BCBUSINESS - Oct 21 - POF grew into one of the world’s most popular dating websites. Despite the popularity of its iPhone and Android apps, POF's old revenue model is under siege, as advertising doesn’t work well on the smaller screens of smartphones. POF will need to evolve to survive. POF CEO & Founder, Markus Frind, says that for people under the age of 35, 90% of POF’s visits now come from phones rather than web browsers. Frind says up to 60% of the company’s “tens of millions of EBITDA” still comes from its website. POF’s apps make money from upgraded memberships Frind is the first to admit monetization on mobile has a ways to catch up. Mark Brooks, one of the Internet dating industry’s few consultants, says that while Frind will never have the deep pockets of IAC, POF’s mobile numbers are promising. Now he just has to figure out how to make mobile visitors as valuable as its declining desktop ones. Brooks points to Craiglist for inspiration. “Most people think it’s entirely free,” he says, “and it is—except for people who want to advertise jobs, and they make a lot of money from that. Mobile is pretty much a land grab right now,” he says. “Grab as many users as you can, then figure out what to do with them.”
MOBILE MARKETING WATCH - Sep 24 - According to a new report from comScore, the preferred methods of access to dating services has gone from being desktop dominant to mobile. In 2013, 65% of all online daters were using desktop, now only 40% are accessing dating sites via desktop. Match.com maintains its lead with 6.1M visitors, POF is #2 with 4.8M, and Tinder hold #3 position in mobile with 3.6M.
by J. Barton
See full article at Mobile Marketing Watch
CLICKZ - Aug 25 - Tinder's massive growth, due largely to its mobile-first approach that appeals to Millennials, is bringing new life to the online dating industry. In just the past year, the online dating category has gone from being desktop-dominant to a mobile-first category.
Match.com has been the market leader for quite some time with ~12M multi-platform unique visitors in July 2014. When looking at the number of visitors on smartphones. Match.com maintains its lead with 6.1M visitors, but POF trails not far behind with 4.8M. Tinder is #3 with 3.6M visitors, up ~1,400% in the past year.
by Eli Goodman
See full article at ClickZ
BBC - Aug 20 - "Everyone is unique and individual but when it comes to dating and relationships, people follow a very common set of patterns", according to POF founder, Markus Frind. "Nearly 70% of the time we're able to predict exactly who you're going to end up in a relationship with," he says. At POF's headquarters, dozens of TV screens display charts and graphs that monitor, in real-time, the millions of messages that users are sending each minute on the site. With all this data, POF can quickly suggest matches to new users who fill in detailed questionnaires about themselves upon joining. POF gets ~2B page views each month and 29% of users find their partner in less than a month. Frind says the transition of users to mobile phones over the past two years has been one of the biggest challenges the company has faced.
OPW INTERVIEW - June 24 - We spoke to Markus Frind, founder and CEO of POF, about mobile, Tinder, and POF plans for Google Glass...
How are the events working out for you?
They've been working out great for the past 10 years now. We host 400-500 events a month with 28-30k showing up.
How is your offering different from Match?
All of our events are user driven. Users create the events, they promote them on the site and then people show up. Match.com plans the events and charges people to attend.
Isn't that a little more risky though?
I would say theirs is more risky. It's much easier to hold free events. From a business point of view, our users are advertising the site for free for us.
You had a $10M fund for acquisitions. What's the ideal profile of a company that you're looking for?
It was more like $30M that we wanted to invest. We're looking for a company that has ~1M in revenues, and can massively grow if we send them our traffic.
Online dating is skewing more towards mobile, do you think?
The web is going the way of the dinosaur.
Looking at what Match/IAC has done with Tinder, do you think that this was done with POF in mind? POF is a direct threat for Match.com. So their ultimate response would be to back a free app that focuses on mobile. How much of a threat is Tinder?
I don't think they have that much foresight. Although Tinder is growing in leaps and bounds, it's not like it's affecting traffic of existing dating sites. It is just bringing more people to the category.
Do you think they will launch a site? It seems like a fishing mechanism, but where's the website? They aren't sending traffic to Match yet.
95% of our users under the age of 35 are using a mobile phone. So who cares about a website?
How about the high end matchmaking? Aren't you leaving money on the table?
We will see what happens with eHarmony. Everything is just moving mobile and getting more casual, not serious.
Last year, 70% of your traffic was on mobile, what's it stand at at this stage?
85%. It still grows a percent a week.
I hear Zoosk is making close to half their revenues on mobile now. How's that compare with POF in terms of revenues.
We haven't done a lot of revenue driven features on the apps yet, so we are nowhere near where they are. I think they are at 41% from their filings. We focus mostly on getting users and retaining them.
Was developing an app for iOS less challenging than for Android?
iOS is far more challenging for us. There's just more things that can go wrong.
If you were going to give some advice to a startup. Which would you advise them to start with?
We make equivalent amounts of money from users. It doesn't matter if they are Android or iPhone. As far as I know, that applies to all of the major players.
Doesn't iOS make more money though? Are behaviors a little different?
Android makes a little more money because you don't have to pay Google 30% that you have to pay to Apple.
