Traffic to all dating sites declines sharply.

After holding steady for years visitors to dating sites have started to drop sharply since the summer.

Nothing better than a graph to show a point…

fortunately for  Plentyoffish traffic has increased.

76 Responses to “Traffic to all dating sites declines sharply.”

  1. Fernando Ardenghi Says:

    Yes, the entire 2009 showed big paid sites with worldwide less traffic than 1 year ago or decaying in traffic.

    It is not due to economic downturn or the traction of social networking sites.

    Social networks of the “Western World” – except Facebook- : MySpace, Hi5, Friendster, FriendFinder, Bebo, Fotolog, Tuenti , Classmates, FriendsReunited, Tribe, Ning, Orkut, Multiply, MeetUp, and others are in decadence, with less traffic than 1 year ago or decaying in traffic because Facebook are killing them.

    It is not due to the traction of Facebook.
    With over worldwide 400 million registered users but only 200 million monthly users, Facebook grow stopped. For every anxious new user entering Facebook, there is a tired old user leaving Facebook. Facebook’s traffic is steady, not growing any more.

    It is a new phenomenon. Daters had understood that the entire Online Dating Industry for serious daters in 1st World Countries is a HOAX, performing as a Big Online Casino.
    Daters got tired of being scammed with “automatic renewal” of their subscriptions and other “credit-card billing trickery”. They decided to “expel the scolex” of the “attracting, converting and retaining marketing parasites”

    Match, Chemistry, True, eHarmony, PerfectMatch, Be2, Parship, Meetic and other paid sites need to wake up and innovate. Or die and leave room for new opportunities.


    Fernando Ardenghi.
    Buenos Aires.

    • Helen Bright Says:

      Every week 65,000 males in the US alone look to dating sites for the very first time.
      Very few people EVER get “conned” more than once with these things.
      The thing is… there is always a massive supply of new people.
      People only get scammed with auto renewal once, dating sites do, and always have targetted first time daters – people with no experience of scams, and too embarrassed to ask friends about the whole thing.
      They fall for the dating thing again and again.
      No one targets savvy experienced daters – but that doesn’t mean their arent tens of thousands of other targets out there.

  2. Andre Says:

    it is facebook effect, why join any network to meet people when you’re already on the biggest network?

  3. bob Says:

    Will this result in any kind of change in the way POF is operated? Is there anything you can do to ramp up traffic, maybe CPA ?

  4. Markus Says:

    Plentyoffish is fine, rest of the industry is not.

  5. Traffic to all dating sites declines sharply Says:

    […] have to stay up and hopefully growing, like a man’s member. But I locate this page called the Plenty of Fish Blog and it tells me the numbers are falling. I know about the free dating site with that name, and this […]

  6. Betty Smorgas Says:

    Oh no! What in the hell am I going to do? Online dating is my life, as is fresh man-meat. I am suicidal. Where is my Oxycontin?

  7. Rob Says:

    Why join POF when FB is the biggest social network? Because FB isn’t for meeting people. Look at how you add friends: you import your email contacts. They’re people you already know.
    POF is about meeting new people.

    POF and FB are designed around opposite concepts and serve different purposes.

    How does FB make it easy to add people you don’t already know through work, school or through friends? It doesn’t. Most people, I’ll guess, have their profiles set to “friends only”. Privacy is one of the top topics among people on FB. No one wants to have strangers looking through their profiles.

    So you’re left with FB apps to jump start any new connections: AreYouInterested or HotOrNot or any other dating type apps.
    With the behavior of other app makers in recent times (think Scamville), why would I trust an FB app maker over POF? I wouldn’t. POF lets me input basic info and I have a sense of security / trust with Markus. I don’t know the guy or anything, but I’d trust him over any slimy app makers, any day. My FB data, much like most users’, is rich: real, up to date and valuable. By not installing any crappy apps, I’m able to control in some way how my personal data is shared.

  8. Michael Says:

    Bravo Markus! I wonder if any of your competitors will take this seriously and follow a different model, or will it take a new entry into the market to finally realize that POF is on to something.

  9. F Says:

    Wait a minute…doesn’t PoF make their money by referrals to the paid sites, which are now experiencing lower traffic…

    Sorry, Markus. The ONLY reason you’re getting more traffic is because you’re FREE and have a strong brand; however, your cash flow is from the paid sites and that means you’re going to see lower revenue eventually…

    increased traffic won’t equate to higher revenue if you’re making your revenue from the sites that are seeing diminished revenue…sure, you could say that these paid sites will beef up their referrals from PoF, but eventually people will STOP paying for online dating…

    PoF business model is not sustainable… at least where you get $$$ from referrals…

    i’ve heard PoF has introduced advertisements, but i wouldn’t know as i use Firefox and it zaps all the ads…

    PoF is mostly a ‘hookup’

    • Steve Says:


      The revenue WAS generated through ad sense, meaning the ads were not just other dating sites. People will always advertise products to get them to the consumers, that is how it was done.

