Plenty of Fish (POF) is one of the world’s oldest online dating sites. It’s been around for over two decades, it’s free to send and receive messages, and it’s used by millions of people from all over the world who are either looking for something short term or something long term. It was also given a recent makeover and now looks better than ever before.
But is it the right dating site for you?
To help you make that decision, and because I know how important it is that you sign up to the right dating site, I’ve put together this Plenty of Fish review. I’ll be taking a look at:
- How easy the site is to use
- Who the site is aimed at
- Key features
- Pros and cons
I’ll also be sharing with you my personal experience using the site.
Ready? Let’s make a start.
Plenty of Fish Review
Pros of POF
- Free to send and receive messages.
- Lots of search filters.Easy to use dating site.
Cons of POF
- Fairly lengthy sign-up process.
- Too many fake accounts.
One of the aces up Plenty of Fish’s sleeve is the fact that it’s entirely free to send and receive messages. This instantly makes it one of the most affordable dating sites around, as many of the top dating sites charge a subscription fee to use most of their key features.
That said, whilst you’re free to send and receive messages as a free user on POF, there are some things you can’t do unless you upgrade your account.
Here is what you can do as a free member:
- Create an account
- Add people to your list of favorites
- Search for users (and tweak your search filters)
- Send and receive messages
That’s not bad. But what can you do as a paid member?
POF has a feature called “Meet Me” which essentially queues up profiles for you. All you have to do is take a look at someone’s pic, and say whether or not you’d like to meet them. If you do want to meet them, they will get a notification telling them that someone is interested in them. It’s the same if someone wants to meet you – but to see who it is, you must be a premium member.
Also, POF will put you at the front of Meet Me if you upgrade your account, which increases your visibility. You can also see whether or not someone has read your message yet. For some eager users, this is an invaluable perk.
As a paid member, you get an ad-free experience, and POF ensures that your profile stands out in the search results more. Because POF is such a heavy traffic dating site, this is a useful perk.
Apart from that, there aren’t too many other reasons why you’d upgrade your account. And whilst the Meet Me is quite an effective feature for finding potential matches and thus dates, you’ve still got access to the search feature.
How much does it cost to upgrade your POF account?
- 2 months – $23/ month
- 4 months – $15/month
- 8 months – $13/ month
Compared to rival dating sites, POF is reasonably priced. It’s not overly expensive, but neither is it super affordable.
Payment methods, however, are limited to card and PayPal:
Audience Quality – Are The Profiles Real?
One of the biggest concerns anyone who signs up to a dating site has is whether or not they’ll be greeted by lots of fake profiles.
Fake profiles not only waste our time, but they are also always created by scammers.
Despite the obvious advantages POF offers as a free dating site, the biggest disadvantage is that it leaves itself vulnerable to fake accounts. This is because scammers can create as many profiles as they want without being charged. As a result, POF has for years struggled with fake accounts. Despite being recently revamped, fake profiles are still an issue here.
Encouragingly, POF is pretty good at detecting a fake account, and they usually remove it ASAP. However, whilst this usually prevents someone from being scammed, fake accounts on POF have a nasty habit of adding cute pics to their profile, messaging someone, and then directing them to a link in their profile. When the person clicks the link, they may fall victim to a virus.
What can you do about fake profiles?
Not a lot. The best thing to do is to report an account you’re suspicious of, as this will help POF’s customer support to remove it as quickly as possible.
What does a fake account look like?
Typically, a fake profile will include one or two links in their profile that direct you to another website. Sometimes, they’ll ask you to email them to “chat more.” There’s a chance they won’t have a profile pic either, like this:
Are fake profiles annoying on POF?
Yes. They’re especially annoying whenever you get new messages in your inbox, only to realize it’s from a fake account.
Other than that, the real profiles on POF vary in quality and detail. Some users take the website seriously and add lots of information to their profile, whilst others keep things simple. POF also gives everyone the chance to list their interests in bullet form, which is a great way of letting others know whether the two of you have things in common.
That said, though, if you want to see someone’s extended profile, you need to upgrade your account.
Because POF is free, you’ll not only find lots of fake profiles, you’ll also find lots of sparsely detailed profiles, like this:
These are sometimes filled out by those who have signed up to the site for free, but who aren’t putting any time or effort into getting the most out of it. As such, it’s always hit and miss whether the person you message is genuinely looking for the same thing you are, or whether they signed up out of boredom and thus probably won’t reply to your message.
That said, you can sometimes get an indication of how serious someone is by taking a look at their POF headline:
Headlines are displayed in the search result, and people use them to either catch people's attention or to write a bit about who you are and what you’re looking for. You can write whatever you want in yours, but it’s always a smart idea to add something that gives an idea of what you’re looking for.
The Sign-Up Process
Despite being a free site, the sign-up process at POF is actually quite lengthy. This is because everyone who creates an account must complete a personality questionnaire called Chemistry Predictor before their account goes live.
This questionnaire can be a bit daunting and there are more than a hundred questions to answer, starting with your dating preferences:
Many of the questions relate to your personality, interests, values, and habits, as well as what you’re looking for in another person. The aim of the questionnaire is to help POF understand more about you and what you’re looking for. It then uses your answers to help pair you up with compatible members once your profile is live.
