Hired my first programmer.

Exciting times here,   tomorrow my first programmer starts.    Its going to be nice having someone else to write code for plentyoffish!    In the last few months  POF has become the undisputed leader in the US market,  far ahead of companies like Eharmony and Match that only have 3-5% marketshare.

Now comes the hard part,   which is growing the market in the US and coming up with more innovative ideas that help bring people together.   I think many of the assumptions that dating sites are built on are wrong and i’m going to be doing a lot of R&D to see if i’m right.


70 Responses to “Hired my first programmer.”

  1. blackysky Says:

    it’s funny how a simple website destroy the big machine out there… I guess simple is always better:-) keep the good work.. good luck in yout R&D

  2. Ed Says:

    So how are you going to be able to monetize the site? Saying your the biggest dating site in the world means squat if your not bringing in revenue.

    I have the best idea to monetize and i passed it on to many dating site users and they all agree its a great idea. It’s not selling virtual gifts, monthly memberships, or any of the boring tried dead end ideas. You could run your site totally ad free too with my idea.

    Lets face your days of bringing in huge adsense checks are dead. Monthly paid memberships are dying too. Who wants to pay for the unkown? People only want to pay for something that has value and will give them something in return.

    Just having the venue alone for people to contact each other is not enough. I can walk out my front door and have access to millions of women for free also. You need to think outside of the box to make money with your site.

    I have the idea but dont own a dating site and im sure as hell not giving the idea away so someone can make a fortune on behalf of me. If you want to do a test run of it for free and pay me when i prove to you it works lets talk.

  3. Ed Says:

    Markus you can contact me at eddiexec@hotmail.com its a free email because i dont want spammers flooding my main email.

  4. Mack Says:


    What is the total staff count at PoF now?

  5. George Says:

    Markus, you are an inspiration to many people in the Internet business. Many other people see what ONE man can accomplish and are rooting for you. It just shows that when someone Really knows the web, it can be done by just one man. Sure when you grow you need others to help with your plans. Best of luck, we’re watching, marvelling and smiling.

  6. Pierce Says:

    Hey Markus,

    I wrote an e-mail as a suggestion in the contact portal on plentyoffish.com. I know you’re a busy man and probably get a ton of these, but I was wondering if you got a chance to look at it. It was about horizontal scaling. I’d love to discuss this with you; let me know!

    – P

  7. Matt Says:

    The internet is the most stupid business model on earth. You mean to tell me if you even charged a lousy $1 per month no one would use your service? These same folks spend a $100 a month for Comcast. That’s why I never got involved in an internet business. It was built by geeks who brain washed everyone that the content should be free at the expense of the supplier of the content.

    Google adsense use to be the savoir of website owners but now the greedy bastards threw everyone under the bus for the almighty Wallstreet.

    The internet has always been a queere place to do business. It’s like it is scared to ask for someone to pay for a service but is always trying to dream up some complicated antiquated round about way to generate income from it’s users.

    How long would your local grocery store stay in business if the store just gave you your food for free. They made their income from 3D Google ads through out the store if customers just happened to push a red button on a screen to see a product demo. That’s the internet business model.

    The internet was created by genius geek code writers with out a lick of common sense, hence this is what businesses wrestle with every day on how to break even using the internet as a business platform to the I expect it all for free online mentality.

  8. Ross Williams - WhiteLabelDating.com Says:

    Matt – a lot of people pay for internet services, the reason PoF is free is because they advertise products and services which someone somewhere will pay for🙂

    I think there is an increasing move towards paid content online – the industry flirted with free dating in 2007/2008 but Markus is the only one who has made free dating work.

    Paid dating generates far more in terms of revenues and probably profit (although Markus doesn’t usually divulge his profit figures he’s still having to work!!)🙂 Although paid dating sites usually have much, much higher costs base to provide customer support and the quality that paying consumers demand.

    We’ve got a dozen full-time employed developers working on our platform for our partners – I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before Markus is employing another developer🙂

  9. Josh Says:


    Why not do a dating site (or on POF) that includes a youtube.com-esque video feature? Or at least some sort of video blog. That’d be great, esp if it was free. Obviously, you wouldn’t have to use your resources, but could collect on the adsense.


