OPW -- June 17 -- It seems that there are more free dating sites starting than paid these days, but I can't help thinking that the growth of Plentyoffish.com is somewhat of an anomaly.
Here's the line up of the top 5 free dating sites on Compete (by visits).
I thought DateHookup was going to give Markus a run for his money but it seems their growth ran short of steam last month. Still, POF continues to surge as Markus chews on the UK market. I work for Markus and I've still not figured out how he does it. The answer I give is, POF has grown largely because 'it works.' They don't send bogus winks, or deny people access until they sign up. Dud profiles are kicked off the system regularly so there's less chaff for users to dig through before they get to the wheat. And the site is simple a la Craigslist (with the addition of ads).* Customer service is non-existant on the site, but its so darn simple, there's not an awful lot to need explaining, and because POF it's free there's no billing related issues to deal with. Can anyone stop this juggernaut? Google could, of course. But the dating industry would immediately stop its Adwords spends then, right! Your comments please. (Disclosure: POF is a client of Courtland Brooks) - Mark Brooks
*Talking of Craigslist, I worked with another site run by a one man band (hi Rob!) in 1999, called Hypermatch.com. We had a deal on the table with Craigslist for it to become the personals section on Craigslist. There were two stipulations, we weren't to make money from memberships, or from advertising. We were stumped, so the site was sold to EZboard who slowly killed it off.