Oh boy, did I get a bunch of emails on this. I’m not on the dating sites at the moment, but many of you are and plenty of you are railing about the new age restrictions at Plenty of Fish.
If you didn’t know yet, a few days ago “Mr. Markus”, founder of POF, sent a message out to all POF customers. Get ready to puke.
My name is Markus and I created POF/Plentyoffish. When I created POF, I wanted it to be all about finding relationships with the right person. For the first 7 years this worked really well, I got the site to 10 million users without any employees and POF was generating a ton of relationships.
So far, so good.
Around 3 years ago, everyone started using the website via mobile phones. Today about 70% of POF use is via a mobile phone
That’s actually a useful factoid. I figured it was around 50%, not 70%. One of the reasons I re-wrote my main online dating ebook was to include the fact that so much online dating these days is done with phones rather than computers.
Now here’s where things take a turn for the worse.
and unfortunately about 2% of men started to use POF as more of a hookup site mostly due to the casual nature of cell phone use.
Wait a minute.
Men just started using POF as a hookup site? Just in the last three years? Because of cell phones?
Mr. Markus, are you and I talking about the same POF? POF has been the go-to site for hookups for many, many years. It’s the place people went to because Match.com cost money. People were using it this way before anyone was playing around with OKCupid. Guys (and gals!) were using Plenty of Fish to “hookup” way back when I was still married and monogamous (pre-2007) and didn’t even know what POF was.
And let’s talk about your numbers. 2% of men are looking to hook up on POF? Just 2%? You mean 98% of men on POF are looking for a soul mate?
Mr. Markus, are you fucking delusional?
This is a wonderful example of the lengths people and corporations will go to in order to bend the truth, just to politically correct.
The insanity continues….
In sticking with my vision that POF is all about Relationships, I’m going to make a bunch of changes to ensure it stays a relationship-focused site.
POF was never a “relationships-focused” site. That’s what eHarmony and Match.com was for. I’m not saying everyone on POF is there to just get laid, but to call POF a “relationship-focused site” is silly. But I already covered that.
Instead, I shall translate this last paragraph into English: In order to kiss women’s asses, and ensure that we keep women on this fucking web site, we’ve implemented changes that will make women feel better, alienate men, and hamper the overall experience and effectiveness of our service.
1. Any first contact between users that contains sexual references will not be sent. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will be deleted without warning. This rule has actually been in effect since last month and it’s made the site so much better.
I’m okay with that, I guess. Men who go full-on sexual with their first message to a woman are just wasting everyone’s time. Don’t do it.
That being said, I’m not sure if I want my dating site to be combing through my openers and filtering out the ones they deem “sexual”. But whatever. Not a huge deal. Yet.
2. You can only contact people +/- 14 years of your age. There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old women. The majority of messages sent outside those age ranges are all about hookups. Anyone who tries to get around this rule will get deleted.
There we go. The big problem. I’ll discuss this in a minute.
3. Intimate Encounters will go away in the next few months. There are 3.3 Million people who use the site every day, of those there are only 6,041 single women looking for Intimate Encounters. Of those 6,041 women, the ones with hot pictures are mostly men pretending to be women. 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.
I don’t have a huge problem with this, because frankly, because of Societal Programming and ASD, the vast majority of women who want an intimate encounter are not going to say that on their profiles for fear of embarrassment or slut shaming. So having that category on a site that isn’t quite to the degree of AdultFriendFinder is indeed somewhat superfluous. Not because it’s inaccurate, but because no one will use that label, including the people to whom it actually applies. (Sadly.)
In short the vast majority of people will not be impacted. This is because the vast majority of people are not going around spamming women saying “let’s have sex tonight”. I can’t change POF alone, I need your help to get the word out there that POF is all about relationships!
Again with the fucking “relationships” talk. As if relationships have nothing to do with sex. As if most relationships don’t start out with, you guessed it, SEX. Especially and particularly those 18 year-old girls whom Mr. White Knight Markus is trying to protect. Doesn’t Mr. Markus realize those younger women are the ones who generally put out faster than those over-33 types?
Maybe he does, but that’s not the point. Mr. Markus knows everything he’s saying is a lie and this is all corporate spin on order to keep and attract women customers. All the reasons he’s giving are therefore irrelevant. He’d say the sky was made of cheese if he thought it would help him get more women to his site.
The Problems With Age Difference Restrictions
Here are the problems with what POF is doing.
(UPDATE 5/25/13: It’s actually worse than what Markus has said. To quote commenter Magik: If you are 30 or over, you can’t message 18-21 year olds at all. I’m 30, and even though I am within 15 years age difference from an 18 year old, I can’t message them. So keep that in mind as I say what I’m about to say.)
1. As I have discussed here and elsewhere in great detail, a sizable percentage of women age 18-23 are “Type 2s”. These are women who are strongly attracted to much older men. In many cases, the older, the better (within reason of course). These women don’t want to date men their age. Men their age actually turn them off.
These women usually have no avenue to find these kinds of men in their normal day-to-day lives. So where do they go to find them?
By implementing this change, POF has instantly destroyed the entire reason these women go to their site in the first place. Now that 18 or 19 year-old who really wants a much older guy is limited to guys age 32-33 and under.
Well Blackdragon, 32 should be old enough for them. Those girls can settle for 32.
Who are you to decide that? Isn’t that up to them? Who died and made you god? Who made you the arbiter of what ages are appropriate for a 18 or 19 or 22 year-old woman to date? Isn’t that up to her, you fucking fascist?