Some users find the whole process too long and drawn out, and, because the questionnaire is multiple choice, there are definitely cases of users filling it in unthinkingly.
You must also add a minimum amount of characters/words to the ‘About Me’ section in your profile, and you need to create a headline, add something to your ‘Conversation Starters’ section, as well as list your height, your education level, marital status and what you’re looking for.
It’s a very thorough sign up process!
Also, it’s unusual that POF doesn’t connect your social accounts. This is very unlike most dating sites these days which generally lets you connect both your Instagram and Facebook accounts. Doing so is a great way to help users verify other users.
Like all dating sites, POF has its fair share of features that make it attractive to new members. Some of these are some, some are paid features, and some are entirely unique to POF”
- Chemistry Predictor (Free)
The Chemistry Predictor is related to the questionnaire you must fill in before your account goes live. Questions are related to your personality, interests, and values, as well as what you’re looking to get out of the site in terms of dating.
It’s a long questionnaire and the number of questions goes as high as 100. Fortunately, the answers are multiple choice-based. Once you’ve finished, POF uses your answers to help find you a “perfect match” on the site.
- MeetMe (Free to an extent)
The original purpose of the MeetMe feature was to let people find members who wanted to meet them ASAP. However, most people use it these days just to find matches before initiating a conversation.
It works kinda like Tinder in that a bunch of profiles are queued up for you, and you must decide whether or not you want to say Yes or No to meeting them. If you say Yes, they will get a notification that lets them know you’re interested. If they also say Yes, the two of you are a match and you’re free to start talking.
The MeetMe feature is free for anyone to use, but you’ll get more out of it if you’re a paid member. This is because you can see at a glance all the profiles who have already said “Yes” to you. If you’re a free member, you simply have to keep swiping through the profiles until you find mutual matches.
- UltraMatch (Paid)
UltraMatch is based on your Chemistry Predictor answers. It’s essentially a matchmaking service that displays the members POF’s algorithm thinks are compatible with you based on the answers you gave.
This is why you must pay attention when answering the questions.
However, several users definitely will not pay attention (simply because there are so many questions, as well as the fact that many people sign up to free dating sites like this out of boredom), and this is where UltraMatch is a bit flawed.
- Super Yes (Paid)
If you really like the look of someone and want to grab their attention, you can use the ‘Super Yes’ feature.
You’ll find this in the ‘Meet Me’ section, where you can choose to say Yes, No, Maybe – or Super Yes on someone. Bear in mind, though, that the Super Yes isn’t free. Instead, you have to buy tokens to use it.
- Send Priority Message (Paid)
As I’ll touch on later, POF is a very high traffic website. There will be occasions when you send a message to someone who doesn’t log in until the next day. As such, they may have received a lot more messages since yours (including ones from fake profiles). This means that your message might get lost in their inbox.
It sucks and the only thing you can do about it is upgrading your account to access the Send Priority Message. This useful feature prioritizes your message so that it’s at the top of a person’s inbox. It pretty much guarantees that they’ll see it.
Before it was given a makeover, POF relied on the same basic web design for several years. It had definitely run its course and was beginning to look really dated. Since the revamp, the site looks easier on the eye than ever.
That said, whilst POF was definitely a bit dated, it was also one of the most user-friendly dating sites around. Thankfully, that’s still the case now. This is a very simply but effectively designed dating site that makes it super easy for you to make your way around.
That all said, POF’s search area has always felt a tad overwhelming because there are pages and pages of endless profiles. Users often find themselves scrolling down continuously until they find someone they like the look of. It can be a time-consuming process, and whilst that particular aspect of the site hasn’t changed, the fact that POF has swapped the gloomy grey background for a much brighter, cleaner white one helps to make you feel more at ease.
Site speed is very good, too.
One other thing worth mentioning is that POF is available on desktop browsers and as an app. Whilst your login details remain the same on both versions, the app is more accessible and straightforward.
Privacy and Security
Whenever we sign up to an online dating site, we need to be sure that it’s safe, secure, and reliable, both in terms of our details, as well as in terms of how it will protect us from scammers.
I’ve already covered the fact that scammers have access to POF, and that, whilst POF has a customer support team who shutdown as many scammers as possible as quickly as possible, you still need to be on your guard. This means never giving out your personal information, such as your address, your phone number, or even your email address to a stranger you’ve only been talking to for a few minutes.
When it comes to the actual security of the site itself, POF is one of the most secure dating sites around. It was launched over 20 years ago, and whilst I’ve seen reports of people being scammed, I’ve never come across any stories of data breaches. POF would seem to be one of the safest sites to use when it comes to handing over your personal info, such as your banking details, and I have no concerns on this front.
My Experience with POF
To help you gain a more rounded view of Plenty of Fish, I created an account to find out how easy (or difficult) it is to find what you’re looking for here.
As mentioned, the signup process is fairly lengthy because everyone has to take a Chemistry Predictor questionnaire that comprises between 30 and 100+ questions. I recommend that you take your time with it and answer each question carefully because POF uses your answers to display compatible matches.
