Depending on how old you are, you might not remember that several decades ago, before the internet, people used to place personal advertisements in local newspapers to find dates. An example might be “Single White Male, 30 years old, seeking soul mate for companionship and love.”
It seems quite funny these days to think that people would look through newspapers to find a date instead of the internet, doesn’t it? But after all, that’s all they had back then other than meeting people through friends and family.
Then along comes the internet in the mid-1990s, and a dating revolution took place – online dating. In the beginning, there was a stigma against using the internet to find dates. People think it looked pretty desperate if you had to turn to the internet to find love.
Oh, how things have changed! Today, it’s a major method for finding a date. Sure, people can still meet the organic way, but it’s much easier and more convenient to sit at home and scroll through profiles on your laptop or phone.
Some of these dating sites and apps have bad reputations. For example, Tinder is commonly known as the “hook up app.” And because POF is free, some people think that others might not take it as seriously as a strictly paid site.
But we were really curious about POF in particular, so over the past couple of months we did a research experiment. I created a profile, and I had a male friend do the same. And I want to discuss all the important things we found out about it so you can maximize your experience using this veteran dating site.
So let’s dive in. The below POF review has everything you need to know to decide whether you want to sign up as a free member, sign up as a paid member, or skip this dating application all together.
History of POF
Plenty of Fish was founded in 2003 by Markus Frind (the CEO), who graduated in 1999 from British Columbia Institute of Technology with a degree in Computer Systems Technologies. In 2004, Plenty of Fish became a full-time business for Frind. He ran the site on his own until 2008, when he began hiring employees to work for him and help him expand the business.
POF is free to use, but it also offers premium services as part of their upgraded membership, such as who has “liked” a member through the service’s “MeetMe” feature and allowing users to see whether a message has been read and/or deleted.
In 2010, POF launched mobile apps for iPhones and Androids. And now it is also available in iPad, and Windows phone formats. By 2014, about 85% of POF’s members use it on mobile devices.
POF Sign Up Process
Signing up is pretty easy. And as I said, it’s free, so that’s a plus. You just need to fill out relevant information about yourself, write a headline and biography telling people who you are, and put up several flattering, but realistic, photos of yourself. There are also chemistry and assessment tests you can take to give potential dates a better idea of who you are and vice versa.
You will want to set aside a good HOUR to fully complete your POF bio and complete all tests. The tests are useful, and they’ll email you a summary afterward which is very insightful.
Image Selection and Tips
Apparently, you must upload a photo to use the site. So, don’t even think about trying to be “mysterious” by not posting a photo. Plus, it’s just kind of creepy not to have any photos on your profile.
Make sure and add a caption for each photo. I recommend just uploading one or two photos on their site first. After you get started with that, then you can download the POF app and easily upload photos from your phone’s photo album, Facebook, or Instagram.
While we’re on the topic of images, below are some VERY important online dating photo tips that’ll help you get more matches, more messages, and more first dates on POF. Remember, following this advice could make or break your experience on POF – or any other dating app for that matter.
- At least one cropped headshot of you smiling and looking right at the camera. Do NOT have any sunglasses on, however. You might think they look cool, but subconsciously, you are sending a message to potential dates that you have something to hide since you are not showing your eyes. Do not use a selfie, either.
- At least one full body shot that shows the shape you’re in. Let’s face it – women want to know what your body looks like, just as much as you want to know what hers looks like.
- A hobby. Do you like to golf? Play cards? Go bike riding? Whatever your hobby or interest, show an active picture of yourself engaged in an activity.
- A social shot. This shows that you have friends! If all your photos are selfies in a bathroom (I’ve seen man men take them in public bathrooms, which is a BIG turn off), then a woman thinks, “Why can’t this guy grab a friend to take a picture for him? Maybe he doesn’t have any friends!” But don’t make it with too many people, because then it will difficult for her to figure out which one you are.
