Our 2020 POF Review
Plenty of Fish is one of the oldest and most popular dating sites in the world, and possibly the most famous for mobile users. It’s also one of a small number of dating sites that lets its users send messages for free. However, there are still plenty of extra features for premium members.
So, I went ahead and signed up to experience the site as a free member, while remaining curious as to what I might get if I upgrade. After trying out numerous other dating sites to give you an in-depth review, I couldn’t help but take a site as well-known as Plenty of Fish for a spin. Read my POF review to find out about the sign-up process, what it’s like when contacting other members, and more.
- As one of the world’s most popular free dating sites, there’s a huge database of potential matches
- You can see who’s viewed your profile without having to upgrade
- A wealth of filtering options using “advanced search”
- An optional Chemistry Predictor that uncovers matches based on personal needs, sexual preferences, and psychology
- An Ultra-Match feature that enables you to find even more compatible matches based on one or more optional tests
- Find matches in or near your location by enabling the function in your phone settings
An average of four million members log on to the site every day, resulting in around 10 million conversations. So, I knew I was going to have a large database of members to tap into. With around 70,000 new users signing up each day, the number of potential matches was only going to increase. I figured that among all these members there were bound to be those seeking all kinds of relationships, whether friendship, casual, dating, or serious relationships.
Sign Up Process
I was a bit overwhelmed when I saw the extent of what was “required” when signing up. I had to answer a barrage of questions and at least 100 words about myself before I was taken to the next page to upload my profile photo. As the questions were multiple-choice, though, it didn’t take me anywhere near as long as I thought. Although I have to say, some definitely caught my attention, as they were more unique than the questions I’d seen on other dating sites. One, for example, asked me how ambitious I am.
I was also asked to be careful about disclosing information of a more personal nature, like my name, address, and phone number. Once I’d uploaded my answers and bio, I could then add up to eight photos in total. I had to add at least one, so I went with the minimum, with the option of adding up to another seven later. At that stage, I was just too curious to find out what else I needed to do to complete my profile. After completing it, a number of matches showed up on the page, and I could either look through those or enter different search criteria.
When searching for members, I was presented with the usual options to narrow down the results: body type, ethnicity, age, and even the duration of my potential matches’ longest relationship. And if I wanted to, I could have sorted those by the highest income. There was a Nearby option that could show me results of members located within half a mile, and a More Prospects button to continue searching.
I was impressed by some of the matches, and there were a fair number of women who I was interested in contacting. Fortunately, it wasn’t difficult to work out what my options were. Their profiles revealed their username, age, and photo, as well as whether they were online or not. They also told me what interests they have, which is great for breaking the ice. The site even offered me ideas of what to say based on a member’s individual profile. I prefer to come up with something myself, but it was nice to have a fallback option. It’s certainly useful for those who struggle to start a conversation beyond “Hey, you okay? Lol”.
The majority of dating sites limit the ways in which you can contact other members, but this is where Plenty of Fish differs. It’s a great way of testing out online dating without spending any money. And even if you upgrade your membership, you’ll find that you’ll be paying less fees than you would with other sites.
As my profile was in good standing (meaning not flagged as inappropriate or blocked), I could message members for free, with the limit being 55 new people every 24 hours, which is more than enough. The only rule was that I could only message members with an age gap of less than 14 years (it’s 9 years for members under 22).
I was getting a few spam messages, as is always going to be the case on a dating site, but I always had the option of disabling messaging if it got too much. Fortunately, it never reached an unbearable level where I felt the need to do that.
I also learned that it was a good idea to focus messages more on those who have been active on the site within the past week, or preferably even within 24 hours. That way, I was more likely to receive a reply, which would only save me time. Sorting results by those most recently online helps with that, too. That only makes sense, as I could imagine that the more attractive women on POF get bombarded with messages. So, contacting new users gives you a chance of getting them to pay attention to your message before they get overwhelmed with interest.
The advanced search allowed me to filter matches based on all kinds of criteria, such as pet ownership, how many languages they can speak, and whether they own a car or not. The more criteria I specified, the fewer matches I was shown, so I had to forget about trying to find my ideal woman and be less strict with the advanced search option.
One nice trick with the advanced search feature was that it allowed me to save time by creating a templated message for those who met certain criteria, mainly in the specific interest categories. For example, for those who expressed an interest in traveling, I wrote a message that inquired about their traveling experience while talking about my own. I copy and paste it into the message box for every profile that matches my preferences and who have also expressed an interest in traveling.
Sometimes browsing member profiles made me feel like a data analyst, or maybe even private investigator, as there was so much information on there. But it was necessary if I wanted to find the right matches.
I also had the opportunity to take a chemistry test by clicking on “Chemistry” in the main menu. I couldn’t be bothered to answer a set of 73 questions (even though they were multiple questions). It apparently improves match quality, but I felt I’d provided enough information at this stage to ensure I’d get appropriate matches
I chose a username that was as close as I could get to my own name as possible. Sure, I could have chosen a more exciting, or even witty, username, but I didn’t want to look as though I was trying too hard to stand out. My main priority when choosing a username was to avoid going with one that could be a turn-off. When members check messages, the first thing they see is a member’s username. If it’s something like MrBig007, it might turn off a large number of members (and certainly wouldn’t attract the kind of members I was looking for).
