Looking to acquire.

I’m letting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues slip through my fingers every year by sending people to competitors sites.   Given what everyone else in the market is doing now the only real choice we have is to acquire a mass market paid dating site or build one myself.   I am looking for something I can take and build into a huge site to rival the other top sites.    So if you are selling a site feel free to contact me!.   
I’m going to have a lot of work to do to figure out how to run a paid site properly.
1.  There are a lot of differences between free and paid,  on a paid site people expect limited high quality choices.   On a free site users expect unlimited choice.   This is why things like personality testing work so well on paid sites  and on free sites are considered more of a joke…  User expectation is so different.

2.  Site design for POF is fine as a free site,  but if i use that design on a paid site users would consider it a joke and not pay for anything.

3.  Paid sites require a lot of employees/customer service  and currently have little to no viral aspects to them.
At the end of the day paid sites are currently consolidating and the growth for the industry is flat,  especially in the US.  But within the paid sites category  the top few players continue to get bigger every year and all the others shrink.   I think there is a lot of opportunity right now and a opening to create a major paid site right now.

242 Responses to “Looking to acquire.”

  1. Jon Says:

    Regarding paid sites’ viral nature:
    One feature I really appreciated on a “dating” site I used once (can’t remember the name) was the ability for a member of the site to “validate” another member. This increased confidence that the person whose profile you were viewing was a real person and more likely to be honest, especially if the chain of validations was traceable to someone I knew.
    Since the only way to be validated was to know someone on the site, I believe this would increase the viral nature of the site. A linked-in style “you are connected to this person through these links” could be a “this person is validated through your contacts” checkbox/symbol/chart, indicating that they are essentially a “friend of a friend”.

    I also think that a “digg”-style up/down voting engine of some kind would be a great viral feature.

  2. jonau65 Says:

    I have read your blog for quite a while now – always informative…

    I’ve a good domain name if you want it… cupids.com

  3. Markus Says:

    that is a good domain, but its to close to cupid.com

  4. jonau65 Says:

    true enough, but good non the less. feel free to make an offer. I’m feeling generous😉

  5. Hammer Says:

    I disagree with you about this being a good time for a new paid dating site. The big sites have been investing media dollars for years and getting your site competitive would involve an enormous advertising push on your part. I think you’d be better off investing your money in redesigning the site to have a paid site quality interface on PoF to help you better compete with DownToEarth and OkCupid in design. You have a ton of traffic but based on personal experience with your site, I’d imagine you could have better retention and potentially dominate market share if you had a better interface.

  6. Joel Parker Henderson Says:

    Are your members actually paying at the other sites? If so, how much, how often, and how successful are they?

  7. Ryan Says:

    Good idea, I would go for it soon as well. Just make it better priced then your competition and even use POF as a medium to advertise for your new site.

    I have a longer one… rediscoverdating.com

  8. John Says:

    Markus, I’ve got a domain name for sale ConstantDater.com and/or TheConstantDater.com Let me know if you are interested.

  9. charles Says:

    Markus, I also have a domain name available: meetr.com

  10. sarvesh Says:

    Don’t do it. That market is already saturated. If loosing revenue is your concern you could cut a deal with one of the paid sites to upgrade to a paid site. It takes a lot more people to run a paid site and that is more work and money than you initial think it would be. Your advantage has been not having to deal with employeed people. You shouldn’t loose that.

  11. Henry Says:

    Hey Markus I can’t seem to figure out what your email is. I have a propisition you might be interested in. If you could contact me at my email or paste your email in here I’d like to talk to you.

    Best regards,
    Henry K.

  12. John Says:

    Also available DaterBay.com

  13. Steve Says:

    Plenty of Sharks.com ™ not for sale, just throwing it out here for the big shark. I cannot believe how many naysayers are up in here. Dudes got a plan, and its obvious his plans have worked before, at least once. Build it from scratch, emulate the biggest competitor and enhance it. None of these clown sites are worth the cash, you will have to redesign & rebuild on old / poor architecture. Take a step into something new.

  14. Ibod Catooga Says:

    AHhhh! AHHHHHH! You are a tard!


  15. Personality Tests: Testing Personality Types | Take A Personality Quiz Says:

    […] the tests are also creating a culture of cheating and raising questions about their fairness.  Looking to acquire. « The Paradigm Shift This is why things like personality testing work so well on paid sites and on free sites are […]

  16. brandonwatson Says:

    Markus –

    Since I am not intimately involved in your business like you are, I can only extrapolate how you are making money and how that works long term. I would imagine that with the shift to free sites, as you have pointed out here, that building a paid site makes little sense. Based on the articles I have seen on you and your site, a good deal of your money is made from sending people to those paid sites. If you believe that market is going to blow up, then why focus on that? Wouldn’t it make more senes to focus on a new and growing market than a dying one? Perhaps take POF mobile? If you were going to do a paid site, it has to be completely different, with a completely new metaphor for the dating thing. Being a me-too will probably fail. Read 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing – this would fall under the “be first” rule and “line extension” rule.

    I’d love to engage in a dialog on this…I find your business fascinating, but more importantly, I find your approach and irreverance motivating. You can find me bio on LinkedIn, my blog, or any number of places if you are interested in verifying me.

    By the way, I own Phriend.com if that is of interest to you.

  17. Greg Kim Says:


    I would have to agree with some that you shouldn’t enter the paid space (too much risk). Yes, you’re losing out on revenues but those lost revenues come with expenses and investments and it’s already hypercompetitive in the space. If you’re making $10M/year with a small team, working little hours then I would stay the course and figure out how to do more with less like partnering with companies like ourselves and having more integrated partnerships to maximize your monetization potential (not just banners/text links run of site). But if your ambitions are to go big and go against paid players with 8+ figure budgets then so be it and wish you luck. There’s always room to carve out a position in the paid space if you’re smart and effective with relentless focus and execution. And it sounds like you have all of the above.

    VP, Strategy & Corporate Development
    People Media – #1 Niche Dating Site in the World

  18. glenn Says:

    I would have to think that paid sites would indeed be viral in nature… don’t you think people would be wanting to monitor their investment. Making the site sticky, not trying to get too greedy by grabbing revenues from advertisers, sponsors, and customers, and establishing good third-party relationships and partnerships would be crucial. Your foray into having both paid and open sites is a great idea, ensuring that you have the best of both worlds.

    Good luck
    Glenn (blog.gisuser.com)
    also a former BC native!

  19. johnorie Says:

    Dear Mr. Frind,

    My name is John G. Orie and I am the sole proprietor of moviequotemachine.com (MQM). It’s only one post on a simple blog right now moviequotemachine.wordpress.com, but I believe the potential for multi-industry and multi-market integration is incredible.

    I believe I may have exactly what you’re looking for but I would also need to tell you my vision for why I believe MQM could be unprecedented and tap an overlooked market worldwide. Please give me a chance to tell you this vision. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

    Thank you,
    John G. Orie

  20. Kebie Says:

    Risk is too great, and it isn’t what you are good at.

    You are going to have to run a development team of real developers with real salaries, then real support, marketing, affiliate systems, and customer service staff. You haven’t even fiddled around with this at POF yet, to see what running and dealing with a full team is like and managing such an operation. But now you are going to have to put up a lot of money on an ongoing basis basically on a whim. I assume you don’t really have to monitor your cash flow or anything right now because you just get phat checks every month that easily cover everything.

    Sure I think you can drive a lot of traffic to another website, a website of your own, on any subject. But it is kind of a big risk and I don’t see the point so much unless you are really really scared the whole advertising industry is going to die in the next year, and you will need to take direct cash from people.

    I would consider spending serious money on POF re-development and include some premium services if you could be creative enough to come up with any, I can’t really think of them.

  21. Have a Dating Site? Sell it to Plentyoffish Says:

    […] proclaims, “Given what everyone else in the market is doing now the only real choice we have is to […]

  22. Jackie Says:

    What talk show were you on Markus? You mentioned last week that you were going to be on a talk show??

  23. Rafael Imas Says:

    Have you considered adding paid features to POF?
    You could do everything paid sites offer, but instead of lunching a full featured site at once, scale it as needed.

  24. David Says:

    Hi Markus, I think POL will explode by going paid. Recently I went fishing myself on the site and had a few conversations with some people I met on POF and they shared similiar experiences. We loved the site but felt that because it was free, people weren’t serious about meeting people and dating. I think people will stick and more people will migrate to POF from the other sites when you go paid.


