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A comprehensive review of Plenty Of Fish (POF) [3 out of 5 stars]

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Maraphax

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 2013/06/11
Posts: 16
Plenty Of Fish is a free-ish dating website. I say this because there are some premium (paid) features that one can opt for. Over the last few years these have changed some, but for the most part you can do just about everything you need to to find someone, talk with them, and ultimately meet. Unlike other scam sites (my term for sites like Zoosk), you can actually message people indefinitely. No need to pay.

POF has a rather simple interface, and no fancy colors. This means it's easy to see on both a computer desktop monitor and a phone or tablet. The layout of profiles is very simple, and pictures are decent in image quality limits. The free user can upload 8 pictures, with premium users allows to upload more. Pictures can have captions.

The profile sections are pretty cut and dry, and honestly if someone puts a little effort into it there's a lot to be learned in a profile. If not, then you'll be left with basic stats. For those who want the site to do more work for you, OKCupid might be better as it seems to have a superior method of ranking potential matches.

The POF mobile app is designed well, and operates smoothly. It's easy to move through, and profiles are easy to read. Using the app to update your profile is also fairly straightforward.

POF's user base is large, and worldwide. Searching for people is a fairly easy task, and you have a variety of settings available to make your search as narrow or broad as you like.

The problem with POF is that recent changes by the admin have many people upset, but there is a small core group of users, many who are moderators, who support him publicly. There is a man on this Dating Site Reviews forum who mentions specific female moderators, and he is correct when he points out the troublemakers.

Right now, there is a rather bitter debate on the newest site change. The recent change has it so that you are unable to message anyone +/- 14 years of your age. Most people are upset about this for a number of reasons... some because they feel age is just a number, others because they are upset at the idea that they aren't allowed their choice on who to contact. The general opinion it seems by most users is that they should be allowed to contact whoever, because anyone who signs up is an adult (18+), and that if someone doesn't want people beyond a certain age range sending them messages it should be THEIR responsibility to set those restrictions.

There are some people who are claiming they were in contact with people +/- 14 years and then suddenly were unable to send them messages. One guy had his birthday recently and suddenly a gal he was talking with was not reachable. A couple other women stated that if a woman in her late 40's wants to date a man in his early 30's that should be her decision and not the website admin's. Again it comes back to someone at the top treating members like they are adolescents who can't make responsible decisions for themselves.

This is a recent change, as in within the last month, and unlike any of the other changes, perhaps the most significant change any dating site has ever enacted. It is confusing to most people why this was done. The official reason stated is to keep the creepy old people from messaging the young, innocent ones (that isn't verbatim but that was the reason given).

Of those core moderator females and a few others, a small number of people actually think this is a good thing. They say they're glad. The point they miss is that setting it as an option is better for them and everyone else, because it allows them to restrict things in this way, but also allows others with more open expectations to message each other.

The final bone of contention with many users is that when you try to message someone +/- 14 years of your age, the system tells you "This person isn't accepting any messages from someone your age or gender." This is misleading, because often that person never turned on that feature. It's the system-wide change that decided for them. So it's also misleading.

This is just one of a couple questionably unethical decisions made by the admin with a very weak justification. And unfortunately, it seems all the female moderators are reigning in on some of the complaints being voiced in the site feedback section of the forums (which is supposed to be open to this).

SO... where does this leave POF?

Before this recent age restriction change, I would have told you that POF in of itself was good, because it was simple in design, had a functionally practical mobile app, and it was easy to quickly find out who was a waste of time and who wasn't. I've met a number of people off of POF. But the new restrictions pose a threat to the flexibility of the site, and suggest that the admin's personal views on dating are becoming more important than what people want. Among other restrictions, there no longer is an option for what used to be called "Intimate encounter". I think that's a bad idea, because in his effort to remove people who just want a hook-up, he's forced their profiles to now show up in searches elsewhere. Also, another recent restriction prevents men from sending images in private messages, but continues to allow women to do so. To me, that's sexism in fact, not in opinion, because it's sexism as a system policy.

