10 Years ago this week I rewrote Plentyoffish to use asp.net and it exploded a in size a few weeks later and kept on going.
Back in 2003 I did many innovative things. Some of the things that I did back than totally changed the industry
1. Introducing the concept of a image strip of profiles.
2. Allowing you to restrict what kind of people could contact you.
3. First site to use behavioral matchmaking and actually trying to predict relationships.
4. User hosted singles events at a large scale.
Its hard to imagine these days a dating site and especially a free dating site that doesn’t do at least several things on that list, back than these were revolutionary concepts in a very young industry. There are also a lot of things I did that failed. One of the things I did in 2004 was add blogging to dating profiles, it sounded like a good idea at the time but the problem is most users just create profiles and than never want to edit them. Probably the biggest feature I never got right was date night, its the exact same concept as howaboutwe.com but they came along much later executed much better on it. On pof you could just post to everyone in your area for a date on friday night.
Now after about 2006 we stopped being innovative in terms of what a consumer saw, the problem was that every time we did something that made a difference it would be copied by competitors in a matter of weeks. This would have a major impact on our growth because their network effects would increase more than ours, ie we weren’t the biggest yet. Its at that point I started focusing on innovating in the backend and sticking to making huge improvements in retention and virality. The improvements on retention and virality also had a much bigger payoff.
For the next 10 years we are going to be a lot more innovative again and hopefully redefine the industry once again.