting coz I do like pof but
    I can’t u see stand after a few weeks I get blocked
    Yours Azhar HUSSAIN aka ziggy 772

  14. Debbie Dickenson Says:

    Two separate women have reported a POF user who has two recent convictions for harassing women he met on POF. But there has been no reply and no action taken. I assume I can’t name the offender here.

  15. Connie Herrin Says:

    I need to know ASAP how to report that a pof user is a REGISTERED SEX offender… I don’t want it on my conscience by NOT reporting it!! Can ANYONE tell me how to report this?? When I click on REPORT A USER… there is no option for reporting them for being a registered sex offender… he even says on his profile that YES, he wants kids…

  16. Chris Says:

    My account was de-activated recently without any explanation to me. I have followed all terms/conditions of POF, never provided any nudity and was not looking for just a hook up nor have I written any questionable email to someone. I’ve emailed POF three times and have left two messages with no response. Frustrating to be penalized for doing nothing wrong.

    • DL Says:

      I wrote legal@pof and got a response that said someone complained about me, so they gave me a life time ban, i responded saying i am not sure who would do that as I broke no terms either, but that person could block me, and my years of communication could be restored, however they have chosen not to respond as well. PoF is a PoS service if they do this to people… just use a paid site who believes in customer service.

    • DLS Says:

      Same thing happened to me – my account has been deleted – but I know I’ve never violated any guidelines so I wouldn’t have been blocked. I’ve had no replies to any of my emails to customer services. Disgusting service. Gutted though as I’d finally met someone I liked but we hadn’t exchanged contact details.

  17. John northern Ireland Says:

    Markus is a freak , he thinks he’s god , he’s obviously never had a real relationship in his life
    Same thing happened to me ,but I might have been rude to some rude bitch in response to her crap,
    Site will crumble. Who does he think he is the stupid wee man
    I have an opinion I have views and I have respect for good people like most people on the planet , we don’t need Markus playing god (the creator) lol what the fook drugs are you on markus haha

  18. jd Says:

    We do not allow signups from this IP range, sorry.

    What does this as of 6-17-13 mean?

  19. JDA Says:

    The thing is, i WAS a POF user for over 6 years, but now because of one individual i imagine, i am now TOTALLY blocked. I dont even know why i have been barred from this site, i have made some good friends on POF and now i cant communicate daily like i used too. I have to say i LIKE the site and miss being able to use it. I live in England and like most of the worlds free society, here you are innocent until proven guilty. On POF though, if somebody complains about a message, yr history, gone, guilty. There should be somebody you can talk too and ask why. I havent been able to use POF for over a month now. If you read this a mod or Marcus, i have left my e-mail address, it would be nice to get a response.

    ~~
    My account was de-activated recently without any explanation to me. I have followed all terms/conditions of POF, never provided any nudity and was not looking for just a hook up nor have I written any questionable email to someone. I’ve emailed POF three times and have left two messages with no response. Frustrating to be penalized for doing nothing wrong.
    ~~
    From two posters above.
    My sentiments exactly.
    ~
    “We do not allow signups from this IP range, sorry.”
    ^^^^ POF’s epitaph ^^^^
    sad, very sad. Was the best commune congregate with folks from all over the globe.
    If a reason for “deletion removal Execution” was given then one could make some sense of it.
    Without that….nothing.

  20. Alistair James (@alijay036) Says:

    This deleting and blocking issue is getting out of hand, the thing that makes it worse is the fact no one will respond to emails sent to csr@pof.com, Mr Frind needs to get a grip,of this and fast otherwise people will move to other sites, which are stable and provide support.

  21. Christine Poole Says:

    Can you please help me with me user name and password…a message keeps popping up saying I must reset my password…so I click on that, and it says write your email in the box…I do, and it says WE DO NOT HAVE THIS EMAIL IN OUR DATABASE…I have been a member for years…and only have one email and have only had one username…what can I do to resolve this situation.

  22. CEO Says:

    LONG time reader, first time poster, huge fan…

    I understand the hate for the patent/copyright cartel because of MPAA/RIAA but that’s where you’ve got to go IMHO.

    — from a fellow CEO and entrepreneur

    PS I’ve been in the basement coding for the past 4 years on something that I think will change the world of online shopping but I’m sitting here waiting for patent filings. A PIA but necessary evil.

  23. Angela B. Smith Says:

    My internet provider told me that my ip address is from a brand new block that is not in your data base.
    As a result I’m not able to register for an account on POF.
    This seems like a simple issue to fix for your tech team. it would also stop all the negative reviews and complaints I see many places on the web.