- A GQ photo (you in a well-fitted suit). You may or may not be the suit-wearing kind of man, but you have to have at least one photo where you look like you cleaned up well and can be presentable. If you only have pictures of you in your camouflage hunting outfit looking all greasy by your motorcycle, well, that won’t go over so well with the ladies (unless you’re this guy). It might be best to hire a professional photographer if you can afford it.
- A photo of you with a puppy or an animal. The reason for this is because it gives the impression that you can also have a loving side to you. If you own a pet, you probably love it. And that sends the message that you can also love a woman too.
- No photos of fish, motorcycles, cars, or houses. Sure, you might be proud of your Harley or the giant fish you caught last weekend, but most women don’t care about that. They are dating YOU, not your dead fish or motorcycle. So, don’t try to “impress” the women with things like that. Usually it has the opposite effect – they just might be rolling their eyes and moving on.
Here’s an example of a good POF profile picture:
Final thoughts on photos: Smile! Look friendly! Who wants to accept a first date with a guy who looks like they put up a mug shot of themselves? Make sure your lighting and the angles are flattering as well. Ask friends for opinions about them to see if they look good.
And last but certainly not least, make sure the photos are RECENT. Ideally, they should be taken in the last three months – six months tops. You wouldn’t want to go out with someone who put a 10-year-old picture of themselves up there, would you? Being honest in all aspects of your dating profile is crucial!
Sidecar: Is Plenty of Fish Free?
After you’re done uploading your photo(s), POF slaps an “Upgrade Box” right on your screen. It costs $6.78/month for 12 months, $8.50/month for 6 months, and $12.90/month for a 3-month plan.
I’m urge you to try the site for free for a while before committing to a paid plan. Later in this POF Review, I’ll discuss the pricing discrepancy we found within this dating application.
On to Writing Your POF Profile
As I just said, fill out all of the sections completely and honestly. I assume this helps the site create a compatibility profile so their algorithm can match you with prospects.
Think about it – would you want to start off a new relationship based on lies? You would feel betrayed by the woman if you found out she misrepresented herself in some way, right? So, don’t do it to them either.
Research shows that a very high percentage of people lie in some way in their profiles. Men tend to lie about their career, income, education, and height. And women tend to lie more about their weight and/or have old pictures of themselves when they looked better, younger, or thinner. So, don’t become one of those statistics – be honest.
Write about your favorites, hobbies, family, and pets… and be specific. For favorites, tell her about your favorite food/restaurant, favorite band/musician, favorite book/author, favorite movie or tv show, etc.
Be specific about your hobbies, don’t say “I like hiking.” Instead tell her where your favorite hiking trail is located and what it’s called.
For family, tell her about your parents, your siblings, your favorite relative. For pets, give her names and describe why you love them so much.
One Thing to Remember is WRITE SOMETHING
Whatever you do, don’t leave your POF bios area blank or say something lame like “I don’t like talking about myself. If you want to know something, just ask.” That is such a turn off!
Why is it a turn off? Well, it shows that you’re lazy. You can’t even take the time to tell me about yourself? If you’re too lazy to do that, then you are probably going to be lazy in a relationship too.
And even if the woman reading your profile doesn’t consider you lazy, it could show lack of self-confidence if you “don’t like talking about yourself.” So, please DO NOT neglect this section writing about yourself, or you will regret it because you won’t have much success.
Another helpful profile tip that may seem obvious, but apparently it’s a major dilemma – is to not type in all CAPITAL LETTERS. It looks like you’re “shouting,” and plus it’s hard to read.
Also use proper grammar. If you’re not good at writing, at least have someone proof read it (or, purchase the services of an online dating profile writer). Don’t have mistakes and misspellings. It makes you look uneducated, and again, too lazy to write well and/or proofread. Remember, you’re trying to put your best self out there to get a woman you’re super attracted to!
Don’t be negative in anything you say. For example, you might really want to say “I don’t want any drama! Or if you smoke, keep your ass walking!” It’s not polite or nice to say that. Sure, you don’t want any drama. Who does? But being negative in your profile is another real turn-off.