So what then should you do? Use POF? Well it depends. If you aren't concerned with meeting someone +/- 14 years out of your age, then sure, why not... but then as one user suggested, you might LIST that you want someone within, say, 15 years of your age, but someone exceptional might message you that's a year more distance apart than 15 and could be your soulmate... except POF will prevent you from ever meeting that person.

The idea that a site would prevent you from meeting someone (as opposed to individual users restricting and blocking people) is to me kind of absurd considering the purpose of the site is a dating site.

Are there alternatives? Some... Datehookup works remarkably similar, with no restrictions. The search engine is simpler and the image quality of the user pics is terrible to say the least... there aren't as many categories or other features. But Datehookup is free. Unfortunately, it lacks the same huge userbase that POF still has. Is POF losing people? YES. It's been proven by a couple people who posted statistics. Is it a little or a lot? Maybe somewhere in between, but it's a growing trend. But where are they going?

It's fragmenting things... a lot of them will end up BACK on OKCupid, which is where POF stole most of their users from to begin with. OKCupid is putting in new efforts to redesign things.

Honestly, most of the other free sites have nothing but fake profiles or simply not enough functionality. OKCupid might be a bit too complicated for most people, whereas POF is simpler and easier, but if I had to choose between the two, these new policy changes at POF are making me choose OKC as the new, REASONABLE site to go to.

POF would get 5 out of 5 stars from me were it not for this new trend towards restrictive and biased policies. The absurdity of these recent changes is enough to warrant a loss of two stars. It would have resulted in a loss of three, but the POF userbase is still large enough that for most people they should still manage to find someone and connect through the site.

So... POF gets 3 out of 5.

POF ranking: ***--

Make of that what you will.

Mr. Tibbs

Anonymous
You sum up Plenty of Fish pretty good and most of what you stated I agree with. I can't believe they did that age restriction thing for messaging. It doesn't affect me as much since maybe in the last 2 months I talked to about 3 people who would have been filtered out by this new restriction... but talk about being control freaks.

I keep all my photos in my profile so I haven't sent a picture in a while. I didn't realize I couldn't do this anymore... grrr.

It is hard enough being a single middle aged man on a dating site, now with these extra restrictions I think I might move elsewhere.

I was thinking of trying out the free site Date Hookup. I read somewhere that Match.com bought them out. I am a little worried about investing time in the site and then it going paid. Then again Match has owned OkCupid for a while and they don't seem to have done many changes to it. I am also going to be getting a smartphone soon so I am interested in trying out some of these dating apps. Do you know which one is better, Date Hookup or OkCupids dating app on the iPhone?


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Maraphax

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 2013/06/11
Posts: 16
I will be writing a review of Datehookup later tonight, as well as a mobile app roundup review. I also want to write about what I call "scam sites" so stay tuned.

Zooaroo

Anonymous
Yes plenty of fish has more restrictions now but I am still using it successfully to find myself some dates, I just had one last night.

Plenty of fish deserves a 5 because you just can't beat the amount of active members the site has. I can see ranking it lower if another free site was even close but none are and the number of quality members is the most important part of a dating site Exclamation

Status: offline

Maraphax

Forum User
Junior
Registered: 2013/06/11
Posts: 16
I wouldn't give it a 5 because I am concerned that placing those particular kinds of restrictions to me is almost (if not) insulting to us as consenting adults. I place ethics of site administration high on my list of criteria, and something like this age restriction and the blatant restrictiveness placed on male accounts versus female accounts constitutes a bold breach of ethics by today's modern standards.

Did you know that not only are men not allowed to send pictures while females are allowed to, but that women have a special "flirt" feature letting them send men a notification? Men do not get this feature, and are forced to write a message. A woman can "flirt" which just sends the man a message that she is interested.

Sexism and ageism is to be something that should have been left behind with internet dating sites since internet dating sites began over ten years ago, and the idea that these would be put BACK into practice by a site is detestable to say the least. It suggests the administration has a low opinion of its own user base.