  25. Sam Moorcroft Says:

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear – how the mighty have fallen!

    For years your stchick has been that paid is dead and free is the future. You have been preaching this mantra ad nauseam.

    What happened? Did reality finally hit?;-)

    How come I am the only one calling you on this?

    Paid is tough, Marcus. As “Hammer” said,

    “…I disagree with you about this being a good time for a new paid dating site. The big sites have been investing media dollars for years and getting your site competitive would involve an enormous advertising push on your part…”

    Those of us in the paid space have been perfecting this model for years. We take it for granted, as we do it every day, but for a newbie, well, different story.

    Before you know it, Marcus will be that company with massive overheard including 45 employees!

    Isn’t that precisely what you’ve been railing against for years?;-)

    Tch tch tch.


  26. brandonwatson Says:

    I have been thinking about this post for the last half hour, and remember a post Markus made to a forum about how he used to disable access to his site to Alexa toolbar people…subterfuge to stay under the radar. What are the chances that this post is a well crafted ploy to confuse the paid guys and give them a reason to focus on their paid offerings (“oh shit, POF is going to be paid”) versus thinking about building free sites? Markus, sorry if this was your plan. You are a brilliant guy in that way…many of the things I have read about how you stayed under the radar early were simply brilliant.

  27. Technology news - Techvibes Blog Says:

    […] Markus Frind announced on his blog today that he’s looking to acquire a complementary PAID online dating […]

  28. francesco deparis Says:

    I am advising a youth oriented African American social network/dating site at the moment on a sale. Please let me know if you want more details.

  29. jorge Says:

    I guess I’ll pile on with the domain names:

    There are plenty of AVAILABLE dating names here: http://www.hotnamelist.com/search?query=date

    Good luck.

  30. Chris tsiropoulos Says:

    Dude good for you. Let these haters speculate! You have already done big things with p.o.f and there is no reason why you can’t emulate your sucess. Also, I would suggest creating a mobile app for your web properties to penetrate that market.

  31. Paul Short Says:

    I have an undeveloped 5 character domain name (.com & .net versions) that would be perfect for a social type of site and could also be ideal for a dating site with a little creative branding.

    Please email me using the address attached to this comment if you’d like more info.


  32. Aristophanes Raphael Says:

    Paid dating sites are good, but, in the era of social networks, do they really have a future? I mean, people are mostly genuine on social networks, and they are likely to meet genuine people through a click (add friends), which broadens their horizon. So, for a click (no effort!), they meet someone new.

  33. Nick Hoffman Says:

    There are more comments on Hacker News:

  34. Paul C Says:

    REL8.com (or .net) – for people who want to “relate”? Kinda cheesy/tacky, kind of semi existing (see http://www.rel8.com/concept.php for details) but always open to chat/discussions🙂

  35. Alex Says:

    We run some of the largest fashion and beauty apps on facebook, there might be a good fit if you’re interested in purchasing facebook apps and doing something from that perspective. It would probably work well with the POF site, 75% of our users are female and we have almost 1 million of them (females). Please send me an e-mail so I can send over more information.

  36. Todd Lucas Says:

    Going paid may involve more overhead and outlay (and thus lower margins) but it does allow POF to play both sides of the field. POF is in a great position to redirect large volumes of traffic (hence the consternation that has prompted this post, I would expect). It might as well go to a POF property.

    If I might make a suggestion, it would be to build your own (by yourself or with others) and to hire a seasoned expert with experience at one of the other big players to build your team and manage operations. It would obviously have to be someone you trust and that you can build a rapport with.

    The reason I suggest building your own is you won’t be encumbered with a code base that is 3-8 years old. You have all the time in the world and you can build exactly what you want. Since you went classic ASP with POF (and assuming you like MS products), I would suggest checking out ASP.NET MVC. It solves many of the ASP.NET Web Forms problems that have bugged me for years. It’s been in beta for quite some time and is nearing release.

    Once this is built, it could even be hosted at a subdomain (e.g., premium.pof.com or select.pof.com, whatever). Once it’s running, you could use this new engine as the basis for a POF overhaul, allowing you to jump to a new code base with (hopefully) a cleaner UI and more features. This would give you a new lease and keep you going for years.

    Good luck! Let me know if you want help🙂

  37. Ken Says:

    I don’t think a paid site is the way to go. The biggest commodity a dating site has is the number of users. This lends itself to a monopoly model. This is also why POF is working.

    Your talent is not just in the dating game, it is in database search managment. Consider diversifying using your database programming skills rather than your dating management skills.

  38. Ken Says:

    Another idea. How about an upgraded interface to POF for a monthly surcharge (say $10). This builds on your customer user base and ads high end “paid” performance. Keep the free version going, but leverage it.

  39. Todd Says:

    Went through the planning phase for a startup paid dating site a year or two ago, including all the viral aspects, before deciding to work on another project.

    There are tons of ways you could build a better paid site, and you have a huge opportunity to innovate as a small, agile shop.

    Plus, as you mentioned, you have the ultimate source of referral traffic.

    Go for it… now.

  40. Thomas Says:

    Great idea but needs an entire different approach as you mentioned. Would be great if you could still put innovative mechanisms in place and utilize some viral effects.

  41. John Says:

    If match.com is going after you with downtoearth.com and its partners, why not use my method to tackle them head on? Its not “our” money we will use for the war chest🙂

    I hope you seriously consider it…ping me either way as often in your area



    One suggestion is to approach Yahoo Personals see if they want to sell.

  43. Marco Says:

    I once made a protoype of a viral site. It is done in Drupal and it is German. If you would like to see it. I can invite you. Its very basic, but if you wanna use. You could have, just put my partners and my name somewhere.

    Rockin regards,

  44. Alan Says:

    Keep the site free. Spend some cash on edgy designers to have a neat new interface. Hire developers to rebuild the site with these 2 things in mind:
    1) You said that the resources needed for the increase of users on POF is exponential. It must not be, something’s wrong with the current achitecture.
    2) Users could select their theme. “Classic” or “New”. This way you won’t scare early users with your new interface.

    And then focus on going multilingual.

    Why try to become a new competitor to major dating websites when you could be the #1 free dating website over the world?

    Though if you go the paid route, you could make major bucks. I think Meetic, one of the european leaders, are making around 100M a year. So imagine if you become one of the US leaders!

  45. Jope Says:

    No domain to sell (although I have a couple of decent ones in spanish), and no investment request here…😀

    Just and idea probably already considered, but I’d look into building a Facebook app for POF. You have quite a few existing ones to see exactly what NOT to do, and you already have the content anyway.

    Alternatively, get some designers to revamp POF and get a good domain for languages other than english (POF really doesn’t work translated😉.

    And don’t believe the paid sites have any good support, it is pretty limited in numbers and pretty bad from a quality standpoint. As for number of users advetised, if they deleted any user gone for over 6 months they would be much more close to reality…

    That said, I’m not sure there really is room for another big paid dating site, but you know much better than any of us commenters, I’m sure.

    Best of luck!

  46. Gilles Says:

    Simple guess for suddenly doing the opposite of what you’ve preached for years.

    Ad revenues not what they used to be?

    PS: You have a nice collection of oddball comments from desperate wantrepreneurs, my friend.

  47. vanchau Says:

    Markus –

    Send me an email, would like to chat about this.

  48. vanchau Says:

    Hi Markus –

    Please send me an email and we can chat about this.

  49. Tom McDonald Says:

    I got the impression you were looking for a functioning website (perhaps in addition to a domain) with which to start from but perhaps I misread things. I keep seeing domain propositions.

    Having read about your “story” previously I’m a little surprised by your path (if I understood / assumed properly). You make pretty good money now and don’t have huge ‘material’ wants. And you enjoy your less-than-stressful lifestyle. But, like any good hacker, you want to be challenged. Two weeks ago I’d have guessed that the next fastest hashing algorithm could come from you while POF continued to keep the lights on. I’m not in your shoes so I’ll only say, if I were in the shoes I thought you were in, I’d keep POF running and work on something I absolutely love, regardless of the money potential. BTW, I do like money and the worries it can remove.🙂

    If it turns out that you’re looking for just a domain name, I have one that might be of interest: weblife.com Not sure if it meets your vision.

