This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
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.
HUFFINGTON POST - June 5 - Markus Frind is trying to eliminate those on POF who are looking to hook up rather than to find a real relationship. Frind attributes the recent increase in hook up offers to the increase in mobile application use. "We went from 20% mobile to 70% in a year-and-a-half." He relayed that the mobile app use is later at night and more casual with more condensed messages."When men send messages, they try to do it in the minimum amount of words possible," Frind noted. "So what they do is use certain combinations of words. So you pick 30 words and you block those words and you solve the problem." Feedback from his recent email and changes to the site has been overwhelmingly favorable.
OPW - May 21 - Markus, the CEO/Founder of Plentyoffish sent this unusual email out yesterday to POF users. What's your thoughts. Please comment in the comments section...
My name is Markus and I created POF/Plentyoffish. When I created POF, I wanted it to be all about finding relationships with the right person. For the first 7 years this worked really well, I got the site to 10 million users without any employees people and POF was generating a ton of relationships. Around 3 years ago, everyone started using the website via mobile phones. Today about 70% of POF use is via a mobile phone and unfortunately about 2% of men started to use POF as more of a hookup site mostly due the the casual nature of cell phone use.
In sticking with my vision that POF is all about Relationships, I'm going to make a bunch of changes to ensure it stays a relationship-focused site.
1. Any first contact between users that contains sexual references will not be sent. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will be deleted without warning. This rule has actually been in effect since last month and it's made the site so much better.
2. You can only contact people +/- 14 years of your age. There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old women. The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hookups. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will get deleted.
3. Intimate Encounters will go away in the next few months. There are 3.3 Million people who use the site every day, of those there are only 6,041 single women looking for Intimate Encounters. Of those 6,041 women, the ones with hot pictures are mostly men pretending to be women. Intimate Encounters on POF can be summed up as a bunch of horny men talking to a bunch of horny men pretending to be women.
In short the vast majority of people will not be impacted. This is because the vast majority of people are not going around spamming women saying "let's have sex tonight". I can't change POF alone, I need your help to get the word out there that POF is all about relationships!
FEEDFRONT - Apr 23 - iPyxel Creations has launched a new ad platform that simplifies working with POF.com. The tool, called POFpro, enables affiliate marketers to track, automate, and scale POF traffic source. POF gets 432M monthly visits, 9.8 billion monthly page views, and 4.3M daily uniques.
OPW - Feb 19 - The highlight of the iDate Las Vegas was the Online dating disruption panel moderated by Dan Slater, author of "Love in the Time of Algorithms". In the first part of the panel Dan Slater gave a quick overview of the history of online dating. Then Steve Carter (VP of Matching at eHarmony), Brian Bowman (CEO of LikeIt), Lawrence Cervantes (Managing Editor of AnastasiaDate International) and Dan Winchester (IntroAnalytics) discussed what is online dating disruption and where it is happening. Dan Slater pointed out few stages of disruption that happened in the past such as eHarmony's heavy TV advertising, the rise of free dating sites, behavioral matching and offline dating. Of course now it's Facebook with its Graph Search that might shake things up.
Steve Carter: What disrupted online dating more than eHarmony was the changing societal attitude about being online. eHarmony got people to realize that online dating wasn’t just for hookups. Freemium or free services have been very disruptive. What Facebook is trying to do and what everyone is afraid of, it is to leverage that enormous amount of data that is out there on people. Any use of big data offers the potential for mass disruption.
Dan Winchester: I would argue that there hasn’t been any meaningful disruption in the last 13 years. The closest I’d say anyone has come to disruption is the free space.
Brian Bowman: eHarmony took the high end of the business away. POF and took out the bottom end of the industry. The biggest reason dating hasn’t innovated is the business model, and this 1990 model of charging to communicate obfuscates all kinds of innovation. The major innovation in dating is going to be infusing social networking.
Larry Cervantes: I think instead of being disruptive, a lot of what we call innovation is simply adoption and implementation, which AnastasiaDate does as a business model. One example is the video chat market, which may not be as prolific on some domestic sites but is a major mover in our.