      Now POF has it’s own advertising platform, meaning the advertisers directly pay markus, increasing his profits. The advertiser can advertise almost anything, and target the users that would most likely be interested in their product. Making money from ads is very sustainable, and long term.

    • Matt Czarnek Says:

      Who says you have to market paid dating sites on plenty of fish? There are other related sites that can be marketed to the dating crowd.

  10. Dustin Says:

    Here’s a tip, sell your garbage website to Google and maybe they’ll make it easier to use.

  11. Nikolaev Says:

    Simply delicious!

  12. Milton Says:

    What the heck is going on with the appearance of POF? (Feb 12, 2010). The text scrolls right off the screen. Do I have to scroll right-and-left in order to read someones “About me” section now? It’s a mess!

  13. Markus @ Says:

    I think the trend is a combination of, the intro of the new social network sites such as facebook ect. This may have “stolen” some of the traffic from the dating sites.
    Good post.. Though I’m more in to the real game, if you have the same interest you should definitely check out my site..

    All the best markus

  14. Milton Says:

    Dude, your website is falling apart. A textbook example of poor design being stretched beyond its breaking point.

    POF is circling the drain.

  15. Tom Says:


    Looks like something’s missing. What happened to your most recent post?

    **Okcupid’s Profile myths post is not true.**

  16. mark daniel Says:

    Congrats Markus on all your success. Any advice to a fellow web developer that is trying to launch a website just for locals? Do you think I should offer an online registration for dating or let the big guys do this?

  17. Nan Says:

    I went on your website:….I see no advertising…none!
    I was going to use you and your business to show a client what was possible with hard work and ….aaaaack! What happened? It looks like you have no Google Adsense and no other advertising on there.
    Please explain!
    Thank you, Nan

  18. Pemo Says:

    Hey Markus Wot happened to your 13Feb post ‘OKCupid’s Profile myths post is not true’? From Google Reader the link leads to a 303 error page now? Did they tell you to remove it or something? Pity good to have a bit of challenge to the consensus.

  19. dating Says:

    Chances are you’ve never dated a corporation before. But don’t be intimidated

  20. GoogleFreak Says:

    I don’t like Facebook there is privacy concerns. The nice thing about POF is that your privacy is pretty much protected. Your real name won’t be splattered all over the internet. Your photos will be deleted when you delete them. There are many reasons why POF popular.

    What POF lacks is long term email storage, perhaps they can offer such a service for a small fee or it can be an added feature to “serious members”?

  21. How To Fix A Troubled Marriage Says:

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  22. Emy Says:

    I think suggesting that facebook is stealing paid traffic is a bit naive. When you actually look at what goes on within FB you will notice that most of it still just advertising with links to paid dating and sex sites that require registration with a credit card. So maybe you’re just looking in the wrong places.

    I’m not saying there’s no value in what you say but sites like MSN have been around for years so why now would they suddenly start having a huge effect on paid dating sites.

    Also the comment about FB traffic and user numbers is totally wrong. It is consistently increasing. Not because of free dating opportunities but because of free marketing, an open network and very cheap advertising.

    It’s a fact that FB now gets more traffic than Google and Google openly admits that FB is the only opposition they truly fear. Couple that with cheap paid advertising and FB really is a force to be reckoned with.

    But not for free dating opportunities…they exist no more at facebook than they do anywhere else.


  23. Emy Says:

    Perhaps I should clarify further what I said about “free dating opportunities” on Facebook.

    The supposed free dating is generally just marketing by people masquerading as teenagers (or genuine teenagers) who then send you to a website that requires age verification with a credit card. Nothing has really changed just different sites using different techniques to achieve the same results.

    How do I know this? Because I do it myself and it works. Personally I do quite nicely out of it so I comment from experience and a fairly healthy bank balance.

    Like I said, just looking in the wrong places.

  24. Devin Daken Says:

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  25. Jacovy Says:

    I think Marcus was a genius. He set the bar and made a great site that shows that with a little luck and a lot of hard work anything can be done. We have used his business plan and have grown 150% in the last month. I don’t think the free internet model is dead just yet.