    And if you ever want a small team of shit-hot programmers with more focus on the beauty of creating things than that far-off “buy-out” value to play with, I’d love (Love!) to talk.

  50. JC Says:

    Entrepreneurs begin as wantrepreneurs, with just an idea and a desire.

  51. Saïd Amin Says:

    man, i could have a field day with friendly/spirited jabs at your thoughts for a new direction via the paying route, but *umph* i’ll exercise self restraint. that said, you should of started your own paying sites (yes, plural) a long time ago, but hey, here you are now…

    if i were you, i would punt on running the site myself; it’s just too much damn work for someone who likes to keep the work day to a minimum. but then again, if ready to roll up the sleeves, you have a huge head start with all the traffic you can point to your paying site.

    explore the white label route. considering your massive traffic, you will be able to negotiate yourself a great deal. say 80-90% rev share in your favor, you own the url, at a minimum co-own the profiles, and contemplate separating out profiles you refer to the overall database – in other words, your profiles are not shared with other publishers of the white label service (pros/cons to this last point). not a bad deal, especially when considering that the white label provider will do all the work (screening, customer inquiries, charge backs, etc.).

    life is good!

  52. Dave Says:

    I read the Inc. magazine article about you and POF with a great deal of regret.

    I, like yourself, was one of the first AdSense publishers in the network back in 2003. I already had significant traffic when I joined AS and within 2 months, was in the UPS club. Before the term was ever coined, I was extending these amazing profits even further with Google arbitrage.

    The site, not a dating site (but a high traffic topic), was free and very basic in design. Almost all of my Google ad revenue was coming from major paid sites (some may call them my competitors).

    I was faced with a decision, just as you are right now. Should I continue down the current path and grow the free traffic or parlay the new found cash into something bigger and create a paid service. I decided on the latter.

    Though I kept the original site, stale design and all, I created a new paid service and commenced devoting my attention to growing that service. Of course, when you adopt an Internet business model that requires you to directly “sell” services to users instead of give those services away, you must hire (wheteher as employees or consultants) sales people, customer service people, billing people, collections people, more programmer people to keep pace with paying customers product demands and more people, people, people.

    Three years later, the “new” site is making real in roads in our market space. The old site is generating more AS revenue than ever. Until I read the Inc. article about POF, I thought I had made the right decision to go the paid route.

    Everyday since reading that article several weeks ago, I have doubted my decision back then to “go big”. What if I had focused my efforts on growing the traffic I had proven I could pull in? I was sitting on a business model I knew and was doing extremely well with (and yes I had it down to a 1 hour work day as well).

    Just as you spent the last few years building POF into the #1 trafficked dating site, I know I could have done the same in my market space using the AS model. Instead, I spent valuable time creating the new business model, figuring out how to compete with the big guys, managing people, money, etc. All these new responsibilities took me away from what I had become good at….content creation and SEO.

    Despite my negative tone, we are doing well as a company. We remain profitable and are growing every quarter. My company is an Internet sucess story. But I really do miss the days when I had no employees, sales meetings, customer interactions and lots more time on my hands.

    It’s my opinion that you are on the right track. You likely have not even come close to the revenue potential of POF. Through traffic growth and new and innovative methods of extracting revenue from that growth, the sky is the limit.

    Ask your self these questions. How much revenue are your competitors really keeping for themsleves? Are they going to be able to survive the current economic downturn? Are singles going to continue paying high fees in tough economic times?

    I’m not trying to discourage you from moving to a different business model, but you are in a unique position that you may one day regret vacating.

  53. alex Says:

    I want to sell HotCam.ro website.Are you interest?

  54. David Says:

    Hi Marcus,

    I own the domain SuperAwesomeDating.com. Silly but unique and catchy, much like PlentyofFish.com. I have been a serial online dater trying out singlesnet, match, eharmony, and PoF. I have practical ideas for a paid site that are not a gimic and are original. They would make a paid site stand out and offer value to the end user. That is where success lies in any business, providing value, much like your blog.

    I would recommend getting a catchy domain name above all else, then build a site with unique ideas.

  55. Your Full of Crap Says:

    You sound like you have gone mad. Why do you want to be the king of dating? You made allot of money. Either you have blown all your money and are despreate, or you have gone totaly crazy with some wild obsession to be the top pimp on the internet. You sound unstable in the brain dude.

    You were so cocky a couple years ago, now you sound desperate.

    What’s up dude?

  56. baisemwah Says:

    Go paid. Design it like this. Twitter + Flickr + dating = bagillions.
    People want no frills, FAST interface, multi connection capabilities with lots of visuals. They want to be able to post pics and videos, lots of them, and FAST.

    Scenario: You are looking for a date tonight in Coolsville, USA. You sign onto this new socializing site you heard about called hereandhow.com. You sign on and get verified in five minutes, and are uploading text messages and cel snapshots to your twitter-like interface that is instantly matching you with your basic desirous one (who is also online in your area). Withing 15 minutes you are chatting with half a dozen potential dates that are out and about within a ten minute drive of you.

    Once word gets around… well, setup a few extra servers. And in the meantime – buy into a sweet co-marketing gig with Starbucks and get ready to retire in three years.

    Anyway, that’s my idea for the moment.

    signed, Just one Fish. baisemwah.wordpress.com

  57. wdating Says:

    Hello Markus

    Check out wDating.com, its very old and established site
    been online even before Plentyoffish and been pay site since day one

    Have a lot of pay subscribe may be can take it to next level

    wDating.com Team

  58. Have a Dating Site? Sell it to Plentyoffish | Webtrendblog.com Says:

    […] proclaims, “Given what everyone else in the market is doing now the only real choice we have is to […]

  59. Adrian Moga Says:

    In every choice we make in dating there is a reason behind. Personally i work on making a map of human feelings(a generic map), how they are formed, how they grow.. and put the algorithm into a dating site. Information about this I published on my blog adimoga.com. (sorry for my bad english😀 )

  60. jay Says:


  61. jay Says:


  62. Tim Says:

    Wow….i guess the old adage is true….”opinions are like assholes…everyone has one”. Who knew Markus had so many experts telling him what to do on his blog.

    The man’s not looking for recommendations, he’s looking for a site to buy.

  63. Have a Dating Site? Sell it to Plentyoffish | Kawink Blog Says:

    […] proclaims, “Given what everyone else in the market is doing now the only real choice we have is to […]

  64. Titus Says:

    Not sure if my last post got through but you should really consider an iPhone/iPod touch app🙂 We have developed quite a few and would love to do one for PlentyOfFish, let me know!
    Securicy Ventures

  65. Daniel Says:

    Hi Markus,

    We’re working on something you might find interesting. Let me know the best way to contact you.


  66. Chris Says:

    http://www.palabar.com domain is for sale

  67. David Says:

    Hmm you’re saying that cupids is too close to cupid? Not sure I understand the rational behind that? Do you think that’s an enforceable trademark or something?

    Anyway I’ve got greatdatingtips.com, chickswantyou.com and chickswantu.com I’ll sell all three if you’re interested.

  68. Ron Says:

    domain dater.com is for sale

  69. Ivan Says:

    Wouldn’t it make sense to work with a “paid” competitor to provide leads / customers and co-own the data and revenue?

    If I understand your business model correctly, you’re offering a great product for free that requires little maintenance on your end. You’re then generating revenue with advertisements (primarily Google Ads).

    If you can offer results-based advertising (i.e., co-reg, CPA, cross promotion, etc.) that yields residual income, you’d avoid having to stray from exactly what got you to where you are. By the way, you’d still be adapting… your revenue model.

    The real challenge here is the programming but based on what I’ve read, I think you’d be up for it!


  70. glenn Says:

    Markus, you’re a smart guy obviously who’s already made loads of $$$ so think about these simple words… if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

  71. TS Says:


    Paid sites going free, and free sites going paid. All big mess really.

    I agree with some of the posts here that the dating market, either paid or free, is saturated right now. Previously I have proven that being the middleman for sex never comes out ahead. Now that Markus the free digital pimp wants to buy a profitable paid digital brothel, who is going to sell to him?

    I think it is probably wiser at this juncture to either develop a paid site by himself instead of acquiring one since cash is king right now. Or a better option is to cut an exclusive deal with a paid site such as eharmony or match.com to direct “non-overweight” PoF females to exclusive paid sites.