The other issue is the pay model. We don’t have a membership component but we feel it’s fair that you cut the largest slice you like and pay as you go. I don’t think that international dating is a disruptor per se because our clientele are kind of different animal.
Dan Slater: Would you say having moved mail order brides online has moved the yardstick at all in terms of enhancing a number of folks who are interested in it because now it’s so easy to access. Do you think online dating has shifted the stigma a bit?
Larry Cervantes: The shift has been in the international move, the ease of travel and the Internet itself… the wall is coming down.
Dan Slater: In the past year or so we’ve been hearing a lot about social dating. But it still only appeals to a very small segment.
Dan Winchester: Social is all about eroding privacy. Dating is all about respecting privacy.
Brian Bowman: Privacy doesn’t matter. I believe the role of a dating site is to let me have a great first date. The industry does a horrible job of matching. People are having bad dates because we just don’t have enough information on people to match them.
Dan Slater: What impact Facebook Graph search may have on the online dating?
Dan Winchester: Graph search, in my view, is Facebook trying to add intent into their already well established advertising business. They want to serve job ads, dating ads, classified ads but they don’t want to become a dating site.
Dan Slater: What if it’s not about dating. Facebook has always been used for dating, but now it just has this enhanced dating capability.
Dan Winchester: Facebook is saying we’re no longer going to be a social network; we’re going to be dating site. They could do that but they can’t do both.
Brian Bowman: If they want to do this they are absolutely positioned to do it better than anybody because they know a tremendous amount about you and they know who you are. The question is, is that a priority for them?
Steve Carter: Facebook doesn’t really know that much about us. Does anyone know why Google hasn’t entered this space?
Dan Winchester: I didn’t get the sense that Facebook users are on Facebook saying I really wish Facebook was a dating site. This isn’t going to disrupt dating because dating is actually a pretty simple problem to solve. It’s about discovery and messaging and that’s already being done very well and the only way to disrupt it is to do it cheaper.
Larry Cervantes: Google is ideally positioned to create a separate dating function. I think there’s a lot of media out there, a lot of magazines that have their own proprietary dating sites.
Dan Winchester: There are plenty of people who use dating sites specifically because they don’t want to meet friends of friends. They want to meet people who they have no friends in common and if all goes wrong it is completely insulated from their life.
CBC - Feb 15 - Paid or free, strategy or serendipity, general or niche? Which formula is the right formula for the success when it comes to online dating? Lauren O'Neil from CBC hosted a live video chat and asked Markus Frind, Founder & CEO of POF; Jerry Miller, Founder & CEO of FarmersOnly.com and Joeline Hackman from GuySpy.com, a gay dating site and mobile dating app.
IRISH TIMES - Feb 14 - Companies such as AnotherFriend, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish and Spark each boast millions of messages, chats and other measures of mobile dating success. “The dating industry is moving massively towards mobile technology, with a huge percentage of users going mobile and using apps,” according to internet dating analyst Mark Brooks. Brooks says location-based mobile technology has had to broaden its scope though, to provide the vicinity as opposed to the exact location of users. “Women didn’t want to give away their exact location and GPS technologies were able to do that, showing where a person was within three metres. Now the more successful mobile dating apps provide vicinity-based services using GPS.” Brooks believes the next step in mobile dating is for the app to ask users how the date went. AnotherFriend.com, a dating site which acquired Maybefriends.com last year, has ~90K active users in any three-month period. ~20% of the site’s users log on from their smartphones, with traffic to the dating site’s app peaking at commuting times. Brian O’Neill, founder of Irish dating site Spark, says: “Some 25%of our 15K users now access the site via their smartphone.” POF has also seen massive growth in terms of apps, with 50% of the site’s Irish users now using the iPhone and android apps on a regular basis – a 250% increase in usage of the site’s mobile apps since 2011.