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  27. Looks don’t matter for Plenty Of Fish | Says:

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  28. Wazza Says:

    defenatly has something to do with all the free social sites like facebook, bebo n such.

    Are the dating sites that are losing traffic paid or free?
    What ever your doing Markus is working a treat, so keep it up.

    Once again,

  29. Chat Says:

    POF is a great innovator and well liked in the dating circle. Sure it is simple in design – but then again so is Craigslist. He is on to something here and really the rush to FB is over. Facebook is not a meeting spot – it’s a place to vent and talk about what color underwear you have on.

  30. 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.

  31. Johnny5o Says:

    The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently ruled that a business must use its domain name to sell goods or services in order to protect the name — even if a competitor starts to use the name after you registered the domain.

  32. bongalblog Says:

    There is another new boy hot on the heels of POF.
    Another free site.

  33. Toby Says:

    Everything seems to be ok?

    It is normal some sites grow, some decrease in traffic and some stay around the same.

    Pof has surpassed also has been growing again the last month slightly. Seems like pof has reached saturation now as all singles on the web are using pof by now?

    In general I would say hitwise is bollocks…Alexa is quite precise for the big sites….only advantage is Alexa ignore websites without DMOZ entry in categories.

  34. Internet Dating USA Says: is buying out competitors and partnering with others, more so in 2010. I’m not sure how the stats are going to show this because of domain changes, closing of sites to USA traffic (Meetic) and “Powered By” operation changes. Also the chart is a little confusing. It looks like you are saying Sharp decline but I see only 1% change on the graph.

  35. NIKE NINJA Says:

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  36. TropicL adult dating Says:

    The market is getting crowded with dating site’s , white label dating company’s are opening all over the place and of course you have facebook taking over the world , damn you facebook and the time you have taken away from me !!!

  37. Toby Says:

    Revenue is more interesting though then traffic. Some sites are a lot smaller then POF, but have more revenue. Pageviews and reach is not a good indicator for how good a business performs. I don’t know the precise numbers, but still earns more then POF.

  38. Patrick Says:

    anyone have any luck making money wit plentyfish ad i tried it i didnt do any good

    • dave Says:

      yeah, i’ve run a few campaigns with PoF. i have one campaign currently making about 3$ for every 1$ i spend. i have been satisfied so far.

      tried to take this campaign over to facebook and got denied for basically no reason at all.

      i think PoF’s business/ad model is quite solid and will be around for some time. ridiculously targeted demographics FTW!
      good luck

  39. Kristen Davis Says:

    I look forward to you writing more about this. This was a great post.

  40. chat line Says:

    it’s hard to get chat line traffic to a dating site or a chat line site. You must spend a lot of money on advertising. Can you please update the stats graph? I remember plentyoffish was aggressively advertising phone chat line services a year or so ago.

  41. Home Security Says:

    of course internet dating is the trend these days, you can meet lots of people on the internet “:-

  42. Dmitry Says:

    what is going on with dating traffic right now?

  43. Medical apps Says:

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  44. Bryant Mcmahon Says:

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  45. Shawn Sears Says:

    Free dating websites traffic usually does not decline

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  47. John Says:

    It’s interesting to see how the stats apply not only to dating websites, but to lots of other websites that are also aimed at discretionary spending in the consumer market. I suppose the amount of traffic for any given site really would depend on how much SEO work one did on their site plus the total number of searches available, so if the total searches go down then individual webmasters need to work even harder to generate the same amount of hits. How this translates to actual sales, though, is yet another factor that makes it all the more difficult to predict how much doing all of this is actually worth to you or I.

  48. Aurora Says:

    Only on POF because it’s free. Have found all dating sites the same. Lots of time, minimum results. I just don’t have that kind of time to donate. POF should make money from the ads because it is free to members, makes perfect sense. However, not all of the ads there are from dating sites. In fact, most I’ve seen are not, more to do with health, exercise, weight loss, products etc. So the impact of the declining ads from the fall of other dating sites shouldn’t even ripple the surface waters. Hang in there, Markus. Also, if there really is a serial killer out there targeting POF women, I would like to know about it, please provide news reports from actual newspapers or reputable big name TV news programs? Could you not assume all dating sites vulnerable to any kind of crime since it is an unavoidable element of online presence, period. Dating site or otherwise. Anything on the internet can be faked out/doctored. But as a woman, I am very interested to hear/read about this because I found it interesting you said this about a serial killer without providing any official, actual supporting data whatsoever. If safety of women is really your concern and not just bashing POF which could, realistically in the context of your claim, be any dating site out there on the WWW, why not provide us with some evidence for our own edification and safety?

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