  72. Jeff Says:


    I have a backround in advertising/ Marketing and am currently in the networking business. I have a few great Ideas you may like, send me an email if your interested.

  73. Robert_B Says:

    Do advantage.plentyoffish.com or just go with plentyoffish.net/.org and keep it simple except for the long form for compatibility thing. On another note you may want to completely re brand it as if it is a totally different site/company.

    Still, make it simple – put the emphasis on the people not a bloated site and try to ad some fun.

    If you are board and looking for some new challenges and that is what this is rooted in I suggest going a different route and doing a different field not dating.

    You have the platform with POF to launch anything you want. All you have to do is advertise it on POF and you have an instant huge advantage over the rest of us. You may want to consider this and go in another direction. POF is what it is. I don’t think it will ever go away as long as it is maintained and keeps working well so why not look to other online categories for a challenge instead of paid dating?

    Lots of people are getting fed up with ebay… Why not take them on and do an auction site. Make it simple fast and easy with fair pricing and you would get a lot of traction. You already have credibility so a press release from you would get published and you could really get the word out there with ease.

    If your auction site was good it would blast off and could humble ebay. They really do need some humbling. Seen what they charge lately…. its like hay we are a monopoly and we can charge you what ever we want so take it and like it or buzz off.

    Give it some thought, and if you do it give me some credit for the idea hehe. I could use some street cred or at least a front page link.


  74. Dan Says:

    I do not think this is good idea to create a separate pay site as you will essentially be in competition with yourself, as well as the other players. For this to be a real game changer, I would suggest that you improve your existing site with additional features that pay sites have and keep it free. This way you will have a product that directly takes business away from the pay sites, and your traffic should go way up so you can advertise all sorts of stuff, not just other dating sites. In addition, by keeping it free, you will not have to deal with all the problems with paying customers.

  75. Dimitri Says:

    I have a suggestion for segue for resolving your issue. Is there a way we can speak “privately”?

  76. Kyle Says:

    Hammer makes a good point waaaaayyyy at the top of this string of comments.

    However, I think you have 2 advantages:

    1. Understanding how Successful dating sites are built and managed from the ground up. For accomplishing this you know things that others don’t period! They have staffs and are not as close to the product for that reason.

    2. Down economy. This is an excellent time to capitalize on something new if you are in a position to do so.

  77. Robert Says:

    I’m curious Markus, what new features do you believe can be implemented in a dating site that would make it worth paying for?

  78. Paramendra Bhagat Says:

    Keep up the good work. Would like to email you some time as a fellow entrepreneur. ic101.blogspot.com I am paramendra at gmail

  79. db Says:

    markus, i have the best idea in the world – email me at retard.com


    Hey, if all you grammar-challenged monkeys have such good ideas, why aren’t you out there doing it yourselves? Markus did it all by himself – so can you!

  80. Leo Says:

    Hi Markus –

    I am in the process of developing a “Free” Jobs Search Site. It mixes social networking with Jobs Search.

    Please send me an e-mail if you are interested.


  81. Ari Says:

    Big Mistake.

    Aren’t you supposed to be the guy who succeeds by resisting the urge to do something just for doing’s sake? This falls into that category.

    Do you know what a sweet spot it is when your competitors pay YOU money to advertise for them? Can you think of any other business in the world like that? THEY are the suckers, and you are the prince- and you want to become a sucker? That’s like a motor car company looking to acquire a horse and buggy company.

    Stay where you are. You have more users than they ever will, because you’re free. And the value of a social network increases with the number of users. If you buy a paid site, you will be trading downwards.

    If I were you, I’d focus on enhancing my site. You already know that PoF is hideous. Try to improve its appearance and usability (those nav menus that jump around and appear and disappear are a nightmare). Hire a cheap web designer with esthetic skills (clearly not your strong point). You don’t need to change the structure, just the CSS.

    If you must flirt with paid, think of selling stuff on PoF that has nothing to do with the core functionality.

  82. johnorie Says:

    Hi Markus,

    John Orie here again from moviequotemachine.com. (Code Name acronym MQM).

    What’s your #1 favorite moviequote of all time? How about Top Ten?

    Please post it on my blog moviequotemachine.wordpress.com.

    People who love movies love other people who love movies, and do like to chat about them. Right?

    Even kids have all their favorite movies and know them by heart. Like my 5 year old nephew has seen Polar Express about 50 times now.

    Have you ever asked a friend “hey Joe, what movie is this from?…” sometimes Joe knows, sometimes he doesn’t, depending on how obscure the quote is and how well you imitate it.

    MQM could be niche site for everyone in the world who loves movies to meet and talk. MQM could be a paid online game with prizes. MQM could be a new hit game show. MQM and its database could be a new game people play at home, like Trivial Pursuit and Charades.

    People could play MQM online for free by posting listing all their favorite movie quotes. People could play for cash and prizes by paying a nickel, dime, quarter, fifty cents, dollar etc. to post their favorite quotes.

    People around the world love American Movies, not to mention their own country’s movies. Like Bollywood.

    What’s one of the #1 choices in the world for couples going on dates? Dinner and a Movie!

    Thank you,

    John Orie

    p.s. do the names imdb.com or rottentomatoes.com inspire you to love movies? To me, no.

  83. Brad Says:


    I have the domain names Troductions.com and the derivative Troduction.com if you are interested.

    You can contact me using the “unpublished” email from this post.



  84. shottgun!! Says:

    Hi Marcus,

    I am a member of the POF website and I have to say free is in the end way more compelling than paying. In the end its all about numbers/membership, how much will net revenue really grow if you switch to paid with added costs/infrastructure/assets/resources. etc.

    Your best bet (as some people have already mentioned) is to continue with free but to enhance the features/UI of POF so that people choose to be on your site over the dating sites.

    i think some good ones would be
    a) some sort of verification that people are real (that could be very persuasive to convert people that are tentative about online dating) i don’t know the statistics but for someone to usually pay for online dating its pretty “hardcore” i woudl say POF is tailored for people that are interested in trying it out for the first time but don’t want to pay for it.

    also if you have some way of verifying someone is “real” (similar to linkedin or somebody you know knows this person) this will eliminate the negative connotations that people have about online dating. furthering your membership. (perhaps a refer a friend option, or some sort of rating scale where people can click “i’ve met this person and they’re real” ) lets face it most fake profiles are pretty obvious but some people are naive and newbs.

    i would research more into why people leave free dating sites for paid ones, convert those people back. and increase new members.

    there’s tons of growth i think the market isn’t saturated yet.

  85. Plenty of Fish’s Perverse Incentives | Hive Blog Says:

    […] to hammer Markus for these defects. I’d go so far as to say that he’d be the first to acknowledge […]

  86. Heather Says:

    Hi Markus,

    Just read your blog entry and was curious as to why you wanted to go this route?

    Employees can be a royal pain.

    All the good people who you would consider hiring tend to be similar to you in outlook and don’t want to work for anyone else.

    Unless you really need the money?……

  87. Heather Says:

    Nice article in INC by the way.

  88. Paramendra Bhagat Says:

    I’d recommend against acquiring and going into the paid online dating sector. Your competitive advantage is in free. Instead of acquiring, stop being solo, hire, build a team, work on making the site better, both functionality and aesthetics. Add features, as in you don’t come to the site just to go on that first date, but you use the site also to build your relationship with that one person you found. Dating advice? Put major focus on growing globally. Run ads.

    In short, grow, don’t acquire paid dating sites.

  89. Cole Says:

    Hi Markus,
    great POF site. I’m on it, although by no means in the online dating business, although I am in marketing and graphic design.

    Here’s my piece of advice for what it’s worth, in response to your post:

    I think integrating an “enhanced” membership to pof will be overall more beneficial than starting from ground zero. Keep the free aspect, but allow key enhancements for those who pay. I think people will see the value. Think Stoli Vodka and Stoli “Elite”. Both the same great brand, but one tastes a little better, and people pay for it. Perhaps access to deeper info about members. Maybe a keyword search for members? etc, etc. A shining example: Adult Friend Finder’s Silver and Gold membership brackets…although you still have to pay to message people, but you get the point I’m sure.

    I also think freshening up the look of your site will help add to the value, stronger colors and more crisp head banner. Perhaps more tasteful ad placement.

