Plenty of Fish is going through growing pains.
This young site came onto the dating scene and started to get noticed.
It’s fast, simple and places a lot of importance on active interactions via their forum and messaging system.
The 20+ years started to eat it up, and then a year ago they made a change that may make it all go away like a dream.
In 2013, Plenty of Fish decided that it would require users to pay for some of the features.
Prior to this, the site was completely free to use.
Now, the site is going through growing pains and it is hard to tell how things will go.
Plenty of Fish is simple. It is designed like it is the dating version of a social media network.
It is fast and light on dancing bears and unnecessary bells and whistles.
What this site focuses on is generating the speed of a texting or chat interaction between users while still providing a dating style environment.
You definitely get the impression that profiles aren’t the most important thing on this site, interaction is.
Refreshingly, it also appears that the majority of profiles on the site are also real.
How does it compare in the real world?
The ranking and statistics reported by Alexa on this site tell an interesting story of success, risk and change – it remains to be seen if this will also be a story of growth and recovery as well.
While highly ranked, Plenty of Fish has suffered from the decision to make part of its feature offerings pay per use.
- It is ranked 32,449 ( a drop of 3,714)
- In the US it is holding the ranking of 13,654
- The prime demographic is American, still in college and more women than men
The performance analysis for the past year allows you to pinpoint the introduction of the fees for what was a completely free service – it corresponds exactly to the drop off in usage.
What can’t be predicted is if the features of the site will attract a crowd that is willing to pay that will replace the ones they lost with the change.
Plenty of Fish comes with a surprising amount of features for a basically free site.
The one that most people are focused on (and why they join) are the forums.
The forums are lively and relationship focused and they act as a great way to meet people.
The other main features include:
- Who loves me list – a list you can save of people who liked your profile
- Extended searches that allow you to search by university or institution
- The “who will you marry” feature – this is a fun tool to see who the formula thinks you will marry on the site.
If you keep in mind that this site is targeted to 20 something Americans, then the features begin to make sense.
This site is modeled off of social networking so the focus is less on creating lengthy profiles and doing quizzes and more on high speed interactions in the forums.
Price and membership
Plenty of Fish is free(ish).
It is free to sign up and use the account, but you have to pay for any of the extended features, including the forums now.
This has led to a radical drop off in membership.
In 2013, when it started asking members to pay to access certain features the result was that members abandoned the site in droves and it hasn’t recovered.
It remains to be seen if they will stick to the pay for feature use (including giving gifts and raising profile rankings) or if they will take a hint from the drop off in membership and go back to being free, or just become a subscription membership site.
A lot of people come to Plenty of Fish with high expectations because it has such an incredible reputation.
The decision to begin charging for certain features and to have a “credit” buy-in system has seriously hurt Plenty of Fish.
However, this could also just be a transition point in their demographics.
They have a solid and engaging platform that is ideal for 20 somethings, they may still recover so writing them completely off isn’t right just yet.