Vancouver-based online dating company Plentyoffish is changing how its site works to emphasize relationship seeking and downplay those simply looking for sex.
"When I created POF, I wanted it to be all about finding relationships with the right person," founder Markus Frind says. "For the first seven years this worked really well: I got the site to 10 million users without any employees people and POF was generating a ton of relationships. But around three years ago, everyone started using the website via mobile phones."
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Today, Markus says, about 70% of POF use is via a mobile phone, and "unfortunately about 2% of men have started to use POF as more of a hookup site mostly due the the casual nature of cell phone use." So his company is making three big changes to refocus on relationships:
1. First contact cannot be sexual. "Anyone who tries to get around this rule will be deleted without warning," says POF.
2. Users can only contact others who are not more than 14 years younger or older than themselves. There is "no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old women," according to the Canadian company.
3. Intimate Encounters are being terminated. According to POF statistics, there are 3.3 million people who use the site every day, and of those there are only 6,000 single women looking for intimate encounters. And of those 6,000 women, many are men. "Intimate Encounters on POF can be summed up as a bunch of horny men talking to a bunch of horny men pretending to be women," Frind writes.
Frind insists that these changes will not impact the "vast majority" of POF users.