    I think if you take this route, you’ll have a lot of loyal users who will upgrade. The hardest part is what price(s) will you charge? Maybe you could acquire these other domains to redirect to your site, or just change some subtle namings like Gallo does with their wine labels so they don’t look like a sell-out. Either way, dont venture too far off from the hard work you’ve already done for POF.

    Again, only friendly advice, and I am no dating site expert, just another set of eyes.

    Best of Luck, and I am enjoying using your site regardless.


  90. Michael | Esprit riche Says:

    Hi Markus,

    What a surprise !

    I don’t really understand why you want to do that ?

    The only reason you speak of is “losing money” and that’s funny.

    To me, it looks like you suffer from boredom (no offense).

    A lot of people are struggling to build automated businesses online so they could enjoy free time.
    I don’t really understand and as someone said before, if you want to start something new, i recommend (even without knowing you !) that you pick up a new subject.

    All the best,

  91. Terry Smith Says:

    Skim the cream off POF.

    Start a new site for $ and notify the top 5-10% of POF people (how to choose them – I dunno, but you’ll need some Spearman criteria). Make them a significant founding member discount offer.

    Make this new significantly site different from and fancier than POF. You might consider hiring a pro flash firm for it. Be prepared to drop some $ on this. Don’t do the front end yourself. However, your very clever back end stuff, which I think I understand, keep.

    It’s important to make this a new brand name. It’s the cream of the crop, not plenty of fish in the ocean.

    Thanks for your time. I’m still impressed by your prime sieve most of all. More people have landed the Space Shuttle than have written a good prime sieve.

  92. Robert_B Says:

    Hay Markus, how about an update? Let us know what you are thinking. Still the same thing or have you evolved your thinking about this subject due to these post or any other reasons? I am very curious.

    If you are still serious about this then perhaps you should be looking for ideas on how to implement this and not another site you will have to spend a ton of money on only to then totally rebuild from scratch. You can take almost any domain and use it for what you want.

    I suggest that if you do buy a domain/site you should stick to looking for a domain only. Then just start out with ideas and build your own front-end/backend etc. The style is not important as you can have anyone build a nice clean template and implement it.

    The backend and site function will be the main selling points, IE what advantages and features will you sell to your clients in order to get them to pay for a membership. Beyond that how easy will it be to actually use the site. This is what your users will judge the site on so it is really important to have a great selling point but also have great implementation so the user will have a good experience.

    If I were in your position I would pull back and start looking into this and planning it out privately. Even going so far as to start it and test it live in kind of a quite mode IE get an appropriate business name (dating-site.inc) then find a domain, build the site and get some users on it. Contact them and get their feedback about how it works etc and how they like it. When you have everything in place and working well then go big with a launch and promotion.

    If I were to go at this I would look into combining myspace and facebook with dating creating a place were people congregate and are invited into other peoples social groups for introductions etc. I would make it a place where you could seek a match or suggest some one from your group of friends as people like nothing better then to play matchmaker.

    No one would have to do anything as far as accepting any suggested match but people could have a blast trying to match up their friends. That is a very compelling reason to participate for a lot of people. This is what you want, people to be the engine that runs your site. People would be inviting other people at the office or in their class or in their family etc. This real world interest is what you kill for in the online world – a way to build buzz and get people to talk about being part of it. How could you make something like that a paid site?

    That part is simple, everyone wants to be accepted by their peers. They want to be highly thought of so allow them to pay for it. Allow them to pay for the privilege of access to different social groups via a points system. Allow them to buy points but also to earn points by being a successful match maker for their friends plus be able to earn points via being highly rated by other users. Allow access to much more data about any user at corresponding higher paid levels etc. Have your users be your match making engine using their judgment. Many members would jump all over this – mostly the females etc and many men also. Sure you could have any member chose what personal data was available to the other members but also they could chose what data was available to what social groups. If some one only wanted to participate in higher income groups you could give them that choice via a higher membership cost but also some kind of verification system so you could advertise people in these groups have been verified to actually belong there etc.

    For men and women social groups are based on different things. Some people are more realistic and some people – mainly females will base their desires for dating on a person’s income level – IE many women want to date guys who have a higher income level. These women could gain access to these groups through the points system. Part of this could be via payment and part of it could be via being rated highly by others and achieving a good social status within the site. men who are rich – IE have a high income level will chose a woman of a lower income level but not if they think she is just a gold digger or a bitch. Although If Heidi Klum was a bitch I would still date her as I would just hope I could tame her bitchy ways while enjoying the beauty and sex. This could be reflected in the points system in some way.

    This all equates to a user run system that would be the basis of the site and how it would work to compel membership and the desire to pay for access to better or higher levels in the social groups. Just like high school, the cool people – the girls – who dated the jocks would not date the gearheads like me unless I had say.. a new vette this achieving a higher social standing or points result. Hay, I know it is shallow thinking but is it human nature so why not use it to spice up the site?

    In the adult world we are segregated into social groups via income then other points such as religion and other interest – our hobbies etc. I like to race cars and go fishing on the week ends etc so if I were single I would want to be a member of these sub groups assuring that the ladies would know we would be attending NASCAR races and going out fishing in my boat as dates or activities etc. This is what I would base the social groups on. I would segregate everyone into main groups then sub groups then allow people to have some kind of sense that they had some control over their own group’s social structure. Even if you retain admin control people will be intrigued if they can get the feeling that they have some influence over their own groups social structure. This could be accomplished very easily by allowing people to build small sub groups consisting of their friends then allowing them to invite others and suggest matches among people they have some kind of relationship with within the site.

    I don’t have a chance of building a dating site that has these features. I would have to pay for all the programming so I don’t have any problem publishing these ideas here. I have plenty of ideas for other online categories that I have some chance of actually being successful in.

    I am sure after reading this you will all have your own ideas about this stuff and how it could work on the social structure of a dating site. Sorry for the long post, I hope it is useful to Markus or others who may read this. if so feel free to use it at will. If you do use any of it and you would like to show some gratitude you could link to the site my name links.


  93. nathan Says:

    My problems with paid dating sites is that they all charge by time chunk for expanded usage. I think pay per usage of expanded features would probably work better. If you add a personality test you could charge for having it’s results used to make suggestions. Also paying per contact wouldn’t be terrible if it were a small amount. That would also dissuade spam.
    Please don’t make people pay to look at profiles — at least the general stats and pictures should be viewable without any fee.
    I agree with an earlier post that many people on POF have profiles on other sites but don’t pay for them — at least not all the time or regularly.

  94. Recession Says:

    It seems best to just add a premium membership feature to your site and re-design it. why would you want to put yourself in debt by acquiring during a recession? Plus, all the paid sites are going to struggle to stay afloat as people cut down on their spending.

  95. Patsy Says:

    I have a dating service that you might be interested in. Been in the business for a long time, I am sure you know who I am. Contact me privately regarding further information

  96. PMC Says:

    Hi Markus: Good idea to purchase a dating service. Free is good, but you have seen the number of referrals that you have sent to paid services. You KNOW that it is worth your while. Contact me regarding further information as I have over 25 niche sites that are well known, have traffic and worth looking at. Make me an offer I can not refuse

  97. jay Says:

    hundreds of millions of dollars? what?

  98. Michael | Esprit riche Says:

    To complete my previous comment, it’s important to reframe where you are and why you want to do that.

    Is there any other business area that can be useful to apply your strength ?

  99. Robert Says:

    Most websites tease you with some information and then if you’re interested in finding out more you have to sign up to “gain access” to all of the information. Most people click away at that point. You already provide open access to your members. If you are wanting to expand on your service and grow your revenue base, keep it simple by offering additional services to your members for a small monthly fee to help them filter through your member base to find the right person.

  100. derl Says:

    free is the way to go, i love the site, if you do a paid site it would be cool to only monetize parts of it, like a v.i.p type thing

  101. Todd Says:

    i consider plentyoffish like the craigslist of dating sites. keep it real, don’t go paid. or only require payment for certain things…

  102. Brian ONeill Says:

    Hi Markus, I own the premium domain ContactMe.com short and snappy, perfect for a dating site🙂

  103. Michael Says:

    Hi Markus,

    I am the sole owner of one of Spain´s largest dating sites, like you a one man band. The decline in ad revenue is also caused by developments in explorers, add-ons etc preventing adsense ads even being visible to the general user. Hence if the ads can´t be seen they can´t be clicked on. (Spybot is particularly effective at blockiing/hiding the ads).

