The Online Dating Game and The Incredible Business Minds Behind It

Written by on September 26, 2012 in Relationships - No comments | Print this page

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Online dating attracts approximately 1.4 billion consumers worldwide. At least 7 million of those people frequent free internet dating site, PlentyofFish.com. The domain was created and abandoned by Markus Frind in 2001, only to be resurrected 2 years later in 2003 when Frind began to suspect that his real job was in jeopardy.

It took some time for the site to catch on, but once Frind discovered the many wonders of SEO marketing and Adsense, things took off quickly. The traffic on his site built up and PlentyofFish.com began to take off.

It’s hard to believe that Frind is nonchalant about his recent triumphs. Frind speaks with a quiet conviction in his interviews and his words are animated by shrugs that seem to suggest that he’s discussing facts that everyone should already be aware of.

Frind knows that Plentyoffish.com has already left its competitors in the dust. The site receives at least 2.8 billion page views per month, and its newly launched mobile app has been downloaded by one million users. Other sites can’t seem to keep up with Plenty of Fish, but the site certainly has an advantage. Plentyoffish.com is completely free for its users. (There is a paid option but it’s not necessary.)

The Numbers Game: It’s Relative

According to statistics offered by Frind, Plentyoffish.com is sporting some impressive numbers:

  • PlentyofFish.com is frequented by 723 million visitors per month, comparable to Match.com
  • PlentyofFish.com users send about 5.5 billion email messages yearly, nearly 4 times as much as Match.com users

Of course, numbers are always subject to interpretation. Comparing PlentyofFish.com’s 5 million regular users to Match.com’s 1.9 million subscribers isn’t exactly fair. It’s more like comparing apples to oranges since PlentyofFish.com is a free site and Match.com users must pay for a subscription to the site. Online matchmaking is not unlike the news industry; a great deal of time is spent on locating the right numbers in order to convince users and advertisers that a particular brand is stronger than the next.

Everyone is a Winner!

If dating sites were evaluated on statistics alone and not unbiased dating site reviews, it would appear that almost every online dating site was a winner. Everyone’s claim to fame is associated with a different type of statistics, and it’s not always clear how each site collects their data.

Many online dating sites are claiming their success based on the number of marriages between users. Some cite the number of connections facilitated by the site, and some claim their fame via the number of users the site currently has.

PlentyofFish.com has an interesting motto. Their claim to fame is “More dates, more relationships than any other dating site.”

Frind admits that his measurement methods probably aren’t the most scientific. Essentially the site measures success by how many users leave the site, stating that they’ve recently entered into a relationship. He then speculates further, using a widely accepted average of 12.5% –the percentage of most relationships that end in marriages to determine how many user relationships have led to marriage. Of course, none of this can be validated without a massive worldwide survey, but no one has been ambitious enough to attempt that just yet.

PlentyofFish.com has had its share of rough patches, just like most relationships. In January of 2011 the site was hacked and the site’s users names and passwords were uncovered by hackers. The security holes were patched immediately and there have been no more incidents.

Show Me the Money

One might wonder how a free dating site like PlentyofFish.com makes money without requiring users to subscribe. It’s actually quite simple. The site charges a reasonable rate for advertising fees and rakes in over 25 million in revenue per year.

Online dating sites are part of a virgin industry which has only been around since 1995, so there isn’t a great deal of data to work with. Weighing any statistical results is a challenge.

The only truly accurate method for measuring is evaluating the money that is coming in. Of course, Match.com brings in more revenues. Individual users are required to pay subscription fees, while PlentyofFish.com’s users don’t have to pay a thing. PlentyofFish.com is supported by advertising, and its revenue is much less than Match.com’s $400 million.

Still, PlentyofFish.com isn’t hurting with its 25 million in revenue per year and is one of the best dating sites online. Frind isn’t fazed by the numbers; he insists that any site can bring in $100 million. He’s just not interested in pursuing that at the moment.

This is a guest post.  Rick Mercado is a successful writer and internet marketer who enjoys writing articles for www.dating-site-advisor.com about the best dating sites online and giving expert relationship advice to single men. He and his wife enjoy living in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Canada’s rugged East Coast, where they can spend most of their free time kayaking and hiking.

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