THE GLOBE AND MAIL - Aug 25 - Markus Frind founded PlentyofFish.com in 2003 on his home PC. Today, it’s the most popular dating site in the country. When he built the site, there was no shred of a business plan, just a basic offering. "When I first met Markus at a conference in 2006," recalls Mark Brooks, a consultant for the Internet-dating business, "he said, 'I’m going to be the biggest dating site in the U.S.' I pooh-poohed his hokey little site. Then he made me eat my words." Because it’s the Internet, and nothing makes sense, the site’s original aesthetic laziness bolstered its credibility. "It was underpromising in its looks and overdelivering in its service," says Brooks. "It sent the message, as a Craigslist does, that here’s this one guy doing us all a favour.” According to comScore, PlentyofFish draws 2.8 billion page views per month, compared to 723M for Match.com, and has 6.3M unique visitors. And the newly launched PlentyofFish mobile app has been downloaded by 1M users. Markus declares that PlentyofFish users send 5.5 billion e-mail messages to one another in a single year. Match.com has the mightiest revenue $400 million (U.S.) last year, with revenue up 20% in the first half of 2011. By comparison, says Frind, PlentyofFish’s earnings, generated solely from advertising, are in the "tens of millions."
On registering at PlentyofFish.com, users are asked a series of questions that determine whether they should be placed in a "commitment material" bucket or a “casual dater” bucket. Then the match pools are narrowed down to "people you aren’t likely to hate". From there, "every user affects another user’s behaviour."