  24. Cyril Says:

    Same….my pof account wont open and I haven’t done anything wrong or immoral on it.
    It doesn’t even recognize my email.
    What if anything can be done to remedy this?
    my username is buildadreamon and I am from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Could you help fix this. Thanks

  25. b20s33 Says:

    Just trying to meet new people and try to start a relationship and just in enjoy life and be with friends and family.

  26. Asian Says:

    Markus, I think you spent hours of thinking good strategies in creating and maintaining such a good free dating site. Everywhere in Asia, singles know about POF.

  27. beth Says:

    Congratulations on pof, it’s surely innovation that has got the site where it is today. Competitors are always on the move but in my view the site is big enough to keep them at bay. It will be interesting to see where free dating and in general it goes over the next 10 years.

  28. msemocat Says:

    Please tell me why your staff do NOT investigate before cancelling an account? I did not break any rules, followed all requirements and my account was deleted today. Interestingly after being blocked by another member whom I was conversing with off of the website at our mutual agreement and he blocked me because I wouldn’t sleep with him. I am suspecting he reported me for something. If you go through our conversations you will see there was nothing inappropriate. And to make things worse you don’t provide an explanation as to why I was cancelled and I cannot create another profile. So because I wouldn’t sleep with another member who decided to report me for whatever your people delete me without reason.

  29. skyespitfire Says:

    A much more accurate representation of Plenty of Fish in the article below, as opposed to the corporate drivel in the above post, hehehe…

    http://skyespitfire.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/the-truth-about-plenty-of-fish/

  30. Nic Says:

    My husband and I met on POF UK in Dec 2010 and expecting our first child in May. I would love to know whether there is any chance of pulling out our original messages to each other as a keep sake. Unfortunately, we both deleted our accounts once we started dating, but wondered whether there would be any trail left behind?

  31. Maurice Says:

    POF is more like ANF (AlmostNoFish) these days and the last blog post was five months ago. Where are the women? Where are the innovations?

  32. Jack Rigby Says:

    Hey, Maurice is right!
    Where are you Marcus? It was very interesting reading your posts on baiting the industry! :-)
    Your quote:
    “For the next 10 years we are going to be a lot more innovative again and hopefully redefine the industry once again.”

    Has being filthy rich spoiled you??? :-)

  33. Thedatingreport.net Says:

    I find it amazing that your site has taken off the way it is. From a one man operation to what 20 people that employ now? That’s nuts. How has EVow.com done? Also did you ever end up purchasing True.com?

  34. joseph chircop Says:

    I recently had a profile on pof, I had a girl respond to my profile and she seemed very interested. After she covnvinced me to close my profile on pof she suggested to talk on messenger. After slowly getting to know each other she asked for a small loan to help her grandmother who broke her leg? The same thing and it seems the some person with a different identity was on Date hookup!! And they asked me to help and send money to help her mum who was sick!!!! Does this sound familiar and is it safe to say its a scam???

  35. 3DwhO Says:

    I am going to keep posting this comment until someone answers me!! I have tried messaging your company, I have tried private messaging the Facebook page, I have tried leaving a comment there and yet NO ONE has got back to me and the problem is STILL ongoing!!

    Under the Data Protection Act you are NOT to hold on to my details for more than six months after I close my account and when I tell you to close my account you should, believe it or not, CLOSE MY ACCOUNT!! Over a year ago I did this, yet one month ago I started to get your weekly ‘Matches’ emails again, meaning you had kept my account open contrary to my wishes and that you’d kept my personal details after I’d told you to close my account which meant you should’ve deleted them!! This means you’ve also breached the DPA!

    Of course you have no contact details on your website so the only way I could try to find some way to contact your company after starting to get these emails again was to log back in again! This was not my choice – you left me with no alternative because you don’t believe in customer service as you don’t have ANY such details on your webpage! After logging in I discovered the above means to contact your company and I’ve been doing so ever since.

    Your company has not even acknowledged me. So I will set this out in plain English for you:

    You will close my account.
    You will delete all details pertaining to me – EVERYTHING!
    You will do so immediately.
    If I do not get confirmation of this I will post this comment continuously.
    If you do say you’ve deleted it I’ll be checking!!
    If you fail to close my account and delete all my personal details immediately and continue to ignore me I will follow this through as a breach of the DPA and will be going back to my solicitor who has advised me thus far.
    I WILL ALSO GO TO THE PRESS ABOUT HOW YOU ILLEGALLY KEEP DETAILS OF CLOSED ACCOUNTS, REFUSE TO ANSWER YOUR CUSTOMERS AND CONTINUE TO PESTER THEM WITH EMAILS, HOLDING ON TO THEIR PERSONAL CONTACT AND PRIVATE DETAILS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION!!!!

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