    I can offer you a way to see your site achieve likewise growth as that over the last few years and am willing to have a private convesation on this. My tel is +34 625830279 (GMT +1)

  104. Rob Brannan Says:

    Hi Markus,

    Good Luck with finding a company to buy.

    Myself and a couple of business partners have just setup http://www.datinglounge.co.uk.

    Already we on our way to having 100,000 registered users in our ‘free’ format.

    The main site goes live on 1 March 2009, and thats when our big push for paid members begin.

    We aim to be the biggest UK paid site within the next 3 years.

    I hope all goes well for you, and if you ever want to share info/advice, give me a shout.

    Same for you Michael, no reason why the three of us couldn’t link up and take on the big boys!!

    USA, UK and Spain………would be a nice mix!!

    All the best


  105. WebD8.com Says:

    Looking forward to your next step, Markus. Your story and accomplishment with PlentyOfFish.com is part of the inspiration for my WebD8.com project.

    Best regards,

  106. Benefits of Working From Home | Boat Loan Comparisons Says:

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  107. Javi Says:


    As opposed to going paid, would you consider expanding your experience in the free model to other languages/markets?

  108. George Says:

    Markus, why start a Paid site? You are quoted as saying that paid sites don’t make sense, so why start a paid site? Please explain why go with a paid site and not a free site. Thanks.

  109. Ralph Says:


    I always had the idea to make a single parents dating site. plenty of fish being partial inspiration for the thought.

    I have a couple like domains but that being what I think the more interesting one to you.

    Hit me up if youre interested.

  110. Danny Cox Says:

    Markus, you are in a position many of us would love to be in. You have a huge free site with a large following, and that following means huge traffic. With that traffic, you should easily be able to negotiate better advertising rates with the affiliate programs you use on PoF. At the very minimum, 60% of the sign-up and recuring charges.

    You really aren’t loosing millions as to start a new Pay Site you will need the staff, the resources and overhead, and a large advertisng budget. Add a high stress level to all that, and you will regret the decision. You should just look at ways to maximize revenues on PoF, making sure you understand what is working and what isn’t, and adjusting as required. You will be much better off, both financially and on a personal level.

    I’ve been in this industry since 1994 and have had many succesful Pay Sites as well as free sites. I’ve also done a number of things in the Personals and Swingers arena, just not overly succesfully. If you ever want to discuss this further, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    — Dany Cox

  111. John Says:


    Please contact should you have the time. I have been working on a very unique niche site for the past two years. I would love to speak with you about possibly doing this together or selling it to you. The possibilites are endless as you will see. Revenue galore. I have had several professionals view this and all have thought it was a brilliant idea. Nothing like it. Thanks, John

  112. sanjay Says:

    i could let you use Gmatch.com for your new dating site.

  113. John Says:


    Are you looking acquire premium domain for your dating site or an existing dating website?


  114. John Says:


    There are couple of great domains that are not well utilized that you can possibly acquire in order to build out your new paid dating empire. For instance, a domain like chinese.com would be great if you want to target specific ethnic community the way how seniors.com is done after seniorfriendfinder.com bought it for over $1.8 million. Or if you are going after mass market american consumer, you can get something like Americans.com, DateAmericans.com or MeetAmericans.com etc. If you need help locating a premium domain, let me know. Thanks.


  115. Jake Evans Says:

    What about http://www.singlescanada.com, they have been around for 10 years. They might sell. I met the owner at a conference a few months ago who hinted about selling to the right person. Worth a try?

  116. name withheld Says:

    I believe any idea that you believe in is an idea to launch. Regardless of the competition. Passion beats all.
    I say build it yourself. Always. And when I say yourself I mean inhouse. (then you would have life in your office,😉 You need a project leader who has a wide knowledge of all web technologies (code, trends, etc) and it’s foundation (like hardware, datacenters, etc) and keeps his pulse to the changes on the industry. He doesn’t need to code, helpful though, but needs to organize the project so it meets time lines to keep things on track. Also will help in introducing new technologies to the business as they evolve. Next, 3-6 people that know are a jack of all codes but specialize in one area. You and your project leader (or CTO) can do this together. This gives you an expert in a every position, so if one comes and goes, no biggie. This will accelerate the development time and also make for creativity among geeks as they can bounce ideas off each other and learn from each other. You can add more as you grow. Customer service you can outsource. Having geeks as customer service to normal people isn’t a good idea unless you are providing a service for geeks. (geekdating?)

    I prefer things built from a framework. A framework gives a foundation of tools (why reinvent the wheel) and then the custom part you will know in and out to add features or fix problems. (good programmers document all their code) Frameworks create rapid development. Even apple uses frameworks. Think http://script.aculo.us/ , cakephp, rubyonrails, etc. Having lean frameworks and code is the key to keeping costs down. The leaner the easier to fix. Also frameworks are opensource so the whole world is developing the core while you focus on your custom code. Always go open source. Open source companies can give paid support if needed. otherwise you’re team can just learn the fixes on the forums, books, temp consultant etc. If you hire the right team they will know how to fix it and if not they will know where to look to find the answer.
    Hire good people that take their responsibilities serious, provide a fun relaxed work environment with benefits, give them the toys they want to do their jobs (2 monitors, fridge full of redbull whatever, every geek has his own preferences)
    treat your staff like gold and you won’t work much harder than you do now. (Ask Bob Parsons)
    Of course you might have to spend more time counting money. 🙂 stay warm….

  117. Angie Says:

    ibd14u.com – undeveloped name

  118. Tony Bertolo Says:

    Seems like what a lot of these people aren’t quite understanding is that there is little carryover from free dating members to paid, and that having two separate products generally don’t pull business away from one another, in your case, that would be a good thing if they did.

    Anyway, I have for the last year been working on a free dating site, but don’t do anything with it, not a lot of users but I would love to partner up with someone, it would make a great premium platform once all the features are in (which they are close). LoveDango.com is the site, probably the best domain name you will find, tries it’s best to benefit from the marketing of unrelated larger companies. I just don’t have the funds to get everything I want done, but lots of potential. If you are interested in shooting the breeze about it let me know.

  119. Loginlove.com Says:

    Dropped a line just to learn about how serious you are…
    You got my email.

  120. Cosmo Says:

    The name “Cosmo” works in all languages, but does not have any specific meaning (but does denote “All,” “Everything” and “Universe” to a certain degree). I already has a Website and users. I have been looking to make a change in my content.

    It seems to me that Cosmo.com may be right up your alley.

    Your thoughts?

  121. Krystal Says:

    I think this would be a fantastic move if you were to move forward with it. Paid dating sites are here to stay, as there is a market for it, but so will free ones as well (especially for international traffic who might be new to the web still)

  122. Chat Line Says:

    Well if you are looking to get into the chat line business. Which is similar to dating . I own 15 chat line websites and we currenly collect clec cab revenue as a primary form of income for beining free around a penny and half a minute similar to free conferencing. On top of that are affiliate income is quite a bit from all the emailing opt in data. We are on the first page of google for all major keywords.. Free Chat line, chat Line, free chat line numbers etc… Let me know if you are interested…
    Google connections chat…


  123. dating Says:

    hi, I am an attractive 23 year-old homy girl. If your looing for something serious then please don’t messsage me as you’ll be asking for something I just cant offer! Unless you want the challenge of taming my ass :))
    Drop me a line if interested ! If you are kind enough, I will show you pics of my face and body!
    Drop me a line at http://www.adult-matching.com/?nickname=kathsexy

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  125. Dan Says:

    Markus…you have achieved the most efficient and most financially rewarding business success that I have witnessed in my very long career. Congratulations!

    My questions are…do you recommend generating revenue streams from individual clicks like on Adsense or by realizing total revenue signups as a direct affiliate?

    And then I have not seen recently a comment on your advertising strategy…in 2006 you had some fantastic success with Google Adsense…just wonder if you have evolved into a different strategy?

    Many thanks.

  126. Michael Says:

    Has anyone else noted that Marcus hasnt replied or posted a comment since January?

  127. Qui est le Papa? Says:

    Hi Markus we met at idate Amsterdam. I could give you insight into the Allegran business model which fits in exactly with your plans for expansion. There is a knack to balancing a free site with a paying site and only a handful of individuals including myself were ever lucky enough to discover that formula. So successful we took one quarter of the UK online dating scene split over 5 brands(some free some paid). If that isn’t a good enough endorsement then I’m not sure what else is. Anyway that’s my pitch get in touch and get the best insight money can’t buy.

