When I began venturing out into the untamed wilderness of online dating, Plenty Of Fish was one of the first dating sites I came across. Off I went to explore, but almost as soon as I signed on to POF, I was ready to sign off.
I know I’m far from alone when I say that POF seemed like the wasteland of online dating. It felt like all I could find was men looking for instant hookups, many of whom were more than twice my age. POF was many things, but none of them was the dating experience I was looking for.
On May 20, 2013, POF Founder and CEO Markus Frind sent out an email that could change the face of the site forever. He is giving POF a makeover, one that he hopes will steer the site away from hookups and towards daters who are looking for real relationships.
Frind recently shared his vision for a new Plenty of Fish in an interview with Elizabeth Denham of the Huffington Post. "We wanted to generate more relationships among women, and men for that matter," he said, "and the best way to do that was eliminate this kind of behavior."
The list of proposed changes includes:
- Automatically deleting first contact between users that contains sexual references
- Banning contact between users with more than a 14-year age difference
- Eliminating the “Intimate Encounters” category of dating
Frind has also implemented a photo policy that applies solely to male users on the site. "We blocked the ability of men to send photos to women because men were misbehaving in some photos,” he explains. Women, however, can still send photos to men.
One reason for the focus on hookups could be POF users’ move to mobile. POF went from 20% mobile to 70% mobile in a year and a half, a change that Frind believes is strongly responsible for the increase in hookups on the site. "It just makes you use it differently,” he says of mobile dating. “It generates a different kind of perception, a different kind of feel."
On a site that reigned supreme because of the hookup culture it supported, the changes Frind has made are bound to make a big impact. He claims he’s already seen dramatic differences in the way users write their profiles, and says he received 150,000 emails within 12 hours of announcing the changes, the majority of which were overwhelmingly supportive.
For more information on this free dating site you can read our POF.com review.