POF Messaging Tips
Afraid she might be serendipidating with you? That’s when a woman messages you back and forth on dating sites, but never actually wants to meet you. This happens a lot for a variety of reasons. It could be for the ego boost, or they could be scamming you because they are already in a relationship or even married.
Our male test user was able to match with many women and successfully messaged them on POF. But when he tried closing for a first date (using a TDL – time, date, and location), the women often times stopped conversing with him.
After feeling ghosted and betrayed, my test user went to see if these women even looked at his profile. Most of them didn’t! They were either looking to kill time, craving some attention, or just straight up bored. So, to be sure she’s fully into you, see if she views your profile while you’re messaging her.
Another POF messaging tip is to find a commonality within her profile. You could send her a question about your common interests. You’ll want to tie it into why you like specific interest, without sending an essay over to her.
Whatever you do, do NOT send a message saying nothing but “Hey, how are you?” or “hey beautiful” or “hey sexy lady, how was your weekend?” Honestly, never begin any message to a woman with an “h”… it’s lazy and overused and it won’t get a response. Instead, write in complete sentences and say something meaningful that relates to an interest she’s mentioned on her profile or in her photos.
Here’s an Example of a Great POF Message
“Jane, did you know that the youngest person to ever skydive was only four years old?”
Complete the Personality Relationship Chemistry Predictor Test (and then the other tests too)
After you complete your POF profile, they ask you to take you to their “Personality Relationship Chemistry Predictor.” You will need to complete all 73 questions or they won’t let you submit the test.
Once you complete this test, they’ll prompt you to do another one. We recommend completing ALL tests. One reason is because once you complete a test, you can click on the CHEMISTRY tab, and they’ll show you your best matches based on your test results for that specific test.
This is a great tool for you to use when crafting a first message to a woman you’re interested in. Here’s what you’ll see:
Here’s What Available Women Will Be Able to See When You’ve Completed the Tests
This is a guide for women to really get to know the real you before they commit to spending time with you in real life.
What’s Better…The POF Dating APP or the POF Site?
The site architecture of the POF site looks like it’s stuck in the 90’s. However, they did a great job getting into the new millennium with their dating app.
Both of our test users signed up via the site, but once they got their profiles situated – opted to use the app for the remainder of their usage.
We felt the POF site made it easier to message women via the chemistry tab, while this tab was nowhere to be found on the app.
Regardless, you will have to do whatever works for you. Some people prefer using their laptops because it’s easier to read and to see the photos. But others enjoy the mobile app better because it’s more convenient and you can look and send messages whenever you want.
POF App vs. Site Pricing Discrepancy
It’s interesting that POF’s pricing is different when you’re on the mobile app versus when you’re on the site. We aren’t exactly sure why that is the case, but again, it felt a bit shady. Take a look at the following screenshots (one from the app and another from the site) here:
Does the POF Boost Work?
In addition to upgrading your POF account, there’s also a POF Boost feature. This feature propels your profile in front of women who are currently online.
Each time you’d like to “boost” your profile, it’ll cost you 1 token. Supposedly, with your purchase you’ll become at least 5x more popular on Plenty of Fish. Here’s some screenshots of their sales pitch along with what you’ll see once your boost is complete:
We decided to run a test on this POF Boost Feature. We first had our test user boost his account before he fully completed his profile and all the in-depth tests. We then had him boost his account after he fully completed his profile and all the tests. Boosts took place around 6:00 p.m. local time, hoping that women would be off work and looking at profiles.
The results were below average both times in both instances. He did not getting any new direct messages from women on either boost. He averaged about six new women viewing his profile during and right after the boost. With the second boost, we did see an increase in the amount of likes he received in the “MEET ME” area.
We’re still testing this boost to see if it’s worth your hard earned cash, but at this point we’re not a believer that this feature actually works well for men.
