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Fernando Ardenghi

You cannot compare patatoes with apples and peaches with carrots!

Online Dating 1.0: First Generation "Browsing/Searching Options, Powerful Searching Engine"

Online Dating 1.5: Hybrid; "Unidirectional Recommendation Engine"

Online Dating 2.0: Second Generation "Matching based on Self-Reported Data / Bidirectional Recommendation Engine" e.g. PerfectMatch, uses an ipsative instrument based on MBTI test.

Online Dating 3.0: Third Generation "Compatibility Matching Algorithms" e.g. eHarmony, uses a normative version of the Big5 to assess personality and Dyadic Adjustment Scale to calculate compatibility. The U.S. site is different from the UK site, Australian site, Canadian site, etc.

PlentyofFish is performing mostly as Online Dating 1.5, if you say that you like "young beautiful non smoking tall blondes" but you browse and keep messaging "old ugly smoking short women", PlentyofFish keeps you showing "old ugly smoking short women"

If you compare revenue,
Which is the revenue of PlentyofFish? USD 15 million per year?
and its operating cost? and profit?
Who could check PlentyofFish Media's tax declaration?

The revenue of Match&Chemistry + eHarmony + Yahoo!Personals + True + PerfectMatch + Meetic + Parship + Be2 + other paid sites, is over USD 1000 million.

Fernando Ardenghi.
Buenos Aires.
[email protected]


As clear as mud, thanks Fernando!

Sam Moorcroft,

Kudos to Fernando for pointing out what is often missed: as a percentage of total revenue, "free" dating sites (dominated almost exclusively by plentyoffish) are a mere speck, when compared to the revenue generated annually by the top 10 or so paid sites.

Assuming plentyoffish's revenue is around $15M annually, that is all of 1.5% of the revenue generated by these paid sites!

As I mentioned on Marcus' blog, in terms of visits, pof is tops, but this only makes one guy rich. The other 600 million or so people in N. America, the UK, and Europe are out of luck, from a business point of view, as "free" has only worked in any great scale for one person.

This is great for the dating consumer, but doesn't work for those trying to run "free" sites. They make up a tiny fraction of the money generated from online dating.

This gets totally lost in the rush to predict the demise of the paid model.

Here are my predictions (as I've always maintained, and not just because my living depends on it):

1. Paid is here to stay;
2. Paid will continue to generate staggering amounts of cash for those in the top 10, as well as the smaller niche guys like;
3. Free won't won't get bigger than a few percentages points above zero, when compared to paid;
4. Free will be 95+% made up of Plentyoffish.

James Houran, Ph.D.

Actually, POF offers many types of matching methods -- one of which is definitely within what Fernando called "Online Dating 3.0" although POF is probably well beyond that level in many aspects.


James Houran, Ph.D.

Jack Strawman

It seems things are shifting once more. Online dating went free and now it's going back to paid.


Free dating is and was a gimmick. In a way it was a loss leader. Money does make the world go round and the servers won't pay for themselves. Blogs and news sites are different because they don't require as many photos and servers, but building a social site requires a lot of time and customer service.


Traffic is a very important meter, the measure in pass-through volume is exactly the indicator of the successful web site. The numbers speak for themselves in this case. Here we have an outlet supply, with exactly the right price, filling the specific need in these economic conditions. As for the time, the fare is proper for the ride. “A private coach, meet one, a public trolley, meet hundreds”.

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