My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

Online dating
September 30, 2019
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Plenty of Fish
3.0 ★★★☆☆
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78 million members 2 million logins daily 60% / 40% Male & Female
60% / 40% Male & Female
3/5 hookup chance Medium Sex Chance Geography USA, Europe, International
low fraud risk Verification email Mobile App iOS, Android
$19.35 - $81.40 subscription price Free version basic
Free version basic
USA, Europe, International
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Plenty of Fish (POF) has been around for 16 years. It’s the biggest dating platform out there — 55,000 people sign up to the platform every day. The website’s reputation has not always been stellar — POF had several court cases under its belt, too.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 01 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

To sort rights from wrongs, I decided to give Plenty of Fish my undivided attention for a month. After all, a platform as big as this one deserves some time to get to know all the nitty-gritty. I will analyze Plenty of Fish by the following factors:

  • Affordability: how much do you have to pay, and is the upgrade worth your coin.
  • Interface: how complicated is the website.
  • Audience quality: are 90 million users are legit or not.
  • Security and privacy: let’s shed some light on security scandals.
  • Hookup chances: can you find a relationship or a quick hookup here.

Brace yourself and prepare a snack, because I have a lot to say.

Plenty of Fish app screenshot 04 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

Affordability

★★★☆☆

Free services

The website has one of the best free versions out there. Without cashing out, I could send text and voice messages, sort users by their activity to see online and offline profiles, use filters, and preview profiles. The disappointment comes later — the free version is full of ads, and I wished to unsee some of them.

Paid services

As far as the average market price goes, POF is relatively cheap: $19.35/m in a 2-months membership, $12.75/m in a 4-month subscription, $10.18 for eight months, and so on. The longer is the subscription, the less is the monthly cost.

In two weeks of my free user journey, I decided to upgrade my profile. The paid functionality turned out to be worth the price. I could finally see if a partner read my text, monitor profile visitors, send daily gifts, and block all the ads.

You can message users, send voice memos, check online matches, and filter the feed for free

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 02 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

Audience quality

★☆☆☆☆

Let’s take a look at the average POF user, both from my experience and statistics.

Age and gender distribution

During my 30-day exploration, I mostly talked to young users of 25-30 years old. I assume the website was promoting these matches on purpose, keeping options close to my age. Still, to get a broader picture, I dug into statistics, and here’s what I found: the website has users of 18 to 55 years old, 60% of users are male. Interestingly, this 60%-40% proportion remains stable for all age groups.

Fakes and scammers

As I started browsing the feed, one thing caught my eye. Just at the top, I saw a familiar stock image — once you spent enough time on dating websites, you start recognizing these very quickly.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 05 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

To prove my suspicions, I turned to my best friend — Google Image search, to trace the origins of the picture. No surprise, the photo was overused on other dating profiles and stock albums.

With guys profiles, the situation is slightly more optimistic. There are significantly more male users on the website, and apparently, POF feels less need to attract female users with fakes.

Many guys are attracted to the website by fake profiles

Interface

★★★☆☆

The main page is minimalistic and modern. I wasn’t awkward about visiting the platform at my workplace in my spare time since there was nothing worth hiding. As a person who has seen much dirtier feeds, I was pleasantly surprised with POF.

Signing up

The registration form is basic. You need to come up with a unique username — that’s a challenge because of a huge user pool, enter a password, a valid email address, specify your gender, birth date, ethnicity, and country. I took two minutes to fill out the form.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 06 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

As I was through with the form, the website landed an unexpected blow. It turned out they don’t like my username. Requirements are very confusing — according to POF guidelines, I do everything correctly. I tried and retried, and then again — and still had no progress.

With trial-and-error, after wasting more than an hour on hopeless online search, I finally managed to get my username approved. By that point, the name was nothing like I would’ve wanted, just a random letter combination.

Profile

POF requires new users to pass SMS validation. I entered my phone number and waited for the text for several minutes. The registration process already took me a good while, and this was becoming more annoying with each next step.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 08 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

Finally, I got my text with the profile validation link. After I got redirected to the website, my account was finally considered active.

Searching

The number of online users is encouraging — whenever you visit the website, you’ll see at least 400,000-600,000 active users, at any given moment.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 04 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

I love that a free version includes the possibility to see user status — you can see who’s online and contact only active users.

Chat

After a minute or so after validation, I got approached by several potential matches, both men and women. The messages seemed real — typical “Hello” and “I like your profile.”

The message history here is easy to track. Conversations are divided into “All Messages,” “Sent Messages,” “Contact History,” and “Top Prospects.” You can prioritize people with whom you are actively chatting over random first-time contacts.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 07 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

To see if the message was read, you need to upgrade the account to the premium membership.