POF Meet Me Area
POF also has an area they call “Meet Me.” Here, they show you pictures of potential dates, and you have the option of hitting four different buttons: no, maybe, yes, or super yes.
Hitting a “super yes” tells the person that you are extremely interested in them. Hopefully they feel the same way about you, but even if they don’t, it will still make them feel good about themselves (same for you when you get a “super yes” too!). However, hitting that button will cost you – one token to be exact.
If someone hits anything but a “no” button, they will show up as “wanting to meet you.” What this means is that if someone saw your photo in this area, and they thought you were attractive, they would like to meet you. If you have ever used Tinder, it is very similar to their set up, so you will be familiar with how it works.
One negative thing about the Meet Me area is that you will find that the try to up-sell you with the strategy of saying that women have swiped right (“or said yes”) on you. It’s called their “They Said Yes” tab. If you click on it, you don’t actually see these women. Instead, they’ll first ask you to upgrade to a paid membership before they uncover your “dream women”. See image here:
With all this said, maybe you do want to be an upgraded member, and if so, then you will show up first in the Meet Me area. This means that new users will let you know if they are attracted to you or not within minutes of when they signed up.
This is an advantage because then you will only be interacting with users who are already already interested in you. And that really makes your online dating experience more effective.
POF “Nearby” Feature
The “Nearby” button in the app is a great feature in POF. Again, if you’ve used Tinder, you will be familiar with how this works. Basically, if you’re looking for someone who is geographically close to you, then you can use this feature and the app will show you people that are near your current location.
If you’re using the POF site, then you will need to use the “My City” tab to try to get people who are close by.
One more good thing about this feature is that you can find events that are happening near you, not just people. However, I live in San Francisco and didn’t find any events listed in my city. I find that strange since it’s such a large city.
So, I wonder if there are any events anywhere! If you see any events listed in your area, email me and let me know! I mean, what if you live in a much smaller city? Will there ever be an event for you to attend? Those are some of the questions I haven’t quite figured out yet. However, it’s worth looking in to. It could be a cool feature if your city has more events than San Francisco.
What’s Up With the “Will Respond” Area?
POF also has a recent feature called “will respond,” which is pretty much like is sounds. They show you the people that they think are the most likely to respond to you if you send them a message.
But how do they know which users are most likely to respond, and how do they get put on that list?
Apparently, POF uses metrics counters and recorders. These programs will search emails for keywords and content. And then they keep track of how many emails people send per day, with the limit being thirty. They also limit the number of “cut and paste” email you can send to people.
Other things they record is how long it takes you to click to the next profile, how long you are logged in, how quickly you respond, the time of day you respond, and some other things related to these factors.
Here are things POF considers when they are figure out who would me most likely to respond to you:
- “Online Now” status
- In your age group
- Preferences (similarities, things in common)
- Their history (emails they received vs. emails they responded to. If they have responded before, they are more likely to initiate a response).
- Number of emails received (if a woman has 1,000 emails to respond to, it’s likely she won’t answer yours).
- Personality (certain personality types are more serious than others and feel obligated to respond).
Even though that’s how POF decides who will respond to you, in reality, some of the other factors are things like: timing (when you email them, what you subject line says, how interesting your email is, your photos, and your bio).
What We Liked About POF
Just like anything, there are and always pros and cons, and POF is no different.
One great thing about POF is that you can search for people YOU want to message. In other words, you can just sit in the comfort of your own home and go “shopping” for people you might like to date. This gives you a sense of control. If you’ve ever used a site like eHarmony, you know that having control over who you correspond with is a nice thing (eHarmony sends you matches and you cannot search for anyone).
Another great thing is that you don’t have to match with someone before you can communicate with them. Some people might see it as a con and not a pro. But if you’re using apps like Tinder, you can’t talk to people you like unless they like you back. And that’s limiting. POF doesn’t have that restriction.