Do you have plans for a Google Glass app?
We have no plans for an app yet. Facial recognition is banned. So until there's a wide install base, we're not going to play with it.
What's your thoughts on wearable computing in general? Do you think wearables improve the idating experience in the next 5-10 years?
The technology is still 3-4 years from being the next big thing.
OPW - May 23 - In 2012, PlentyofFish 659K average daily visitors on its app, equating to 68% of time spent on all dating apps. In 2013, Match.com took the top mobile spot with 4.6M total unique visitors. Mobile dating revenue grew from $43M in 2009 to $213M in 2012, a 70% average.
For additional companies and details, please view the video below.
TECH CRUNCH – May 20 – PlentyofFish was the victim of a DSoS attack that affected ~1M users for 5 hours. The 40 GBps attack, which affected the company's website and mobile apps, was much larger than the 8 GBps attack which took Meetup.com offline last month. The attacker demanded $2k to stop the attack. POF has successfully mitigated the attack and is back online.
OPW - Mar 4 - We have just updated Experian Hitwise USA online dating rankings. POF took over the top spot in March 2009 and has remained there since - until today. Zoosk is now the top dating site in USA, according to Experian, with 15.78% of market share, followed by POF (13.51% of market share) and Match.com (9.63% of market share).
THE PROVINCE - Feb 1 - Markus Frind typically sees a 23% jump in sign-ups at POF between Boxing Day and the Wednesday after Feb.14. ~3.5M people log into the site every day, many of them visiting several times. POF’s 70M registered users make it the world’s largest dating site. PlentyofFish was born in 2003. Frind ran the company by himself for five years until it reached $10M in annual revenue. Today, he employs ~75 people. He won’t disclose how much revenue his private company makes but answers “of course” when asked if it makes money. He has put aside $30M for acquisitions.
by Paul Luke
See full article at The Province
MARK BROOKS - Jan 31 - Each year I interview a top dating executive at the iDate Super Conference in Las Vegas. In this 37 minute exclusive video, OPW interviews Markus Find, CEO of PlentyOfFish. See last year's interview with Dr. Neil Clark Warren of eHarmony here.
This year, given that Sam Yagan, the Founder of OKCupid, is now the CEO of Match Group, I thought I'd have a fireside chat with his instigator and nemesis, Markus Frind, the Founder of PlentyofFish. He's a controversial figure in the iDating industry executive. Let's hear what he has to say about the past years events and the future of iDating.
Please email me your thoughts on questions you'd like me to ask during the interview, to email@example.com. Thanks for your consideration.
(Full Disclosure: Markus Frind/POF was a client of Courtland Brooks from Oct '06-Mar '10, and July '11-Mar '13)
IRISH CENTRAL - Jan 5 - A 25-year-old Catholic woman who owns a dog, describes herself as thin, and drinks alcohol three times a week receive the largest number of messages than any other woman. Data compiled from POF revealed women who drink alcohol get 4.4% more messages. The most popular age for women is 25, receiving 14.4% more messages. A team of researchers examined ~1.8M messages sent between heterosexual singles. A single Catholic man who wants children, drinks socially and earns $100K -150K is proven to receive the most messages.
by Sean Dunne
See full article at Irish Central
OPW - Jan 3 - Here are the Courtland Brooks rankings of the top 10 and the worst 4 performing idating sites for PR in 2013. We used Meltwater News and our qualitative analysis.
BIG COUNTRY - Dec 11 - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott secured privacy protections for members of True.com. True Beginnings, the company behind the dating site, has to take several actions such as obtaining members’ consent to transfer their private information to a third-party buyer. In Oct, Mr Abbott objected to True.com’s proposed sale of its 43M-member database to POF.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
COURTHOUSE NEWS - Oct 22 - True Beginnings filed for Chapter 11 protection in Texas last year, and POF.com agreed to a $700K asset-purchase agreement. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has objected to the asset sale due to privacy concerns. "True does not sell members' information to third parties without your permission," the website claims. But True.com's policy goes on to say that member personal information would be considered a transferable asset in the event the website was acquired or its assets sold.
by David Lee
See full article at Courthouse News
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
BC BUSINESS - Oct 4 - Congratulations to Markus Frind, founder and CEO of POF, the 2013 Pacific Region Information Technology Entrepreneur of the Year. Frind began POF back in 2003. POF now claims 3M daily users and 71 employees. Today Frind is focusing on staying ahead of trends and technologies. Since the site launched its app in 2011, up to 75% of its users are now landing on the site via a mobile device.
CNW - Sep 18 - POF is acquiring FastLife, the world's largest speed dating and singles event company. "The direction of online dating is undeniably headed towards a merging of the online and offline worlds," said Markus Frind, founder and CEO of POF. FastLife holds ~2,400 events a year. These events have generated annual revenue of ~$2.5M. POF and FastLife will be rolling out singles events in US over the next year. FastLife was created by a husband and wife team, Justin and Annabelle Parfitt. Annabelle will continue as CEO of FastLife, which is branded as Fast Impressions in Australia. POF wants to invest ~$30M in the next 12 months."
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.