They say there are plenty of fish in the sea, and PlentyofFish.com, whose name takes inspiration from that quote, wants to help you find them. Whether your problem is that you’ve just gotten out of a relationship and are ready to get back in the saddle, or you’ve been single and ready to mingle for some time now, POF (as the site is also called) is usually among the top solutions.
Our experts have put together some of the key facts you should know about the site and app, which work in pretty much the same way. We’ve also put together a list of five alternative sites whose waters you can dip your toe in.
Plenty of Fish: Popular & Totally Free But Lots of Vetting Needed (4.5/5.0 Rating)
Markus Frind, who got his degree in Computer Systems Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, created Plenty of Fish in 2003. He ran the site by himself until 2008, and now the company has around 75 employees. The POF app for iOS and Android launched in 2010, and Markus said more than 85% of the site’s traffic comes from mobile as of 2014.
Plenty of Fish is one of the most popular dating websites and always has been. The site has over 100 million users around the world, over 3 million active daily users, and over 50,000 new singles joining every day. According to Markus, everyone knows at least one person who’s found a match on POF and the site is responsible for over 1 million babies.
In terms of pop culture, Plenty of Fish has made an impact there as well. The site has appeared in numerous music videos such as Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,” Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo,” and Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me.” In 2015, POF joined the likes of OkCupid and Tinder when it was bought by The Match Group.
To create an account on Plenty of Fish, you first need to input your email address, username, password, age, gender, location, and ethnicity. Next, you’ll have to take the Chemistry Test and Relationship Needs Assessment, which could take about 30 minutes.
The former is made up of open-ended questions and covers five main areas: self-confidence, family orientation, self-control, easygoingness, social dependency. The latter is made up of multiple choice questions and has nine main areas: interdependence, self-efficacy, communication, sexuality, preferred expressions of affection, intimacy, relationship readiness, conflict resolution, and attitudes about love.
Finally, you can write a headline, upload photos, and fill out your About Me, Interests, and First Date Idea sections.
For finding matches, POF has basic (e.g., filter by city) and advanced (e.g., filter by income) search options, the Meet Me feature to quickly say “Yes,” “Maybe,” or “No” to members, and Ultra Match, which shows you a list of those who are most compatible.
Registration and all forms of matching are free — plus you can see who’s viewed your profile as well as send and receive messages.
An upgraded membership removes all ads and allows you to view extended profiles, find out if someone read or deleted your message, get priority placement on Meet Me and in search results, and see who said “Yes” to you.
As of now, the price ranges are $20 a month, $12.75 a month for four months, or $10 a month for eight months, but keep an eye out because that can (and probably will) change.
What about Plenty of Fish’s reputation? Well, the site has four stars on Google Play and three and a half on iTunes, but it’s also been called some not-so-nice names — including “the Walmart of the dating world” and “the trailer park of the online dating world.”
Because it’s basically 100% free, anyone and everyone can join, which makes it hard to sort through people who are serious about finding a date or partner and those who aren’t or who are fake. You’re also going to have more competition because of the site’s sheer size.
If we’re talking about POF user reviews, they’re all over the place. For instance, we checked out people’s thoughts on SiteJabber, and here’s what one user Brielle G. said:
“I am happily engaged to an amazing gentleman and, yes, I met him via the site. I have found that the men on this site were in comparison to OkCupid [but] much better. As with any dating (FREE especially), you need to understand how to navigate the waters… I would say give this site a month, at least.”
But here’s what another user named Issac H. had to say:
“This site sucks. I have used it on and off. I have never got any messages sent to me. No women on here that I message [will] message me back. This site sends me all the wrong kind of users as matches that think I would like. This site is not worth your time.”
Other Options to Take Into Account
Plenty of Fish isn’t a bad dating site, but we’d recommend using it in addition to a couple of others. It could be your free one, and you can spend the money you saved on ones that might be more reputable and might have more serious users. Here are our favorites:
POF may have 100 million users, but Match.com was the first online dating site ever, launching in 1995. Plus, 30 million members and 13.5 million visitors a month isn’t something to sneeze at. Match has also created more romantic connections than Plenty of Fish or any other competitors. You can sign up, fill out your information, add photos, and communicate in certain ways (send virtual winks, receive messages, etc.) — all for free.
Zoosk is probably the most comparable to POF. In regards to numbers, Zoosk has more than 38 million users, more than 3 million messages are exchanged on the platform every day, and the app has been downloaded more than 30 million times. In regards to features, Zoosk’s Carousel acts very similar to Plenty of Fish’s Meet Me. And in terms of price, Zoosk is free to do most things, and paid subscriptions cost around the same as those for POF.
Elite Singles is the premier dating site for educated professionals. Most members are upper-income with college degrees, and its impressive Fraud Detection system ensures no-nonsense dating. Full Review »
|Gender Ratio||M: 43% | F: 57%*|
EliteSingles is unlike most dating websites on the web because the site focuses on education — about 82% of members have a higher-level degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate), with 65,000 new smarty pants joining per week. The site does have a lot of free components, but not as many as POF. However, if your goal is a long-term relationship, you’re more likely to meet someone for that here.
Another service for commitment-minded singles, eHarmony takes pretty much all of the work out of online dating. The site has no searching options because it delivers matches to you using its one-of-a-kind system, which consists of about 150 questions based on 29 dimensions of compatibility. These include how you perceive yourself and the world, your capacity for kindness, and your attitude toward physical health. In a nutshell, if you don’t like Plenty of Fish, eHarmony is a great option because it’s basically the total opposite.
Since Plenty of Fish is known as being one of the more casual dating websites (whether the company wants it to be or not), we included BeNaughty in this list to satisfy you frisky men and women. Not only is it free to sign up, browse profiles, and start a conversation, but the site is also safe to use. BeNaughty requires members to verify their identity via a text or phone call and uses SSL encryption to protect your personal information (look for the lock icon before the “https”), while POF doesn’t seem to do that.
POF Is Typically a Go-To, But It’s Just One of the Sites You Can Use!
Plenty of Fish has its pros and its cons just like anything else in the world. We’ve given you a lot of facts, and now it’s up to you to decide what to do with them. Plus, since POF is free, you don’t really have anything to lose by signing up. Remember, just like there are plenty of fish in the sea, there are plenty of dating websites on the web that you can try on until you find the right fit. Good luck!
Photo sources: internetdatingawards.com, vancouversun.com