  10. Matt Says:

    LOL, Ross Williams, if you were so successful with your dating website why are you here spamming your software? This just adds to my belief in how fucked up the internet is for going into business. It’s so saturated in every imaginable topic the human mind has ever thought of that all that is left for the millions trying to make a measly buck online is scam bright eyed virgin noobs out of a few bucks. What sucks and is also sad is that the scammers are not realy making a livable wage off their scams yet they do hurt the ones who fall into their trap.

    The internet is a real cesspool!

  11. internetthought Says:


    what you provide seems to be universal and brilliantly executed with a minimum of cost. So stick to your mantra. Don’t touch it too much. If anything I would have a look at whether you could translate the site in other languages.

    There are still significant bits of the world that speak limited English. French, Spanish and Chinese are good candidates. Page views are important to you, so instead of limiting yourself to a subset of the world, try and reach the rest of the world. You would offer exactly the same, but just translate the menu’s and then maybe some smart trickery so that users can select to only show ads in the the language of their preference.

  12. Jess Kohl Says:

    Hey Markus,

    I’m a big fan of the site. Congrats on continued growth and success. Would love to work to promote POF against all others in this space. Please consider it. Would love to chat. Thx.

  13. Kitstra Says:

    Smile, you’re on GeenStijl!🙂

  14. John Says:

    The computer I am using was used by someone else to register with PoF. Despite deleting every single cookie on my computer (mine, all users, guest everything) his name keeps popping up. In addition, my favourites doesn’t work, viewed me pops his name up not mine even though I have logged in as me not him and his profile has been deleted.

    It is a good site but it has a lot of bugs in it and there seems to be no way to report them.

  15. McElroy Flavelle Says:

    Hi Matt,

    I quite like the Internet as a business space.

    I’m wondering what you do for your coin that is far superior?

    I’m always looking for new ideas so I’d love to hear your alternative thoughts.

  16. Person.al Says:

    @ John I dont think is a bug, it looks more like a security feature than a bug to me.

  17. John Says:

    Can’t possibly be a security feature. Has to be a bug. I searched every file on my computer for the binary sequence making up the other fellows name and it does not exist but keeps popping up. Did this with my own program which does a complete case insensitive search of all but just a few operating system files.

  18. Ed Says:

    I agree with what Matt says! All of these big websites start up and offer Free Free Free because they dont have business sense only can come up with that free is the way to be #1 Ofcorse if your Free the masses will come its human nature to want free things.

    The funniest part of POF is his adsense ads are for competing paid dating sites. So users click the ads and pay his competitors $30+ a month and he gets a quarter! lolllllll great business model!

    So POF is the largest dating site but who cares about the largest database who has the largest bank account? eharmony, match etc. are making huge $$$ POF is making a huge database lol!

    The idea i have to make dough with these sites is so rediculously brilliant but i dont own a dating site so its no use to me.

  19. John Says:

    All this talk about who’s making money and who is making a large database is really irrelevant. Marcus can do whatever he likes. He lives in a free country. He is allowed to do his PoF site just because he wants to bring people together if he wants to.

  20. Sockmoney Says:

    I don’t think Marcus needs any business advice from someone who has a great idea but no way to use it. He makes millions of dollars a year off his free growing database. He is arguably one of the most successful online solo entrepreneurs of our generation. Keep up the good work Marcus.

  21. Week of May 17th, 2009 - What’s Buzzing? | Synergy Buzz Blog Says:

    […] Markus, sole owner and employee of his multi-million dollar dating site plentyoffish.com, hired his first programmer. Check it out. […]

  22. Mack Says:


    You are ridiculous.

    I assume you are posting as a joke?

  23. Nickolas James Says:

    I wonder when my free dating sites are going to get that measly 3% to 5% of the market share lol, I mean come on!!!

    Anyways, good work Markus and never let these jealous geeks bring you down man…

  24. Marinkina Says:

    Нет,по настоящиму улыбнул 8 пункт,просто представил такую ситуацию ))).

  25. Cederash Says:

    Интересно сделано. Почти за душу берёт, заставляет смеяться над остальной блогосферой. Но несовсем полно тема обозрена. Где об этом почитать подробно?

  26. Ferinannnd Says:

    Оригинальная идея. Интересно сколько времени он на это потратил

  27. Avertedd Says:

    По моему Вам нужно чаще отдыхать, очень уж Вы заработались.