2. Women on POF already have the ability to block incoming messages from men over a certain age. Any woman can go into her profile and block all messages from men over whatever age she wants. It’s a basic feature that’s been there since time immemorial. So why the hell are you dictatorially mandating this 14 year restriction to everyone?
Having been a business consultant for decades, and having worked with many corporations intimately, I know the answer to this question.
The Public Answer: “We want to help our female customers feel safe that creepers won’t be messaging them, and we want to make it easy for these women to not have to go into their settings and blah blah blah politically correct corporatespeak blah blah blah…”
The Real Answer: “We don’t want older guys messaging younger women. We think it’s gross. And it’s our site. So fuck you. Also, our customers are stupid. And younger women are really stupid. They don’t read directions or look at any settings. They probably wouldn’t even understand them if they did. They’re so dumb. So they don’t know they have the ability to filter incoming messages. If they’re going to be that stupid, fine, we’ll do it for them. Which we want to anyway, since we don’t want older guys messaging younger women. That’s gross.”
I promise you that’s the exact thought process going on over at POF HQ right now.
3. I am now going to put myself in the very odd position of defending gold diggers. Let’s be real here, these women are a large part of POF’s client base also.
Why is POF limiting the ability for hot young gold diggers to snag some rich older beta male? Again, isn’t that between the gold digger and the sugar daddy? When/why did POF suddenly decide these kinds of relationships are unacceptable?
4. The age restriction runs both ways. That means older women can’t message younger guys any more. At least theoretically…we’ll have to see if this is actually true. (UPDATE 5/25/13: It’s been confirmed. Women cannot message younger men. Many over-30 women have had conversations they had going with hot younger guys instantly terminated when the new rule was enacted.)
So now cougars are deemed unacceptable and inappropriate for POF? I thought you wanted to reach out to women with these new rules, you fucking hypocrites. Any woman in her mid-30s or over are now barred forever from messaging hot young guys?
Oh, that’s nice. Way to go POF.
5. “There is no reason for a 50 year old man to contact a 18 year old woman,” Markus says. Well Markus, I personally know a few 50 year-old men and 18 year-old women who would completely disagree with you. But you’d probably just call these people sick and disgusting. Okay, fine, Mr. Tolerant.
But what about 45 year-old men messaging 22 year-old women? Is that sick and disgusting too? Or is that okay?
What about a 40 year-old man messaging a 25 year-old woman? Under your new rules, that’s no longer allowed either. Is this disgusting too?
Where exactly is the line drawn between Disney Beta Male White Knight Pussy and “Disgusting”? Care to comment, Mr. Markus? Or should I say Mr. God Of What Is Sexually Appropriate?
What about the 25 year old girl who wants to message that cute 40 year-old guy? Is she sick and disgusting too? Is she just “looking for a hookup” too? Is she just out for cheap and tawdry one-night-stands because she happens to be messaging a guy who’s more than 14 years older?
(Because of course only 2% of people on POF are looking for sex. POF is about relationships.)
6. Cause and effect. What do you think men will do now that this new rule is in place? Do you really think these millions of men are going to say, “Oh, okay, I’ll just start emailing women my own age just like POF wants me to”?
No. They’re going to do one of two things:
A) They’ll leave POF and start using some other free dating mechanism (from OKCupid to MeetMe to Tinder to a million other available options).
B) They’ll just start lying about their age.
You watch. There’s now going to be a huge epidemic of men and cougar women lying on their profiles about their ages. It’s going to be a big deal and people are going to complain about it in droves.
You think you saw a few women complain about older men messaging them? (Even though these women could have filtered these men out, but I digress.) Just watch all the complaints that will flood in now, POF, with everyone lying on their profiles. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. (And you deserve it. Assholes.)
My Change In Advice
About that lying about your age thing…
I have repeatedly stated that men should not lie online, especially about things that can be easily verified once someone starts dating you, like your age. Fudging your age by one or two years in order to come up in certain searches, that’s okay. But I’ve always advised against things like saying you’re 32 when you’re really 40
I stand by this advice. Don’t blatantly lie on your profile. It will just cause drama and outcome dependence, unless your one and only goal is nothing but one-night-stands (which has never been my goal).
I am now going to officially change my position in one key area: If you’re an older guy and you’re on POF. If you’re on POF and you’re over the age of 32, GO AHEAD AND LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE. Lie your ass off. If you’re in your 40s and look decently young, fucking lie and say you’re 30 so you can email those younger Type 2s who are looking for a man just like you. (And if you’re an over-35 cougar on POF wanting a hot young guy, I say the same to you. Lie about your age. Go for it.)
Don’t lie about anything else, please. Just your age. Also, if you do lie about your age on your profile, come clean about your real age on the first date, or at least by the second date. When I drop my age by a year or two on my profile for testing purposes, this is what I do. I’m talking about lying about your age on your profile, not lying to women in real life about who you are.
Personally, I’m at the point where I think I’m just going to drop POF from my online game repertoire altogether. Fuck those guys. There are so many other ways to get laid online that you really don’t need POF like you did five years ago.
True, over time these sites will also do a “Markus” and get politically correct and dictatorial also. Fine. Just keep moving to the new sites. Everything that works with online dating works regardless of the particular web site you’re using (within reason). It’s the techniques that work, not the specific medium. Assume in advance that every few years, you’ll have to switch to new dating sites and dating technologies. That’s okay. The fundamentals will always work regardless.