What is PlentyOfFish? The dating platform that isn’t inclusive of transgender or non-binary people

PlentyOfFish was an early adopter to online dating, launching in 2003 promising singletons there are plenty more fish in the sea.

Unlike other dating platforms, the POF mantra is very much orientated towards long-term relationships, rather than something more casual.

PlentyOfFish doesn’t rank very highly among LGBT+ people, perhaps due to the site not being inclusive of people who are transgender, non-binary or gender fluid.

POF currently only has a binary gender selection option available, lagging behind the likes of Tinder who have had gender-inclusive options for quite some time now.

The platform doesn’t seem to actively seek out LGBT+ users either, as its focus seems predominantly on opposite-sex couples in its advertising.

A brief history

The founder, Markus Frind, started up the company a few years after graduating with a diploma in Computer Systems Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Canada.

He told Business Insider that his initial motivation for starting an online dating site was “as a way to improve my résumé.”

The company started out as a one-man band, before slowly growing. Today, the PlentyOfFish workforce remains under 100 employees.

Starting off in Vancouver, Canada, the site has expanded and is now used in Australia, Brazil, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.

The site even made it into Lady Gaga’s Telephone music video!

Check out the computer screen of that police officer, she’s going dating…

Listen to the whole song below and spot the reference yourself (hint, it’s about halfway through…)

Markus is said to be the man “behind a million babies”, as he successfully grew the site to over 70 million users around the world.

According to the company, 10 million conversations take place between POF users on a daily basis.

The Canadian company was so successful it ended up being sold for $575 million in 2015.

According to reports, Frind was able to hold onto 100% of the site’s sale price.

The online dating giants the Match Group bought the company and added PlentyOfFish to its portfolio of dating platforms, which include Match.com, OKCupid and Tinder.

Aesthetic and functional updates to the service have since been rumoured, and are said to be in the pipeline.


Founder of PlentyOfFish, Markus Frind

The breakdown

The app is free and available in a traditional desktop format, or on smartphones.

POF say users come together to “connect, flirt, and share with each other” but primarily to form committed, lasting relationships rather than to hook up.

What’s more, according to their website, single people have more conversations on PlentyOfFish than on any other dating site.

New users to the site create a profile, which includes some generic details about their name, age and location as well as some pictures.

Profiles also contain the user’s interests, personality type, intention for using the site and a bio with some further information.


The site focuses on long-term relationships

How does the matching process work?

POF puts new users through a ‘Chemistry Test’, which rather than test your ability to turn on a Bunsen burner, enables the site to connect you with the most appropriate compatible singletons.

If that’s sparked your interest, just wait until you see what part of you is tested…

Five aspects of a person’s personality are tested during the POF Chemistry Predictor, also shortened to POFCP (more abbreviations!)

  1. Self-confidence
  2. Family orientation
  3. Self-control
  4. Social dependency and openness
  5. Easygoingness

All important things to know about a potential date, of course. Although, it might be an idea to take those results with a pinch of salt.

Take self-confidence, for instance, anybody can be confident behind a keyboard and a WiFi connection. Just look at internet trolls.

Anyway, once the results have been collated, PlentyOfFish uses an algorithm to connect you with other compatible users.

According to the POF website: “We believe the resulting set of matches are users that you will most likely date and maybe marry!”

It’s a wonder there’s anybody single left.

“Emotional needs” are also taken into account during this test, which enables users to potentially create “long lasting stable relationships.”

Going further…

The platform’s algorithm also allows you to understand your “relationship needs” further, allowing people to use PlentyOfFish as a bit of a dating guru too.

“We will tell you what you need in a relationship, where you screwed up (without knowing it) in past relationships and a customized action plan to make your next relationship successful” claims POF’s website.

There’s also a brand new psychological assessment, which is free for anybody to try out and dauntingly offers to “tell you what you really want versus what you say you want.”

Questions range from the importance of money in a potential relationship to how concerned your potential partner should be with their nutrition and exercise habits.

POF’s relationship algorithm then provides you with a summary of what your relationship needs are and what to look for in an ‘ideal’ partner.

LGBT+ users

As we mentioned before, PlentyOfFish struggles when it comes to LGBT+ users.

The owners of POF, the Match Group, don’t do too badly when it comes to queer users on their other platforms though.

Match.com continues to attract a growing number of LGBT+ people, who remain willing to pay a monthly subscription fee to use the service.

The site was founded in 1995 and led the online dating revolution.

Despite being founded at a time when straight and queer users were segregated into different dating platforms, the site is now open to all.

In the US, Match.com is ranked as the best dating website for gay men.

Tinder also remains very popular in the queer dating sphere, another LGBT+ success story from the Match Group.


(Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Despite PlentyOfFish being less talked-about in the online dating world, the platform continues to attract a growing number of users, say the brand.

Unlike other traditional dating platforms like Match.com, PlentyOfFish is also free for users across the world.

But at a time when more than half of young people don’t identify as straight, the site might do well to reconsider its lack of inclusivity if it is to survive amongst the next generation.

While other legacy dating sites like Match.com have embraced LGBT+ users with open arms, POF seems stuck in the past.

PlentyOfFish is just one fish in a growing aquarium of dating platforms; it remains to be seen if this traditional and uninclusive site will sink or swim.