  28. Bo Says:

    This is the most disgusting online dating site I have ever had the displeasure to use. I tried using and tried liking this site, I really did.. But throughout the years I’ve often come back and given it another chance, on and off to see if it improved, but it has only gone backwards.

    For example once I was contacting some people through POF while at work, using TOR to bypass the company firewall, but the sites stupid retarded so called security features throught I was coming from Russia (based on IP address of an exit node) and what do you know when I got home and when I tried to log on my account disappeared.. No automated email from POF explaining the reason of termination, no warnings, no nothing! I simply couldn’t sign in anymore and when I did a search for my own username nothing came up.. This kind of arrogant on the part of POF to just assume it knows best, or knows for certain what happened and undertake drastic irreversible actions in one broad categorical stroke is indicative of the type of person the creator of the site really is.. his character and demeanor..

    Another time when I signed up I accidentally signed up under Canada instead of the USA. (I don’t know why, but I live in the United States and I was signing up from my home ip address/isp, so it puzzles me why POF defaulted the country location to Canada instead of the USA as default no other site is this stupid or wrongfully presumptuous..) then when I finished my account and wrote a profile and uploaded some pics I realized I could only change the city and could not go back to change the country code anymore! And because of its further arrogance of filters limiting first contact I could not even message a lot of the interesting women in my area because according to the site I live in a different country! My only resort was to delete that profile and start again…

    Another time I wrote a message to a user and it contained the word “s-e-x” but it was only meant as a funner remark of a reply to what she put on her profile with regards to a joke about ‘s-e-x’ yet the site must have caught on to that keyword and assumed I was either a spammer, or “just looking to get laid” and my message would not go through to her. She never got the message, I never saw it in my sent folders, and the site never explained to me why it was even being blocked in the first place..

    These are classical cases of Markus trying to be smart, and end users having to “PAY” for his stupid “ingenuity”..

    And don’t even get me started on the stupid questionnaire that we are forced to fill out.. I mean what kind of crap is that?!! Your sites search function are amongst the worst I have ever seen for ANY dating site, and I have used or tested them all…

    The fact that you have succeeded wildly and become so popular of a dating site means you played the game and the system well.. You got in at the right window of opportunity, you got lucky and amassed a critical number of users within a certain amount of time before most or all of your other free online dating peers (sites), and that snowballed effect explains why you are here today..

    It was nothing you really did.. your site sucks and you know it.. But as long as it “works for you” you have no motivation to change or improve it for the enjoyment of the users. its not about dating, its not about the users, its all about the bottom line for you.. and of course, its your site and your company so you do with it whatever you want.. but your hypocrisy is supremely ironic.. “FREE” only works because you were the first to saturate the dating market, so of course you can tout all day that “FREE” is the only way to go.. adapt or die.. so you say.. But the reality of it is there are only so many playerz that can survive at the top of the pyramid scheme / food chain… and its easy for you to sprout rhetoric and ideology when you have already ‘made it to the top’… anyone can spend a week and create a better dating site and more awesome interface then your POS POF. The point is you got there first, you got lucky, and you cornered the “free” market.

    But in the long term “FREE” is not a sustainable or even a viable method.
    You are really making a fool of yourself with all your pompous posts.. first it was “free” was the only way to go, next it was “free is dead we have to start charging”, then it was back to “free again”, next “we need more moniez”… so make up your mind, which is it ? Free or paid or hybrid? Do you have split personalities or something! Are you so conflicted and so contradictory of yourself that you can’t even get your own facts straight? huh? supposed leader of the dating arena? What do you really LEAD in? Not in revenue, not in innovation, but only in database and raw user numbers..

    In reality you site is the largest leech of the dating market, riding on the back of the success of other paid sites such as eharmony, yahoo personals and match.com that advertise on your site.. So the supreme irony is you plot all day of “killing” the paid sites, you think of this and that to beat match.com and eharmony and get a portion of their real $$$
    you mock them all day long for years, biting the very hands that feed you, you ungrateful SOB you don’t realize that without them you are NOTHING! You simply ride on the success of others, like Google does. But Google is larger than you. and when push comes to shove Google itself will adapt and survive, and could care less about your wellbeing.. (as I’m sure you figured that one out already haha lol)

    You are no longer satisfied with being “free” as it doesn’t satiate your avarice anymore.. (and besides I’m sure you realize your ad income is is shrinking and we are never going back to the way things were peak 2007/2008) yet your POF site is such a crappy POS that if you went “paid” that is automatic suicide and kiss of death.. and everyone will leave your sites..