The only problem with this is that it could hurt your ego if you write a lot of women, and they never write back. You need to have thick skin. Be confident in yourself and you won’t be bothered by this feature.
We also really liked the personality tests in the Chemistry Lab. The results were very interesting, and surprisingly accurate. This is a good sign because it feels like POF is making an effort to match you up with someone who has some similar personality characteristics that you do.
Not only can you see your own Chemistry results, you can see other people’s too. So, if you don’t trust POF to do the matching for you, then you can take matters into your own hands and read someone’s personality results and decide for yourself.
Another cool feature is that, if you upgrade, you can see if your messages get read. This is beneficial because if you don’t get a response, it lets you know that maybe your email or profile need to be improved in order to get more responses. It’s a good way to test things out and do things differently if you need to.
And lastly, another thing we liked about POF is that you can “Adjust Your Mail Settings.” As a woman, I decided it was a good idea to restrict men from messaging me who lived across the globe. I already had enough messages from local men who wanted to meet me. Think about this – when a woman restricts her mail settings, it could mean she’s getting less total messages, which gives you a better shot at closing for a date!
What We Didn’t Like About POF
In our opinion, the quality of women is lower than some other online dating sites and apps. I always had the impression that this is the case because it’s free. Not to sound elitist or anything, but it seems like if someone has to pay to find people to date, then they’ll be more invested in actually finding a quality relationship.
If you decide to use POF, or any free dating site or app, there will ultimately be a subset of women who will message you for attention and validation reasons only. That’s a tough pill to swallow if your goal is to meet women for real life dates.
Another negative thing about POF is that when I signed up, I started receiving dozens if not hundreds of messages. It was overwhelming for me. And that’s not good for the men either, because their messages just got lost in my queue. Because of this, a good rule of thumb for women is to simply turn off email notifications completely.
Therefore, women might not even see or hear your message come in. And, even if they do respond, it might not be in a very timely manner. This is not good for men hunting for a date on POF.
Huge POF Negative: The Abundance of Scammers
From our male profile, unfortunately, we saw many fake POF profiles with scammers hiding behind a beautiful woman’s profile. This is true of anywhere, but keep your eye out for anything that looks or sounds suspicious.
In case you haven’t encountered any scammers, please keep your eye out for them. My male test user has been receiving approximately five emails a day from “beautiful women” profiles. That’s how they lure you in. You think it’s your lucky day because a hot model messages you, but soon thereafter they’ll ask you to jump off the POF site to some other platform.
Once you get the hang of it, these fake profiles are easy to spot. They usually only have one photo (a “too good to be true” one). And most likely their intent is for “dating” or “nothing serious.” In other words, they’re not looking for a serious relationship.
Typically, they will email you, and when you respond, they will try to get you to log into their prostitution or escort site.
Another tip to spotting scammers is when you decide to take a peek at one of the “beautiful women profiles.” Within minutes, you’ll receive an immediate message from this profile/scammer. Yep, they are sitting back simply viewing their “Viewed Me” tab. They know you’re a hot lead at that real time moment.
Many of these scammers will also eventually start asking you for money. I’m sure you’ve heard all sorts of catfishing stories. Keep your head on straight so you don’t become the next online dating victim. If it feels too good to be true, the it probably is.
POF Review Wrap: Our Final Verdict
Just like with any dating site or app, POF has is pros and cons. Here at EmLovz we feel that if you’re looking for a real relationship, use POF sparingly. There are plenty of better online dating sites and apps that are geared towards finding real, lasting love. I recommend you use at least 5 online dating sites and apps during your quest to find your next relationship.
Struggling to find love, a girlfriend, or your next relationship? Not sure about your current dating strategy? Did you know that there are dating coaches, like myself, that can help you reach your goals?
If you’re lost in the realm of dating and looking for a new strategy, feel free to book a New Client Session Skype with me today. During our call we’ll diagnose your dating history, discuss your dating goals, create an action plan, and see if my coaching program is right for you!