Plenty of Fish, one of the largest if not the largest free dating website online is introducing what some consider radical new changes to the site membership structure. The site which boast of 10 million members and claims credit for helping create 800,000 relationship a year is introduction a paid membership alongside its free membership. Some critic said the paid option is nothing more than sticky a yellow graphic on a members paid members profile, with no additional features for paid members over free members.
Some people claim this will be the end of the site which gets millions of visitors each month.
Introducing payment for a service that has been traditionally free is usually controversial, thousands of companies both in the dating and other industry have done this in the past, usually followed by the kind of uproar Plenty of Fish new paid model is causing.
Another new development introduced by Plenty of Fish about the same time as the new paid model is the removal of instant messaging feature from its site. In a blog announcing the change, the site founder Markus Frind announced that instant messenger was initially disabled and then removed completely 4 days later, he went on further to say that the removal of instant messenger increased the site’s visitors from UK by 10% and traffic from Australia increased by 15%. One thing that was not clean in the blogpost was the fact that he described the decision to remove IM from the site “the biggest strategic mistake he has made with the site” perhaps he meant adding IM in the first place or removing it, it was not clear.