    I don’t know exactly how all this is going to play out, but I hope you get what you deserve.

  29. Naso Says:

    Bo, you’re not being a little bit jealous…, are you?

  30. Chatting Says:

    All these years and you finally hired another programmer? Why did you wait so long? I’m sure you weren’t just being cheap. Perhaps you just didn’t want to share you baby with someone else.

  31. Rob Docherty Says:

    New design coming soon Marcus – please, call me: 502-287-3302 I’d love to help build a paid site: HarryMeetSally.com is one I have planned; I’d like to talk ASAP.

  32. Adamantes Says:

    It’s the first time in years that the site seems not available for an extended period of time. Is it somethign we should blame on the new programmer;) ….?

  33. MC Says:

    Glad you mentioned that Adam, wasn’t sure if the site was broken or it was my internet…Strange that the new programmer wouldn’t put up a splash page saying the site was under construction, or at least send an email to all members about what’s going on..After all, it’s the users who keep the site going (when it’s up and running)

    All that said, I hope some exciting new changes are on the way with this downtime..Markus your story is definitely inspirational and motivates many others to find a niche and profit from it online.

  34. Richard O Says:

    Site down eh…look fopward to the changes – any idea how long the outage is going to be ?

  35. Joshua H Says:

    Hmmmm goes to show you maybe hiring a programmer wasn’t such a great idea considering there was never outages like then when Markus just ran this himself.

  36. Melinda Says:

    It’s been down over four hours so far…

  37. MB Says:

    I noticed this around 4 EST. I was writing a message and before I could send, it went down. I had messages like Server is too busy and later I couldn’t even load anything. I wasn’t aware of this blog before but I’ll probably check it out again now!!

  38. Mitch Says:

    Why doesn’t Markus post something here regarding what is going on with POF website?

  39. Jen Says:

    Markus, the site is down!! Just as I was getting to know someone that actually seemed worth while! I had no luck until I totally overhauled my profile and now I’m getting all sort of inquiries including this one that I am very interested in! Please get the site back up and running soon!

  40. Taco Says:

    Yeah, site’s down. New programmer, eh? Nice, nice. 😉

    Joking, I’m a programmer, too… but being down for so long is not a good thing… Hopefully it’s not the programmer’s fault!

  41. INR aka T Says:

    Yeah at least I’m not the only one. I thought I might have missed something. Like a domain name change or something. Anyway, I hope it gets back up soon.

  42. Sue Says:

    Um….could we continue looking here? SWF 37 looking for SWM…lol 😉

  43. Subaru555 Says:

    Any news on the site?

    Also… Hi Jen!!!!

  44. kwgal02 Says:

    I noticed that the site was down this afternoon after work, trying to retrieve email. I hope this is not a long term issue. Will check back tomorrow…hopefully it will be fixed. New programmer, hmmmmmm, makes one wonder.

  45. DrewMS Says:

    I noticed as well recently that they were also launching http://www.POF.com as an alternative to the plenty of fish url. Wonder if linking transition had anything to do with the crash. And I do agree that very bad move not having a splash page saying “oops, sorry. site is down atm.”

  46. Dear Putzes Says:

    The server is up, the network is up, no pages being served..I notice that the russians have posted some weird comments…so I wonder:
    1. Has he been hacked?
    2. Is this just a programming error (back it out, dude)
    3. If this is a hardware error, and he has restored the (disc, LAN, SAN, etc)..and he is now trying to bring the site online..he may be faced with the dreaded “self imposed denial of service attack” where all of his users are now frantically pounding on their keyboards simultaneously. The process of prefetching all the photos from every login profile alone could bring down a server…..
    4. Maybe he failed to pay his bill to Akamai, and they have wiped his worldwide cache of pages…and his one little server is now frantically trying to serve those pages itself.
    5. Maybe he is trying to prove to a Venture Capital firm that there are really 10 million actual people that use his site…so he brought it down to count unique hits…..and wants to charge the VC firm 1$ per hit to buy him out LOL.

    Good luck Markus….let me know when I can start browsing the people store again.

    • Subaru555 Says:

      IP resolves to peer1 hosting network block. It is pinging and port 80 is not listening.

