As I reported a few days ago, Markus Frind, the owner of the free dating site PlentyOfFish.com has been pulling in $10,000 a day from Adsense. What is even more remarkable is that he is single handedly (with a little help from his wife) running one of the largest dating sites on the internet. I asked him if he would like to do an interview for the blog, and he agreed.

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In 2003 you made a post on WebmasterWorld where you said you were making $40 a day. At what point, either before or after this, did you recognize that you could generate a livable income, and beyond, through your own websites?

I knew the day adsense came out that i would be able to make a lot of money, suddenly here was this revenue stream i could actually build a business on. My site at that point only had a few hundred visitors a day and it was only a few months old. But my growth was steady and I could plot on a graph exactly how much traffic i’d have in 4 or 5 months in the future. This was the same time where i started doing mass anti competitive intelligence, i blocked anyone with the alexa toolbar from signing up and anyone using comscore. I figured if i was to have any chance i would need to stay completely under the radar, if no one knows you exist then no one is going to counter you or clone it.

What was the biggest obstacle you have faced since starting PlentyOfFish.com and how did you overcome it?

I wouldn’t say I had any real obstacles, growth is steady and you have a good 2 or 3 months lead time on when things will start to become an issue. I spent a good 3 months of the last 12 months on vacation. I suppose that the biggest issue has always been performance, In order handle 14-15 million pageviews a day on 4 servers you have to constantly tweak the database, as execution paths etc change as the database grows and load increases.

You started PlentyOfFish to learn and expand your skills. When did you begin treating the site as a business?

I was making around 4k a month off the site and i quit my job to do it full time. At the same time i learned how to do PPC, affiliate marketing , SEO etc. Basically i tried to learn as much as possible, adapt it to my needs and move on.

You appear to be an advocate of simple, quick loading designs. Do you think that there are any other elements of web site development that developers are looking at wrong and may be counter-productive to their success?

Function over form to build an emotional connection with the user. Blend ads into content, No flashing crap, make the site useful. Basically all those things that everyone knows you are supposed to do, but very few people actually do. There is no magic bullet, but you should always test new designs or new text etc to get the result that you want. You will never have the worst design and never the best, but through testing you can always improve.

I’ve noticed some resentment by promotors and owners of paid dating sites. They fear that once a customer gets a taste of free dating they will never pay a monthly fee, thus destroying the online dating industry as it exists today. Do you think they should be threatened by PlentyOfFish.com?

Many of the owners/promoters of these niche sites basically are people who had no clue about the internet and got in the market during the .com boom and lucked out onto a viable business model. Since then they have lived in a bubble with relatively little competition. The large sites are worried, but they have always faced stiff competition. For the most part the industry wants to ignore the fact i exist and they are just hoping that I will go away, so they don’t have to explain to investors why profits are vanishing.

I think in the future paid dating will account for 5 to 20% of the over all online dating market, currently 68% of my membership in the United states has paid for a dating site in the past, draw what conclusions you will.

Do you have a vision of what the internet will look like 5 years from now, and if so, can you describe it?

Adsense and YPN will be standard components of any business models. There will eventually be a massive market place where you just select a age range, city gender etc and your ads will be shown to people matching your demographics. More tools will be developed to track users intentions and monetize them. If you own a site about horses and someone was thinking about buying a car a week ago while searching the net, your horse site may display car ads. We will eventually see online ads approach the ROI of offline ads or even exceed them as monetization of intentions\preferences takes hold.

134 thoughts on “Exclusive Interview with PlentyOfFish.com creator and owner, Markus Frind

  1. Good job with the site, innovation and hard work at its finest. To those who think that their lives matter enough to anyone other than their friends and family…drop dead. No one cares about your plights or insignificant rantings about getting deleted. If this site doesn’t work for you, solution, find another.

  2. Pingback: Apprendere dai milionari di Adsense (1) | TechNotizieNews

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  4. so sad that he made so much off the backs of his clients, and even wanted us to provide our stories when we made a connection, but wasn’t interested in giving any compensation for our ‘free advertisement’ for his website.

  5. Hi Marcus, I have throughly enjoyed POF. But today no matter how many times I have tried it is coming up as a bad address and will not go onto the site. Please tell me what is going on.

  6. Hi Markus,
    Enjoying the time i spend on the site, no luck yet but today i can’t get on the site. Keeps telling me their is a bad address.
    need some input as to why this is happening
    abide by all the rules
    Thanks “D”

  7. Site is no longer a 100’% free anymore lots of bs going on at pof giving away free gold badges to ladies and making the men pay…ladies are recieiving these for free and dont even want them it makes you look more desperate…so for 71 dollars a year now you get a gold badge and adds not beside your name..WOW WOW that seems like a fair deal my f**kin ass so was a matter of time..OH AND BY THE WAY you need to change your slogan now to” have your credit card ready just in case”

  8. This is inspiring story, never believed someone would make a fortune from adsense. Some of us here in Africa just do adsense for the sake of trying, to meet hosting costs

  9. Many of the people on the free also go on and off the paid sites in the same areas. However, overall, there’s a lot of quality people on this site. I think he’s done a great job and I am glad he is making money. I keep getting a LAST CHANCE offer from eharmony every week from a profile that I did 6 years ago. How desperate is that? I find Plentyoffish is a great way to meet new people when you move into a new area too. It gives a platform for people to talk. FREE. Keep up the good work.

  10. Seems like a great site other than the fact that he deletes profiles on a regular basis for no reason.

    I signed up and followed all the rules for a long time and then all the sudden my profile is gone. I make another one, he deletes it.