  128. Rob Says:

    Markus, I have an idea for a website that is simple yet would be profitable beyond my imagination. I have lost several nights sleep trying to figure out how to put my vision to an actual site. I have the ideas but not the expertise or knowledge to make it happen. I am afraid that if I don’t launch this correctly that a huge opportunity will be missed. I don’t want to go into much detail until I am sure you are interested in a partnership on this project. I have read a couple of articles about you and you seem to be the person that would best be able to help launch this idea into reality. Please contact me. I think this idea could follow the rule of 6 degrees and become viral.

  129. Mikhail Cook Says:


    My name is Mikhail Cook I am the President and CEO of Utxtud8.com. How can I get in contact with you? I would like to speak with you regarding your previous article expressing your desire to acquire dating sites. My email address is mcook@utxtud8.com



  130. Rob Says:

    Come on Markus, answer this post! If you team up with me I have a plan that will have you considered a modern day genius. Your celebrity will rise exponentially and you will be the hottest thing on the internet over night. Do you want to take away market share from one of the biggest players over night?

  131. redswan Says:

    How might our new discovery be used on a dating site?

    My associate has developed a profile that from a brief repetitive exercise,a statistical algorithm discerns key behavior attributes and learning styles.

    The exercise is non bias in that it does not include questions of self assessment, but a few numbers and symbols. no prior knowledge is necessary only the ability to follow very simple instructions.

    Initially the profile was developed for the field of education. It was used in the armed forces to reduce the attrition rate of a training program from 35% to 10% in one year. That is unheard of.

    As often happens, an unintended use was discovered.

    In general four basic behavior/thinking attributes are determined.

    There are some combinations of attributes between people that have a significantly higher personal dissatisfaction and relationship failure rate.

    We are working to pursue this data more fully and verify these idea more completely.

    Could something other than a tired questionnaire be novel enough to
    build a new site around or offer in a existing one?


  132. shabazz Says:

    Hi Markus,

    give Lycos a try. Holding is shutting down all services, Love@Lycos included (http://love.lycos.co.uk and other .de, .es, .it, .at, .ch, .nl, .be, .fr). Networks counts millions of members (but only hundreds of thousands of active ones) so it could be what you are looking for now.

  133. Cedrick Reese Says:

    I own the domain MatchWithin.com. I was hoping to develop it as a free dating site in hopes of giving you some competion🙂.

  134. Clayton Says:

    You need to do what adult friend finder does but to an approximate location based website – where everything is set to a map background – just the users’ locations are approximate obviously. Swingers clubs and the like will be proximate – so the thing almost turns into a social network/virtual map where you can say find active webcams on the map. Top that with those god damned paid egifts you can send and you will have a money machine. Get a bunch of POF users listed under intimate encounter on for free just for the startup and don’t have fake users like AFF does. Trust me, people will pay for that. Leverage up buddy and make it happen – then like some guy mentioned before make an Iphone app and you are a monopoly. I’m 19 btw and would love to be your marketing consultant… lol

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  136. scott Says:

    i know exactly how you can make your site very profitable, but if i can make it really profitable like anything else whats in it for me??
    you have spent alot of time on this oneand now you wanna buy others out to make a profitable one no need for that
    if your interested let me know on here

  137. Michael Says:

    Further to my earlier post.

    I have just been headhunted to head up a German online portal by a well known venture capital firm. The portal although not yet launched aims to offer a book ordering service online .. abit like amazon.com but for specialist medical texts..

    As the offer is just too good to turn down I feel that I will not be able to dedicate the time needed for Granamor which as you know has nearly 200.000 registered members.

    I am not sure but would be willing to sell it.. which includes web domain names granamor.com and granamor.es , registered trade mark and proprietary programming and also act as a liason for smooth handover. For a quick sale I would be looking in the region of 25,000 GBP´s…

    If you guy´s want to reach a critical mass figure easily and relatively cheaply then you may be interested? Let me know if you are…

    All you would need to employ part-time is a Spanish speaker for customer service/ vetting the profiles etc.


    Michael (+34 625830279)

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  139. Josh J Rhianderi Says:

    Markus I used your site and was very disappointed with the quality of the people. I went to a Canadian site called singlescanada.com and within 1 month had 3 serious replies. People in your forum are rude, cut you off, shut you down permanently if you saw the wrong thing, overly critical of peoples profiles. No wonder you want to buy a paid site, that is where the market is going. You know what to expect with free, I should have known but now I do not mind paying to meet quality women. you must be seeing your revenue slip to the paid sites that you send your traffic to or you wouldn’t be asking to buy a paid site. I found this page when I was looking for complaints about POF, you should search yourself and see how ticked off people are.

  140. Plentyoffish.com gets paid | Red3delta Says:

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  141. Gary Sholar Says:

    Markus, I was reading your “looking to acquire” post and thought I would throw an opportunity your way. Have you ever considered the adult dating industry? We have recently launched Muah.com and will be competing with AFF and others within this market segment. If you have an interest I will be more than glad to send over a business plan for your review. Thanks and have a great week..

    Gary Sholar

  142. Podcast #47 - Blog - Stack Overflow Says:

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  143. f. Says:

    i am selling my dating site, quite serious about it.
    contact me at the email address provided here in the Leave a Reply form.

  144. F F Says:

    I’m assuming you’re going to keep PoF and simply push customers to your new ‘paid’ site and still ask for other paid sites for referrals?

    I would think you’d setup a site that can be differentiated with other paid sites. Drop me a line as I’ve got something that will compliment your site and be VERY distinctive from other paid sites, while leveraging another emerging trend (no, it’s not cell phones or video).

    ps. we connected many years ago on stockhouse forum …not sure if you remember…

  145. eno Says:

    Markus if you are still looking to buy a site have a look at this one Person.al thats the best name outhere🙂
    I love pof by the way.

  146. colleenstoltz Says:

    Is this man married? I know when I started a chapter of P.W.P. iN THIS TOWN, I was single and it kept me busy, I was a Parent with out a partner of course. This must be coasting this man some money, I find it still a very nice thing for anyone to have started, & we are all still not paying anything.

  147. mike winsett Says:

    Hey Markus,work on your website a little more. Your maintenance leaves a lot to be desired. I can not count the number of times that i have tried to log on and could not due to some kind of technical problem,i know this site is free but come on,the im portion is terrible,it takes forever to get emails and then you cant log on when you want to. I think you need to do some major upgrades. raise your advertisers vending fees,they can afford it.

  148. diane trosclair Says:

    I am a serious member and the web site is down😦
    I know you got a new programmer. Are you sure he is not crashing the site on purpose?

  149. sumati Says:

    I so miss the IM chat feature.
    Please consider bringing it back.

  150. Papa Grande Says:


    I appreciate your drive but, as a fellow Entreprenuer, I will counsel you “Little Brother”…How much is enough? Let it go and sell out. Take a haitus and go on vacation and revive your juices. For a man like you just carry your lap top and think man..THINK. There are other business models that you can expound on in the future. Take the money and run! Sell out! Don’t be in love with this machine. Sell out to the competition and relax for a stint. You will come back stronger and more wise. Take a break. I will tell you what my mentor told me. “Good deals come along everyday.” Keep thinking out of the box and beat them at their own game. I respect your intelligence.

  151. Austin Wright Says:

    Thanks for creating the site! Great site. Love the layout. Very user friendly. I have met women off the site but not that special someone. Thanks for making it free! I see the site as of late has had a lot of problems, I guess thats just servers going down once in a while. Challenges of running it alone. Well thanks again. Nothing I can mention to improve it I just think its fine the way it is

  152. Gary Says:


    This is my second post to you.
    I have been in busines for over 22 years. I had the #1 brand in the country that I developed from my mind, put it all together, contracted the manufacturing and about 11 years into the project my senior management tried to launch their own enterprise in direct competition with me.

    Take it from one who waked that mile. Here is what I see “Little Brother”. I see a relatively youn entreprenuer who is frustrated because he has hit a wall. That “wall” is in front of all and we can never tell how far it is away from our face.

    My brother, sell the thing or be happy with what you have. I am a customer of yours and have been one for years. . I accidentally clicked one yeat @$77.00 US for a year and I don’t get any better results than I did from the “FREE” side of your little gig. The same faces and the same fake pics (BTW, the same faces are all over the paid sites too.)