      I’m not sure where you got the Russian thing from.

  47. Cindy Says:

    POF has not been up all afternoon. What is up with that??
    June 8, 2009

  48. nowgopal Says:

    Glad to find this blog…so its not my service…the site is unavailable and there is no status info. Of course just when finally found “the one interesting profile” in 4 years…what an omen.
    Anyhow, I hope that we will get some news. Interesting coincidences.

  49. myrmecophilous Says:

    Everyone relax, it’s just a prank by POF; they’re celebrating 6/9/09 by cockblocking thousands,

  50. Donna Says:

    New programmer…uh huh. Isn’t it always that way? You get stuck with the big money and the staff and the whole thing becomes problem garbage….like Windows…richest thief in the world owns Windows and no matter how many programmers he buys, he can’t get it right! Windows XP came a little close but the rest has always been garbage!

    Plentyoffish…RIP from this point on!

  51. eric golden Says:

    How can I get my profile REMOVED from POF?

    • Subaru555 Says:

      go to ‘HELP’ link
      search the word ‘delete’ or ‘hide’ … and follow the instructions, it is a 2 or 3 click thing.

  52. shavolsky ladaviski Says:

    Arrrrg PoF is still down! Damnit, I need my daily fill of nice guy posts.

  53. bykr Says:

    Marcus, I love the POF site, but what’s going on with it recently? I can’t log on most days, and the server can’t even find the site sometimes. Are you getting that much traffic?

  54. Gary Says:

    You really need to stop testing new features on a live site. Perhaps you can setup another server as a beta testing server, and allow a limited selection of users test the features.

    I’ve seen a lot of features come and go from POF over the last couple of years, some lasted only a few hours it seems.

    That definitely shows that testing is done live. That’s just dangerous and doesn’t make very much sense.

    Just my opinion..

  55. Mentalidade Says:

    Your blog is a great place in the internet. Very interesting. I always come in for see news and interested contents. Mentalidade

  56. POFUsers.com Says:

    Such negative comments.

    I’ve always felt the key to making money on the net is content and market share.

    Plentyoffish has the content plus it has a large user base and therefore market share.

    If you can’t get market share it doesn’t mean you can’t make a bit of money. If you’re only getting scraps then chances are you dont have content, worse case scenario could be your website is simply rubbish hence no one wants to visit it.

  57. online dating Says:

    i hate trying to make money with online dating

  58. Dan Says:

    As a personals website its okay. I can be improved upon for sure.
    In large areas there should be a better way to narrow down searches. Profiles should be sorted by location etc to make the profiles easier/quicker to sift through…
    Another thing that really bothers me is the watered down PC froums that are on the site. First they have to be voted in. Secondly some censors (one in particular) just delete entire threads because they don’t like someone and not because they violated any rule which are too many!
    There should be some kind of chat room as well on the site.

  59. Tristan Says:

    My account appears to be deleted,
    but I am not sure what I have done wrong.
    None of the possible reasons mentioned
    in the help section apply to me.

    I assume the e-mail address that I use to submit
    this message should suffice for you to identify me.

    I do not want to miss my ‘date’
    tomorrow, and I have no handy way
    now to reach my new friend.

    . . . unless I make a new profile,
    but I like to wait with that until
    I hear back from you.

    from downtown Vancouver

  60. RGoldest Says:

    Hired my first programmer. What?

  61. 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.

  62. Darren Martin Says:

    I would like it if Marcus would give me some guidence on making my site grow, its called…itslonggone.com a lost found stolen website that I hope to make international.
    In mid June the usa part will be available.
    And Im going to Toronto this Friday for cbc Dragons Den.

    Thanks Darren

  63. John Says:

    When I was on PlentyOffish I wondered why only 10% of my messages were ever answered. UNREAD/DELETED I can understand but it never happened. It was always UNREAD. It seems most of the people are phantoms, ie. people who sign in and just don’t bother going back to delete their profiles. To test this I left a profile there with the headline PLEASE REPORT ME and it has been there with an ADVERTISMENT FOR OASISACTIVE for 9 months. I have not logged in but I am still getting matches. I might just start another few dozen profiles and advertise some more.

  64. Emr vendor list Says:

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  65. Online ccna classes Says:

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  66. SERIOUS Says:


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