I was also tasked with creating a headline. Headlines are also one of the first things that members see when browsing through their inbox, so it’s an area I spent some time on to get right. If a member isn’t put off by a username or headline, the more chance there is that they’re seeing my picture. That’s a good thing, as studies have shown that the more a member sees another member’s photo, the greater affinity they have for that member.
When trying to come up with a headline, I knew I wanted one that was interesting and creative, as well as being easy to scan. Again, I consulted previous research on this, and studies have shown that simple language is more attractive, as people are attracted to words that are easy to recall. At the same time, I didn’t want to come up with something so ridiculously basic that it would make me look lazy. Ultimately, I didn’t want to come across as though I wasn’t taking the process of finding a match seriously.
I visited the Apple App Store to download the app to my iPhone. It’s also available from the Google Play Store for Android users. In fact, I almost wished I owned an Android phone myself when I saw that POF works with Google Assistant. There’s a lot of advertising on the app, but that’s the case with any dating app. It’s one reason that I’m tempted to upgrade to a premium membership, as ads aren’t shown to premium members.
Plenty of Fish likes to boast about the number of conversations on its site and with good reason– there a lot of them. I guess there’s no conversation like a free conversation. That doesn’t mean that absolutely everything is free on the site, however. If another member likes you, for example, the site asks you to upgrade to see who it is. Premium accounts can also see the most recent users on the site.
Newest members are more likely to reply, according to POF, although this isn’t something I’ve tested out for myself as I’m still not 100% sure whether I want to upgrade or not. I’m still testing out the free membership, which is more generous than most dating sites. Although, that doesn’t mean that I won’t upgrade. Another reason I’m considering the premium membership is that I could see even more information on members’ profiles, i.e. their preferences and answers to a few questions.
I could sign up for a month for just $19.99, which isn’t much of a risk; but if I’m going to I sign up, I’d rather take advantage of the longer but more cost-effective eight-month membership that works out to just $9.99 a month. Some of the other main dating sites charge upwards of $40 a month, so signing up with Plenty of Fish is definitely tempting.
The Bottom Line
I can safely say that I now fully understand why POF has been around for so long. It’s a fun website to navigate around and search for members looking for all kinds of relationships from friendship to romance. Profile matching is also reliable, seeing as there’s so much space to list personal information, such as likes and interests.
There’s a lot of leeway to use the site for free without the need to upgrade. The functions may be limited, but browsing and communicating costs nothing, and upgrading is so reasonably priced.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does POF work?
POF works just like any other dating site, except that it offers the chance to include more information and details in your profile, improving the probability of finding the right match. Having one of the largest databases of any online dating site in the world doesn’t hurt in that department, either.
How much does POF cost?
POF offers a number of features for free–features that you’d have to pay for on most other dating sites. However, it allows you to do even more with its premium membership, which costs from $5.95 to $9.80 per month, depending on how long you commit for.
Can you tell me how to block someone on POF?
Fortunately, blocking another member is quick and painless. All you need to do is click on ‘Block User’ below their message. If you want to know how to unblock someone on POF, open a message from any user, scroll down, and you’ll see a link to your ‘Blocked User List’. Simply go there and unblock them.
How to delete a POF account
If you ever decide that you want to delete your POF account, simply click on “Help” and then “Delete Account”. You’ll be asked to complete a survey when leaving the site, but it isn’t mandatory.
How do I contact POF customer service?
The help pages offer plenty of information, such as how to use your account and anything related to billing and subscriptions. There are also POF social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; so, you can engage with them at whichever of those accounts you prefer to use.
How does the app compare with the POF desktop version?
If you prefer the desktop version, you’ll find that it offers many of the same features as the app. If user-friendliness is important to you, however, it may be that the app version is for you. You can find the POF app download link in both the App Store and Android Market.
How does Match vs POF compare?
Many sites have offered a POF vs Match comparison over the years, as both sites have been popular for a long time. One major difference is that, while there are a lot of people on Match looking for casual relationships as well, the site is more for those who are looking for something serious. POF encompasses the whole spectrum of dating, so you can meet new people and even just chat online or meet someone for something more. You can read our review of Match here.
How does Tinder vs POF compare?
Tinder is suited towards those looking for casual dating, such as a short-term relationship or a hookup, whereas POF not only caters to that same market, but also to those seeking a longer-term commitment. You can expect to find more mature members on POF, often in their late 20s and 30s, which typically means that you have a better chance of finding a compatible partner if you’re looking for something serious. Our Tinder review gives you a full rundown.
How does Zoosk vs POF compare?
Zoosk is for those seeking advanced ways of meeting people online, such as through its own search engine, SmartPick. POF, on the other hand, is great for those who enjoy a site with a feature that weights personalities and presents the user with matches that are compatible with the type of person you’re looking for. Read our Zoosk review to find out whether it’s right for you or not.
How does POF vs okcupid compare?
Okcupid is another popular app and enjoys a reputation for being user-friendly, especially for those who are new to dating. On the other hand, POF boasts far more users, and so offers a better chance of finding a match. Our review of okcupid provides more detail.