Personally, I couldn’t resist taking a coffee break halfway through!
Once that was done, I added a few lines to the “About Me” section in my profile, wrote a headline (I decided to add something witty the first time around), and I added a ‘conversation starter.’
Then, I headed over to the ‘search’ section and tweaked my filters. As part of their revamp, POF has added more filters, and you can now filter by intent. For example, I was initially looking to date but nothing serious. You can also tweak this filter to find those looking for a relationship, those looking to get married, those looking for casual sex – or even ‘anything.’ It’s an excellent way to find someone who’s looking for the same thing you are, and because POF is very heavy traffic, it means you get to filter out lots of unsuitable profiles.
Once I’d tweaked my filters, I was soon viewing profiles and sending messages. I was also getting a few views, and because POF lets free members see who’s viewed them, I was able to view them back.
To increase my chances of success, I used the ‘Meet Me’ feature, too. It wasn’t long before I was getting notifications at the top of my page letting me know that I had a few mutual matches, and it also wasn’t long before I was getting replies to my messages.
That said, I sent out a lot of messages during my first few hours on POF. Most users who I messaged didn’t even view my profile, let alone respond to me! I imagine this is the same for a lot of users because some POF members are known to get flooded with messages, especially from fake profiles. So you need to be wary that there are times when people won’t even see your message, or they simply won’t have the time to get around to replying to it.
What I enjoyed, however, was that POF’s search feature is very easy to use. Finding other users who I was interested in was simple enough. And when I wasn’t getting many replies to my messages, or even many views, I just changed my photos and tweaked my headline.
What I realized is that your headline is VERY important to your success on POF as, along with your profile picture and dating intent, it’s what grabs people's attention in an otherwise crowded search area. If you want others to view you and message first, you need to get your headline, your profile pic, and your intent absolutely right. For instance, some users simply write ‘Hi’ which – to me – isn’t very attention-grabbing at all.
And this is the thing with POF: It lets you experiment with your profile until you get it just right. Online dating is all about marketing yourself to the right people. If you do this right, success will come.
Also, because I came to realize that there were occasions when my messages just weren’t getting read due to the sheer volume of traffic on the site, I paid extra to use the ‘Send Priority Message’ feature. This allowed me to connect with more people because it meant that my messages rose to the top of their inbox.
All in all, my experience with POF was a decent one. The site is very easy to use, I liked the clean layout, and there are a good number of features that enhance your experience.
However, the sheer number of fake profiles, as well as those who sign up simply out of boredom and because it’s free, can make it very difficult for you to find what you’re looking for.
Best Alternatives to POF
POF is an okay free dating site. As mentioned, the fake profiles can be really discouraging. Here are some better (premium) alternatives:
eHarmony is a premium dating site aimed at those who are looking for love. It claims to be responsible for at least 600,000 couples getting married, and there are 90,000 active, paid members, with most of these aged between 25 and 34.
What sets eHarmony apart from POF is that it comes with an advanced matchmaking system that’s designed to pair you up with compatible matches. Like POF, this system requires you to take a personality test first. Your answers are then fed into the algorithm, which then takes your data and suggests you matches.
eHarmony’s matchmaking service works better than POF’s, largely because it’s more advanced but also because the site is 100% committed to helping all of its members find love. Read eHarmony review.
It’s affordable, it’s easy to use, and there’s absolutely nothing complex about it. And whilst it can be used to find short-term dates, many people who sign up admit that they’re looking for something longer-term.
It works a lot like POF but, because it’s a premium dating site, there are way less fake profiles on here. This allows you to find what you’re looking for much faster without the worry that you’re going to get scammed, or that you’ve messaged a fake profile.
And if you don’t find what you’re looking for after six months, Match will give you the next six months free. Read Match.com review.
EliteSingles is another premium dating site that’s aimed at those who are looking to see what’s out there with a view for finding a life partner.
However, what sets it apart from POF is that it’s generally used by university-educated, singles who are career-driven, ambitious – and looking for something similar. Indeed, 82% of the members hold some form of a university degree, whilst most of its members are aged over 30.
It works, too, with the site claiming that it creates 2,000 new couples every single month all over the world.
As well as a dating site, Elite Singles is also a matchmaker service that does most of the hard work for you when it comes to finding a suitable match. This makes it perfect for busy professionals who otherwise can’t make the time for online dating.
Plenty of Fish FAQs
Is POF Safe?
Yes. POF has been around for almost two decades and is one of the safest, most legit dating sites around.
Is POF Free?
POF allows you to access some of its features for free. You can create an account and even send and receive messages for free. For extra perks, such as the ability to see who’s interested in you, you need to upgrade your account.
Who Is POF Aimed At?
POF is a fairly broad dating site that’s used by those seeking something casual, those looking for friendship, as well as those who are looking for something short or long term.
Plenty of Fish Verdict
Plenty of Fish functions as a basic dating site, as well as a matchmaking service. Because it’s free to send and receive messages, it’s worth a closer look if you’re looking for anything from casual sex to a long term relationship.
It isn’t without its flaws, however, and it’s the opinion of this reviewer that it should be used alongside another dating site as you bid to find what you want.