Userplane Ist Kaput - Online Personals Watch: News on the Online Dating Industry and Business

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Jason Grunstra

I've been trying for weeks now to contact someone at in
order to integrate their tools with our website.

I've called.
I've left voicemails.
I've emails.
I've sent follow up emails.
I've even gone so far as to dig up current (former?) employees via
LinkedIn and Facebook in an effort to contact someone. ANYONE!

No response.

And today was the final straw. I just so happen to live in LA, and was
in Santa Monica (where their office is located) so I swung by to see if
I could find a human. The office door was locked. The buzzer rang for
several minutes and no one answered. I went to the back door. No one
went in our out of the building for at least 15 minutes.

Not a human in sight.

I'm convinced that the offices have been closed down and AOL has
swallowed them up and and sent the employees packing.


I don't understand something about IM. I saw that POF also claimed IM was the worst decision he ever made.

Is it a bad decision just because it lowers pageviews? I'm the Community Manager for a paid dating site and IM is central to our Community. If the community wants it, why is it a bad idea?


I guess allowing IM was a bad decision from a business point of view but not necessarily for the end user. POF is a business and if more page views are generated without IM then that means more ad impressions and clicks.

Andrew Boon

IM is great for users, but may not be as good for business. Depends on your website. Some sites are build _around_ IM and may not exist without one.

Felix Fidelsberger

Hi everyone, my name is Felix and I am co-founder and CEO of

I would like to invite all Userplane customers to give toksta a try:

We offer a 15-day free trial and an extra 10% lifetime discount for all current Userplane customers if you sign up until May, 15th. toksta also features:

* Super easy implementation (copy & paste script or Plugin)
* 100% hosted by toksta
* No bandwidth or A/V chat limitations
* Completely integrates with your user DB
* Full design customization, logo branding and CSS support
* And much more!

Please contact support [ at ] toksta ( . ) com if you have any questions!

- Felix

David Evans

Nice linkbait title, did you contact Userplane before telling the world they are going out of business?

Chat has never really taken off on dating, too difficult to monitor.

What kind of testbed are you using for your review of chat clients?

Online Dating |

Michael Jones was the guy who started Userplane, but rumor has it that he was recently appointed to a COO for MySpace. Once he sold the business to AOL, things started going down. To bad they missed on a gold mine. Can I buy them from AOL for a penny?

Online Dating |

Michael Jones from has confirmed that at this point it is only a rumor


I personally found the IM useful when using in POF... To chat with a person, and getting a feel for the person before giving someone my msn or yahoo etc... Some user would have it disabled . I sure to many guys just hit that IM button, instead of sending a message first... could see how that would of been annoying.. I can see why this option isnt good for business... People have others means of communicating online... so isnt worth having it..

Anyhow, Markus... sees i have a problem with my POF account, which was working last time i signed up, but everytime i delete it for a peroid of time, and when i come back i sign up, than gets automatically deleted... Have i been flagged? Any insight why this happens? Anyways... hopefully this minor problem can get resolved thanks...

Nick Schneble

Hi there!

My name is Nick Schneble, and I used to be the senior developer over at Userplane. Before anyone asks, I can't confirm or deny any shutdown rumors. :-)

I wrote all of the Flex and AIR applications for Userplane, and since leaving I've started a new company, Topicfox, with the intent of providing a robust, stable and highly scalable white-label IM solution.

As a result of my many years at Userplane, Topicfox is 100% compatible with existing Userplane WM configurations, and can be imported and converted for use by Topicfox with very little client interaction.

I'm looking to provide a far more hands-on solution than Userplane, with a greater amount of client feedback.

If you have an existing Userplane Webmessenger (IM) setup, and/or you may be interested in a solution customized exactly the way you want, drop me a line!

You can reach me at nick (at)


"Markus Frind says that IM was his biggest mistake. He's getting far more pageviews now he's pulled it"

Everyone seems to be lumping chat and IM together. Userplane provides both. We consider group chat rooms to be an essential part of our community. Instant messaging between individuals is another matter.

Alan Davies

Hi Nick

The URL gives a 404. Do you provide support for the Desktop Presence application as well? (The non-AIR version being far superior.) We also use the WebRecorder, no instant messaging.


Nick Schneble

Hi Alan,

Sorry about the 404- we're moving our website and not all the DNS records have been updated yet.

Unfortunately we don't have an alternative to Desktop Presence. The system it was built on in fairly complex, and for the moment our focus is primarily on white-label IM.

Michael,  a happy customer also provide some very powerful flash video chat software. Right now they have video chat and video recording. They don't host the software , you get to buy it and install it on your website!

So anyone looking for an alternative to the Userplane Webchat here you go:


You write 'chat has never really taken off on dating..." I can see your point! The current versions of IM are not well suited for online dating … women especially get turned off when chat boxes start popping up all over the place.
On the other hand, the concept of getting to know someone through a real-time chat before meeting him face-to-face makes a lot of sense. Research shows that “virtual dating” creates superior online dating experience and leads to better offline dating too (just Google “Improving Online Dating with Virtual Dates”).
While a simple chat is not enough to create the right type of interaction … a properly designed “virtual dating” application drives user activity, facilitates the discovery process, increases “time on site” ... and attracts women.
Perhaps the question is not having a chat or not, but what kind of chat is well suited to getting to know someone online...

Andrew Poretz

I'm amazed anyone would take public credit for programming this application. From a user's perspective, the A/V Userplane chat has to be the worst chat client I've ever used. I'm constantly finding my cursor forced out of the box when the other person sends a line, and have to mouseclick back into it. Tremendously annoying program. As of now, the program is still in use on DateHookup, and is still a disaster, as Donald Trump would put it. There is a much different app in use on OKCupid that has none of the problems from A/V. Considering that IMs have been out there for nearly two decades, and their advanced state, I find this program a particularly disappointing piece of programming.


This is not something worth taking credit for. Userplane went out of business because their product sucked, esp the front end. I remember when myspace had userplane chat, someone took the iniative to write an alternative app so they didnt have to use userplane.

Also sounds like you are violating a non compete agreement if you had one lol

Mark Brooks

I was also referred to yesterday as another alternative.

We're reviewing, Meebo, OmniDate (former Courtland Brooks client) and Toksta at iDate in Los Angeles next week.

I think the folks at Userplane are trying to keep Userplane alive, but noone has disputed that Userplane Ist Kaput with anything solid, as yet.


Here is a question for you Nick. You say that you used to work for userplane. My understanding is that some people that worked for them joined a group called "Ebaums" and proceeded to hack into chat rooms at userplane. I am sure you were not involved with that if it is in fact true at all. I guess if userplane had enough complaints and their systems were being jeopardized, it can get pretty overwhelming for them. I just don't understand why they did not tell their clients about the possibility of shutting down. Is Topicfox going to provide a demo on their site?

Mark Brooks

Here's the new pricing on Userplane...

Price Per Month Simul. Connections Est. Daily Visitors Max Transfer
FREE (Ad-Supported) 9 0-100 9GB
$130 10 0 - 5,000 15GB
$275 25 5,000 - 12,500 25GB
$475 50 12,500 - 25,000 50GB
$850 100 25,000 - 50,000 100GB
$1,625 250 50,000 - 100,000 250GB
$2,750 500 100,000 - 250,000 500GB

Here's a link to all the top news on Userplane in summary format on Online Personals Watch

In May I reported that AOL was going to pull the plug on Userplane. I had two trusted sources confirm this. Then Userplane attended iDate L.A. and officially refuted this. Then they offer up pricing of 100 concurrent users at $10k a year.

Userplane ist kaput.


Seems like the real potential is on the board.

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