CTV EDMONTON - Feb 13 - David Mazur and Andrea Ellis met on POF. The couple entered a contest put on by the site, for a chance to win $100K towards a dream wedding. On Wednesday, the couple found out they had beat out thousands of couples from around the world for the ultimate wedding prize. Markus Frind, founder and CEO of Plenty of Fish, says January and February are typically the busiest months of the year. “~80% of people are now using a mobile app or mobile device for meeting people or arranging dates and last year, the start of last year, everyone was doing it on a desktop or on a computer so it’s totally changed in the span of 12 months,” Frind said.
CNN - Feb 12 - Technology isn't killing courtship. But for many young couples, it's redefining what romance looks like. We've come a long way since those AOL chat rooms. Using your phone's GPS feature, mobile social apps such as Blendr, Grindr, Are You Interested? and Plenty of Fish help you zero in on potential dates, or hook-ups, right around the corner. OkCupid recently launched Crazy Blind Date, which sets users up on short notice with someone they know almost nothing about. Some young single people today would rather have information than mystery. When Jason (29 years old) was skeptical of a potential date he'd met online, he turned to Facebook. There can be drawbacks to this Facebook sleuthing, said Dr. Corinne Weisgerber, an associate professor of communication at St. Edward's University in Austin. Brushing up on someone's background pre-date means you could skip over some of those foundational moments of discovery in person, she said. Although meeting in person will always be essential, the concept of romance has evolved to the point where weeks of IM or e-mailing can plant seeds of a relationship.
After 2006 Markus started focusing on innovating in the backend and sticking to making huge improvements in retention and virility. For the next 10 years POF going to be a lot more innovative again and hopefully redefine the industry once again.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL - Feb 10 - When Markus Frind sat down at his home computer in 2003 to build a website, he had only one goal: to teach himself a programming language. But a decade later, his programming exercise has grown into one of the largest dating sites in the world, with ~50M registered users visiting POF more than 430M times each month. In Canada alone, ~400K people log in every day.
Q: How does Plenty of Fish’s matching system work?
Markus Frind: We look at hundreds of thousands of people who left the site in relationships and we look at what combinations of attributes made them successful. For instance, we know that a doctor will never date a carpenter.
Q: Do you have any interesting statistics that relate to Canada specifically?
A: Edmonton and Calgary have a lot of singles. It’s mostly because those are singles towns; with the oil boom and whatnot it’s harder to meet people.
Q: Does the site see any patterns, such as dips or spikes, over certain holidays?
A: We see 15- 20% increase from two days after Christmas and it goes all the way until the Wednesday after Valentine’s Day.
Q: What have been the biggest changes to the site lately?
A: ~60% of our users now access the site from mobile. We also launched top prospects a few weeks ago, which shows all the people you have communicated with and then we predict which one of those you’re most likely to enter into a relationship with and also stay in it.
The average age of a active daily user is now 35 years old. Down from 40 in 2009.
POF BLOG - Dec 31 - POF is announcing a $100K Wedding contest. Engaged couples who met on POF can submit their love stories to win $100K for their wedding, honeymoon or starting life together. All couples will be asked to submit 4 photos, the story of how they met and fell in love, and an explanation of why they deserve to win. Submissions are being accepted till January 14, 2013. The most unique, creative and original submissions will be entered into the contest where POF users will vote for their favorite couples.
YOUR TANGO - Dec 20 - The top two ways that people meet are through friends or via cyberspace. More and more couples are getting help from POF.com, just like Alex and Aggie of CaughtMyFish.com. Markus Frind, founder of POF.com, describes what makes online chemistry connections distinct.
Q: Do you agree that online dating makes people unrealistic and picky?
A: Having so many options to choose from can cause a disconnect between you and people you might be interested in dating in real life.
Q: Has fate and society propelled people to rely on technology to find their other half?
A: The fate factor is always up for debate, and I wouldn't say that people have to reply on technology to meet someone special, but POF definitely expands people's dating horizons.
Q: Is online dating best suited for certain types of people?
A: Online dating can work for anyone who is ready to meet someone and is willing to open themselves up to new experiences.