    Let me tell you what makes your site special.
    #1 – It is FREE…again, I have paid for all the paid sites and the same faces are their. So, what are the so called savvy internet Entreprenuers “NOT” doing? The Doctor’s “e-harmony” website isn’t any better than any other dating website. Yes, I joined and the same faces were there…AGAIN.

    You have to remeber that your HUGE website is a lot of little “clusters” of local communities. the majority of users would not consider moving across the country to start a relationship with a relative stranger. I have communicated with many women who tell me of losers “fake facades” hence, outdated pictures, fake pictures, dishonest profiles, etc. This is no different from the paid sites.

    My suggestion wold be that if, you decide to hold on to the site and buid it, in that it is a “free” site, focus on the “quality” of people you draw to it.
    Screen them better!
    Focus on developing smaller clusters of groups on your website that asks specifics and if they are dishonest…kick their butts off. No decent woman or man wants to indulge with a criminal elemement.

    Use your marketing skills to “TWEAK” the criteria and skew the foks looking for love.

    Be intelligent and keep it free. In the long run, you will bankrupt the competition or THEY will buy you out when you become a “Thorny Pain in their side.”

  153. Peter Gramberg Says:

    Hello Markus,

    We loved your story about your company and in response to your Blogpost from January 27 2009 in which you state that you’re looking to aquire a paid site we have a proposition for you.

    We’re Monique Pohlen en Peter Gramberg from Amsterdam the Netherlands and started a paid mobile datingservice with our company PGID in 2004. We are present on the mobile portals with Vodafone Live in Germany and the Netherlands and on the KPN mobile platform in The Netherland and Belgium

    We are in the process of joining the Vodafone Live portals in Italy and Turkey soon.
    Germany, Italy and Turkey are huge markets for dating and we want to expand our service to Internet and iPhone as well.
    Our service is available in 4 Languages English, German, French and Dutch and since we set up our service in a modular structure we can easily add new languages and countries.

    We are running our business with two people and a parttime programmer and have set up a very simple back-end system so the service doesn’t need a lot of maintenance and runs itself practically.

    We are in the market to sell our service or to make it huge worldwide with an investing partner so if you are interested in one of these options or if you want more and detailed information about our service please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Peter Gramberg
    Monique Pohlen

  154. Gracia Says:

    Today I found this blog and are amazed by the quality of information posted here.
    Nowadays are very few blogs that offer quality of information ,we subscribed to your blog via
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  155. April Says:

    Hello Marcus,

    My sources tell me that Club Intimate (http://www.clubintimate.com) is refactoring, re-branding and re-launching in a major way. And they are getting ready for acquisition, news is they will sell it for $100m. You should check them out.

  156. Hans Says:


    Any idea who is looking to buy them at that price? Sounds steep and there aren’t many buyers in the sector.


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    Great job with the info. How did you find it? Please let me know.

  159. Adam Says:

    Domain names only (without content) :


    DailyVisits.com (+ .net .org .ca)

    UnaNovia.com (Spanish for “A Girlfriend”.com)
    UnNovio.com (Spanish for “A Boyfriend”.com)

    and a few others…
    (email filters out anything without one of my domain names in ‘Subject’)

  160. Ada M Says:

    After posting above (on Sep 8th), I started getting TARGETTED junk mail at a new address.

    Let this be advice to others.

    In all fairness, Markus doesn’t promise not to share or sell addresses.

    Sure puts me off, Markus!

    Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.

  161. Nelson Says:

    Hello Markus,
    With a more or less 7-8 month stretch without any work ( I’m self employed ) no estimates wrtten and no bids given, I was becoming depressed. I suffer with lower back pain and went to my chiropractor’s there I saw the Jan issue of Inc. Magazine. I left the doctors office without pain and depression free I was inspired. The following nite I went to a job fair sponsored by local tv station while there became depressed as I saw only white collar networking going on. On the way home I came up with an idea for http://www.1towork.com. I couldn’t get home fast enough, stayed all nite typing out pages and brain storming. If you ever read this would like to talk to you if you can please email me at njb@1towork.com. Thank you for the inspiration.

  162. dating Says:

    http://www.LiveDateLove.com getting bigger , many people from pof going on that site

  163. Miodrag Milenkovic Says:

    Where to get a FREE website with UNLIMITED pages, and a residual income?

  164. Igor Says:

    Very interesting. , I like it!

  165. Eduardo Says:

    I am not intending to sell you any site, domain name or else of this kind… In fact, I am not selling anything.😉 However, there is something I would like to offer you. Something that could CONSIDERABLY INCREASE AND MULTIPLY THE NUMBER OF HITS RECEIVED CURRENTLY AT P.O.F. And this without any effort, additional work or personnel increase at your end, and, of course,…FOR FREE!!!😉 Does this sound good to your ears? I guess at least intriguing, isn’t it? If so, please feel free to get in touch with me at my above email address and let’s talk. I am looking forward to it. Best regards, Eduardo.

  166. Chris P. Says:

    Great points on the differences between paid/free….I totally agree that expectation is the key.


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  168. larry Says:

    Hi, I’ve got datinglounge.com for sale if anyone wants it?

  169. Manuel SMith Says:

    I would like to know, why I’m I banish from Plenty-of-Fish?

  170. Not Happy Says:

    Same happened to me as above (Manuel SMith).
    After 2 years.
    No reason or explanation given.
    – Not Happy

  171. Not Happy Either Says:

    Entire websites dedicated to the above type of situations.
    http://www.pofusers.com/ is one of the newer ones.
    – Not Happy Either

  172. Dallas Dater Says:

    I also believe there is still opportunity for paid dating sites. To compete with the top players one would have to utilize the most recent stabalized multimedia features, which would take a dedicated Flash Server.

  173. Fish Killer Says:

    Hey Marcus what are you doing about the serial killer on your fish site that has been killing women. How is it that its not all over the place yet. Your system sucks and it can not stay free forever. You will be forced to charge a fee to stop these maniacs from killing again. I recommend a paid service. Marcus is only init for the money the ads provide for him. I have met marcus in person years back and he really needs to do something before he finds himself in a bad place.

    • barb Says:

      I totally I agree!!

      Total, pig..I can no longer sign in to my account..although, I have been on for quite awhile.

      A little warning, for people who are friends.

      Who can resist Money not Markus..but shit give us some warning..


  174. Erika Says:

    A site can have some things that can be payed, but really these have to be interestings, what the people want to buy every month.

  175. J Carlos Says:

    there are some websites in spanish that are free and they are still in fight🙂 for example http://www.unpez.com
    By the way, ‘unpez’ in spanish means ‘a fish’


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  177. Michael Bogyay Says:

    Hi Guys & Gals,

    Please no more emails as I have sold our website to a major European player.

    Kind Regards & good luck to you all.

  178. chris Says:

    that;s too bad😦

  179. Dropout Rates Says:

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  180. Markus Says:

    I had a good website to sell a few months ago. I will let you know if I will hear anybody else that has something for sale.

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  183. Jekson Says:

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    great post! love it! now, i need to redesign my website and coming projects. But I think this side not bad look to international dating site

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  186. Edvin Mayer Says:

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  187. Nick Says:

    Marcus, I just stumbled across this blog and your ‘looking to acquire post’ after I left an email on evow about my portfolio of 216 domains (including 170 dot coms) with what amounts to a brand and common dating keyword in all the domains. I guess it could be an ideal way to take on the main subscription based online dating players and have a near monopoly on a dating keyword.

    The domains cover over 60 of the countries with the highest populations and or highest use of online dating, all the populated continents and all the various niches so the domains go head to head with Friendfinder, Cupid Media, Match / IAC etc.

    The flagship is a keyword that is probably the most used dating keyword in titles that people use for a heading in profiles. Anyway, please contact me via the email given here if you are interested and haven’t received the message sent via customer support at Evow.

    • barb Says:

      Hope you are drowning in the dollars’s.


      It was not a great site, alot of weird people, but Markus you gave us the opportunity, to communicate.

      So sad..your intent was good..

  188. Hotbabes Says:

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  190. Lisa Says:

    So what did you end up doing?

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  192. MingleMonkee Says:

    I’d be interested to hear the stats of exactly how this went

  193. Business websites Says:

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  195. Shawn Sears Says:

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