    If he is making that much money, he can hire a customer service rep to explain and answer questions for the people on the site. His mail on the site says “if you don’t have a question that is not answered in the FAQ” then we won’t even respond? Are you kidding?

  11. Hi

    It is with a very heavy heart I right this Marcus, Although at this stage I caan not go into to much detail, I met and chatted with one of your male memebers, we exchanged phone numbers and after several long chats on the phone agree to arrange a meeting. I took all the precution suggested y yourself, I was then help at gun point, tired up, gagged, blindfolded and raped. I was held for some almost four hours. This man is now awaiting trial, and it seems I was not his first victam. I now feel that with you and onther site we have to do more to make men and espeiacially women safe. I really hope you and I ccan work together and try to come up with some solutions.

    Yours Dawn

  12. Hi..been on pof for almost 2 yrs…deleted my profile not to long ago,not having much luck….would be nice to have a site just for ppl with disabilities….ppl get scared off when they find out that you have a medical condition….so much easier to talk to ppl who are in the same boat ….hope you will think about it ….then i can get back on again…lol…thanks….

  13. I went out with someone only ONE girl one time…she was a real bitch, and basically just used me to get a ride to her town bar then i guess she got pissed because I said she was a bitch for basically begging me to come out with her, drove an hour, for her to go socialize at a bar with all her friends and pay no attention to me…anyhow I left and she calls asking where i went…i told her how I felt, said “that’s a bitch move, have fun at the bar skank” then never talked to her again….so if she complained…do i get deleted? My prof was deleted and if i remake one…even from a different email it’s deleted within a few hours…sometimes minutes..that’s some bullshit becuse I made some good friends that I want to keep in contact with. markus is an asshole, seriously how can i get back on temporarily…is my ip banned or something?

  14. Marcus and his team are power mad assh0les!

    The only good thing about this site is the amount of horny girls that are on it and willing to meet.

    Coincidently, DO NOT use the forums, it is also full of sad power mad freaks that will delete your post and profile.

    So what if they are making allot of money, have you seen Marcus? Hes quite an ugly little sh1t.

  15. Hey…I think an exboyfriend of mine is jealous that I am on your site and has blocked me from using it. What can you do about it?
    Thank you
    Susan

  16. Markus is obviously incredibly intelligent and I repsect everything that he has been able to accomplish thius far. Great interview.

  17. I would like to start by saying that I would never use any type of dating site ever again. The person I met in 2008 turned out to be a conartist, liar, thief. I am not sure if I am allowed to share is name so anyway. If you come across a man by the name of Larry Bailey; RUN FAST!!!! He totally misrepresented hisself to me and my family. He owes me alot of $$$$$$$$ and now he will not even call or e-mail me to continue the stories of how he’s going to repay me. HA. What a joke he is. I have hired an attorney, but not sure what will happen. Ladies, please be careful don’t fall for everything someone says. I also blame plenty of fish for allowing people with police records to even be on their site. Oh well, what a huge lesson learned. I will never trust anyone again for what happened to me.
    Lorri

  18. my xhusnabd is on plenty of fish he raped one of my family members… sometimes you don’t know WHO YOU ARE MEETING… I TRIED TO GET HIM OFF GOT NO HELP.

    • This is why paid dating services are go to be remaining. If the user pays it shows yes I am interested and serious. 2 I think there should be something like HIPPA where these sites can help do a background check on the user at registration and follow ups to help do their part for a safer experience. CL is becoming what people are calling the increase of HIV again and now it is spreading into straight men. Very sad

  19. Marus, Did s spectacale -great job. Everyday- I am thankful for Marus and his efforts. If he makes money ON GIVING people JOY -finding happiness, that is more than any other business can say.. Go Marcus. U found the American Dream and MORE important YOUR dream.

    Have made mine come true being on a low income.. Thanks so much to Marcus.

  20. Markus is a smart businessman. The site now charges you to see if your sent mail has been read. A great way to make money off the habits of the bitches who don’t respond.

  21. Why was I cut off?? A few girls said they were not hapy because I did not want to meet them??? Were do I go know??

  22. I am Angie2829..I have been on plenty of fish for about 6 months. today my picture was deleted from my profile because it was said I put a nude picture that violated the rules. I did not. I would never do that. the only thing I can come up with is that one night I was vieing my messages with my friend. I got a message from someone who claimed they had a penis, & wanted to date me a lesbian. my friend messaged in some remarks like “you should stay that way & date someone like you”. this person then told me she would block me & to drop dead. how they got into my profile without the password, I don’t know. I hope they do not do it again when I put a new picture on. they are hiding, but they were from Columbia Mo. short dark hair & thick glasses. Please feel free to go into my messages to see who it was, & to block them from me. several women have asked me why my picture is gone. I don’t know. I hope this problem gets solved. Angie2829

  23. This post is quite old, but this guy still inspires me. But the thing now is on Facebook. I think being a one-man company will not make a business grow to its maximum. Hence, we must learn to merge with others, and share the credits.

  24. I’m a frustrated member of POF, as I cannot log into my account on POF due to the Password Box being too small for my actual password that I changed two days ago. I was logged in and changed my password on POF, and then, when I continually go to log in to my account under my NEW password, I’m finding the new password is too long for the allowed character space allotted for the password box on EVERY log-in site on-line. I have tons of friends and love interests on my POF site, and canNOT log in now. I cannot contact any staff member to help me, as the only help offered on their site is automated answers to typical facts and questions about trouble-shooting. Can anyone help me? I don’t want to have to create an entirely new account on POF JUST to try searching for all my friends on their.

    Signed, frustrated-but-loyal POF member
    Tootie. (include the period after “Tootie” for my username on POF
    [email protected]

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