PlentyofFish Gets Serious with Paid Memberships

Owner and founder of Plentyoffish.com, Markus Frind, announced today on his blog that the online dating site will be offering a new paid premium feature. Of course, the main site will remain absolutely free with all it’s current features, the only difference between the free membership and the paid premium membership is that it will have a “serious” button. Yes, that’s right, you pay to have your profile stick out in the vast ocean of members and signal that you are SERIOUS about dating.

Take a look at the screen shot below to see what the changes will look like:

It is still unknown how much the paid “serious” upgrade will be, however, Markus has indicated that the length will likely be for periods of 3, 6, or 12 months at a time. Though, given Markus’ competitive nature in the online dating industry, I wouldn’t be surprised if this premium membership feature is quite cheap and significantly undercuts paid memberships for other online dating sites.

This is no big surprise considering that in the last several months, Markus has indicated on his blog that he was either looking to buy a paid membership dating site and/or integrate premium features into Plenty of Fish. It will certainly be interesting to see how many current members take up the new paid option.

So what does this mean for the dating scene at Plentyoffish and how will it change?

My first thoughts is that this will certainly help people to identify which profiles are definitely legit. One of the big problems that the site has had in the past is a lot of fake spam profiles. Essentially, profiles of beautiful women set-up for the sole purpose of soliciting either your email address or trying to get you to sign-up for another adult dating site. This is a typical problem of free online dating sites and Plenty of Fish has been no exception, despite their efforts to prevent this type of phishing. Hopefully, the Serious badge will help people who are… ummm, serious.

My second thought is that this could be a great tool for those men who are having problems getting their profile noticed. As we know, the quantity of men on Plentyoffish far outnumber the women and it tends to be difficult, even for attractive men, to get noticed and attract potential dates. This “serious” badge will hopefully help those men willing to pay to stick out but will also indicate that they aren’t cheap either, which could be a decent attraction quality.

On the flip side, I’m also wondering that in a large dating site filled with free memberships, that a paid member could possibly be seen as desperate. I’m not sure, what do you guys think?

Perhaps after a month or two of the premium membership being instigated, I’ll conduct some research similar to the profile picture experiment except trying to quantify the attraction levels of “Serious” POF members.

Update

I just found a thread on the forums in which this topic is being highly debated and also reveals the pricing structure of the new premium feature.

The payment options will be as follows…

  • 1 year @ $5.99/month ($71.88)
  • 6 months @ $7.99/month ($47.94)
  • 3 months @ $9.99/month ($29.97)

If you ask me, this is a little steep considering the only thing that gets added to your profile is a “badge” and it’ll stick out more in the dating searches. Is that really worth $6-$10 dollars a month?

According to the poll he’s running in the first post of the thread, most people would not. However, it does show that a small percentage, perhaps 5-10% would be willing to pay. Now that may not seem like much, but consider the size of PlentyofFish’s membership base of approximately 2.8 million members according to a recent article in Inc. If just 5% of current members paid $6 per month, Markus would be raking in an extra $800 grand per month for an additional $10 million per year, on top of his reportedly $10 million in yearly Adsense revenue.

It’s definitely a smart business move in my opinion, but the real question is, will actually help the members of the site? Only time will tell.

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