So yes, for me who wrote this review, Markus cost his Plenty of Fish dating site two stars for these terrible decisions.

Am I still personally interacting with people there? Yes, I am. Have I gone out on dates? Yes. Like you, I'm unaffected for the most part by these restrictions, but when I reviewed the site, I didn't take into account my needs alone. As I mentioned in my review, there are some people that are fine with the restrictions. My concern is that their lack of concern dictates a decision for EVERYONE system-wide. It should be USER-CONFIGURABLE restrictions, not what has been put in place.

This is why I gave OKC one more star. OKC is a bit more complicated than POF so it loses a star for that, but it has integrity and open-mindedness and caters to MANY lifestyles, not just a traditional 1950's ideology of romance like Markus of POF would prefer to have.

That is an important distinction! And that openness grants OKC back another star which is why they get 4 and POF's recent bad administrative behavior lands them at just 3 stars.

You don't have to agree with me. It's just my opinion, which is all a review really is.

Zooaroo

Anonymous
You don't have to agree with me. It's just my opinion, which is all a review really is.


I wasn't trying to bash your opinion just give you my take on what is more important for me in a dating site. I enjoyed reading your review and all of your points are valid. I guess I just hate when I join a dating site that sounds good but has no, or very few members that live no where close to me.

I can live with a few restrictions that allow me to meet new people. In reality we live with sexism and ageism in the real world all of the time. Senior discounts, ladies nights at bars, clubs for a specific gender. There is not much I can do about so we just live with it.

Rick

Anonymous
I got banned from POF. There forum moderators are a real pain and you cannot say anything without them censoring your post or just out right deleting it.

I agree with you about this dating site. With all these new restrictions it has gone to sh@t. I was a long time user of almost 10 years and this past year has been the worse. I really miss the old Plenty of fish, before it was called POF.

don

Anonymous
grumpy
I've never posted before, but agree with your rating of POF. I only caught on the last few days that when I searched for a specific age range and got all older results I saw that my search criteria had been changed.


When I asked POF what was happening,I got a reply which basically said I was "looking for a hookup". Marcus is playing GOD and he ain't.

Hello,

Thank you for taking the time to email POF.com.

Users cannot contact or search for others who are more than 14 years older or younger than their own age (or +/- 9 years for those under age 22).

POF is all about relationships. We made this update because research has shown that almost all successful relationships occur between users within that age range. The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges were from users looking for hookups.

Anyone who tries to get around this rule will get deleted.

We appreciate your understanding, and hope you will use the search to find potential matches who interest you.

Need more help? Check out the Help Center for answers to all your questions:
http://www.pof.com/HelpCenter/helpcenter_faq.aspx

Regards,

Ashley M
POF Team
POF.com

Paul

Anonymous
okay
Do not use Pof at all
They keep charging u after u shut down account
And profile
It redirect u to iTunes on there it got close account
U click on there . Then it say u have purchased and it will automatically renewed
I had to shut down my PayPal account hopefully that works

MrPeabody_hfx

Anonymous
angry
I agree, the +/_ 14 years age thing is blatant discrimination based on age. Who does the own think he is to be MY or HER moral compass. Maybe I want to have kids? Maybe she wants security and likes older men because we are more settled. Maybe I just want some arm candy to show off at social functions. Maybe she wants to be arm candy and go to social functions. I am 55.. and you show me ONE 21 year old that would not want to go to a 5 star restaurant by limousine, in a $25000 fur coat wearing $50,000 in diamonds. Find ONE 21 year old that wouldn't marry a 55 year old in a heart beat even if it was just to wait til he kicked the bucket. If I am willing to lay out the cash for arm candy, and she is willing to be arm candy.. who do admin think they are to say NAY!
Mind you, that isn't ME. But it could be some other rich old coot with a limp noodle that wants to appear virile for various reasons. How old is Hugh Heiffner? Maybe POF owner should write and moralize to him? Or to the girls at the playboy mansion, and see what they have to say about it.

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