I can’t say that upgrading to the premium version made my experience better. Seeing how my texts get deleted in a few seconds is very discouraging.

Mobile app

One thing I loved the most about POF is its functional mobile app. I could even say that it’s better than a desktop version. All functionality from the full version is available in the application. The interface is nice and clean — the overall feel is better than on desktop.

Plenty of Fish app screenshot 01 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

On the mobile app, you start from selecting a feature, and the app redirects you to your profile, feed, chat, or map. The mobile messenger is comfortable and well-organized. You can choose to receive a notification whenever you receive a message or choose to be alerted if the priority contact has reacted out. I decided to mute my notifications altogether — I have a habit of checking the app regularly anyway.

I love the quality of the audio messages. The memos are high-quality, comfortable to record, and the sound is clear. Although I am not a big fan of getting an unsolicited memo, it’s great to be able to hear your date’s voice before the actual meeting.

Two minutes to sign up, one hour to pick the right username

Plenty of Fish app screenshot 03 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

Security and privacy

★☆☆☆☆

POF has its fair share of shady users. No matter how well-versed you are in spotting fake accounts, you will likely get approached by a couple of trolls. My friend, a big fan of the platform, showed me a couple of messages from her troll collection.

Trolls can be offensive, but it’s not even the worst thing about POF security. The website has been a go-to place for rapists and criminals. In 2017, it was reported that a date, scheduled on POF, turned into a disaster — the man molested a woman, says that women agree to sex by signing up to the website.

Unfortunately, this case wasn’t even a single exception. The Sun called the website the most dangerous platform in Great Britain; there were at least several molestations that have been publically brought to court. I only found out about this at the end of my 30-day trial, and I was extremely cautious ever since.

Trolls think that women agree to sex just by signing up to the website

Plenty of Fish app screenshot 02 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

Hookup chance

★★☆☆☆

Quantity isn’t synonymous with quality, and POF is the perfect proof. Even though I technically had 500,000 online users to choose from, I felt like everyone with whom I talked to, wasn’t looking for a relationship. Because Plenty of Fish is so popular, it attracts a lot of first-time triers, who are testing out the waters.

POF led me to two dates, and both were equally unimpressive. One guy was only interested in casual dates with no responsibilities from his part — although I wasn’t supposed to see anybody else. The second date was the complete opposite of the first one — I got a feeling that I’m being scouted for marriage.

The problem is apparent — POF doesn’t know how to brand themselves properly. Some users come with hopes for a serious relationship, others look for no-strings-attached hookups, while some, like me, remain undecided. It would be much better if the platform had a defined scope.

Matching algorithms

POF claims to analyze a lot of factors before pairing users up. According to their policy, a woman will never agree to a date with the shorter man. The website claims to study millions of relationships — and they even know for a fact that a tall female doctor won’t agree to meet a short carpenter.

I’ve never seen the evidence for these studies, but the website didn’t shy away from offering me shorter matches, and some of them were even unemployed.

From my experience, the matching algorithms can’t get more random than on POF. The only way to get a date here is by messaging as many interesting profiles as possible and sort them through during a conversation.

POF claims to analyze a lot of factors before pairing users up, but from my experience, the matching algorithms can’t get more random

Alternative hookup services

You can compare the prices, user pools, and features on other popular sex dating platforms.

Platform Hookup chance
Pure ★★★★★
Match ★★★☆☆
Zoosk ★★☆☆☆
OkCupid ★★★★☆
Happn ★★★★☆
Badoo ★★☆☆☆

FAQ

Is Plenty of Fish free?

Yes, it has a rich free version. You can message users, send voice memos, check online matches, and filter the feed.

Is it worth paying for Plenty of Fish?

Yes, if you want an ad-free experience. It’s also possible to see whether your message was read or deleted and receive stats on profile visitors.

What kind of dating site is Plenty of Fish?

It’s the dating website for casual dating and serious relationships.

Can I search for someone on Plenty of Fish?

Yes, you can. All you need to know is a username.

How do I delete my Plenty of Fish account?

Go to the “Delete Account” page. The website also offers alternatives — such as hiding profiles or going to Match.com, a POF’s sister-site.

Is Plenty of Fish for serious relationships?

In theory, yes. I didn’t find anything that would suit my requirements for a long-term relationship. Overall, the website is better suited for casual dating.

experience on Plenty of Fish screenshot 03 - My experience on Plenty of Fish and plenty of questions about its legitimacy

The bottom line

Plenty of Fish might be the biggest dating website, but it’s certainly not the best one. The platform is full of fakes, trolls, and shady profiles. Criminal history and made-up user pool are red flags for serious daters.

On top of that, the platform can’t find its ground between casual dating and serious relationships. While some users neglect commitments, others come with marriage in mind. You never know what you get, and neither does the partner.

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