POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (2024)

Want to chat and message with fellow singles? Plenty of Fish—or as it's commonly known, POF—bills itself as the dating app where the most conversations take place. The company is serious about connecting users; in fact, it claims a billion messages are sent on its platform each month. What's the secret to that message activity? POF is one of the few dating apps that lets you contact fellow users without matching or subscribing. That makes it one of the most immediately usable dating apps. Although it's not as feature-rich or easy to use as our top Editors' Choice pick, Match, it's a viable alternative for singles on a budget who are looking for love.

Getting Started With Plenty of Fish

Founded in 2003, POF is one of the more mature dating services and predates the smartphone app era. It has successfully transitioned into the modern age, with both an Android and iOS app, but it still has a browser version if you prefer to go old school.

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When you sign in, a Who's Chatting Now counter shows you the tens of thousands of conversations happening at that moment, although what qualifies as chatting isn't defined. Rather than ease you in one question at a time, POF hits you up with a parade of questions on a single screen. It makes the signup process less user-friendly than those of competing apps, such as eharmony and Match, which have a more streamlined, if exhaustive, process. Our other Editors' Choice pick, Tinder, is geared more toward the hookup scene, so it prioritizes photos during signup.

You then encounter a CAPTCHA sequence similar to the one that OkCupid offers. The two services share the same parent company, so it isn't surprising that they use the same tools. You then face a barrage of dating preference questions, but a few interesting ones stood out in our testing. For example, POF asks if you drive a car, and inquires about your ambition. In the marital status section, POF offers a Not Single/Not Looking option. However, that status doesn't preclude you from answering a question about who you want to date.

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Other questions touch upon your income and information about your parents and siblings. After adding a brief description of yourself and a few interests, along with a photo, you can start looking for matches. One appreciated safety feature is POF's warning not to give away too much personal information, such as your name, phone number, or address on your profile page. You can also share date details with friends. There's no option to link your Instagram or Spotify accounts, nor a way to provide any other evidence of your existence outside of POF.

Interface and Profiles

POF's interface used to be a bit simplistic and somewhat dated. Fortunately, recent redesigns have done away with that My First Dating Site vibe, especially on mobile. Unlike other apps, POF puts messaging front and center, prioritizing your inbox and a list of users who POF deems more likely to respond to messages. Including the Will Respond profiles is a nice way to highlight members who are most likely to give you the time of day. However, you’re free to ignore these guidelines and message anyone you want from anywhere at any time.

OkCupid also lets users message for free, but it doesn't make it quite as easy as POF, and messages are limited to introductions to folks you’ve already liked. The only limits for POF accounts in good standing (not blocked or flagged as inappropriate) are that you can only message 55 new people per 24 hours, and your age gap must be less than 14 years, or nine years if you’re under 22. This is pretty generous. As with any free dating app, though, you run the chance of encountering casual users who want to dabble without committing to a paying plan. If you find yourself receiving too much spam, you can disable messaging on your profile.

POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (10)

(Credit: POF)

The search function operates with your standard filter options—age, intent, ethnicity, and body type—plus the ability to search by the length of your potential match's longest relationship. ("You haven't spent more than eight years with someone? Then you're not for me!") You can also sort by income if you're looking for a sugar daddy or mommy. There's a Nearby function for when you just need to chat with someone within 0.5 miles and a More Prospects field at the bottom of most screens to keep you "fishing" longer. Unfortunately, even if you aren’t being terribly picky, your search might still net a No Results Found response or your search will be automatically broadened.

If your search nets someone you would like to contact, the process is quick and painless. Profiles show the person's photo, age, and screen name at the top, plus whether they're currently online. To help you start the conversation, the screen also lists things the user enjoys. POF prompts you to mention something specific about their profile, likely in an effort to keep the "lol u up jk" messages to a minimum. You also have the option to send the message as Priority, which floats you to the top of the receiver's inbox. Of course, that will cost you extra (more on that in a minute).

Individual profiles feel more or less like spreadsheets—tons of data, with nothing particularly highlighted or featured. The Meet Me function works like Tinder, with the option to swipe left or right to quickly scan through profiles (an option most apps have now). POF banned face filters to help keep photos authentic. You can also add a badge to your profile to alert other users that you aren't interested in sending or receiving unsolicited nude pictures.

POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (11)

((Credit: POF))

POF's Premium Plans

Plenty of Fish trumpets its number of conversations for one main reason—messaging anyone is free on the app. That doesn't mean POF is not going to ask for your money, though. If someone likes you, the app prompts you to upgrade your account to POF Premium to see who it is. Premium accounts also get access to a list of the newest users (who respond more to messages, or so POF says), plus you can unlock the extended profile of all users, which basically gives answers to a few extra questions and preferences. It also lets you directly search for specific usernames. Plans start at $19.99 per month for three months or as low as $9.99 per month for a year-long commitment. These fees are on the low side compared with eharmony and Match, which charge upwards of $40 for a monthly subscription.

With the upgraded plan, you can also see if you've messaged someone before—which is helpful if you spend extensive time on the app, take advantage of its generous messaging limits, or don't want to accidentally and awkwardly re-engage with someone you forgot you previously wrote off. You also get receipts when your messages have been read, and with some super-sneaky tracking, you can even see when someone views your profile and when a particular person was last online. A premium subscription even removes ads and lets you add up to 16 profile pictures.

Like other dating sites, POF lets you boost your profile using Tokens, which cost $1.99 to $3.99, depending on how many you buy, along with Super Yes-es, which are basically a way to say you really think you like someone. You can also use Tokens to boost your profile and make your message a priority, which, as mentioned, pushes it to the top of the receiver's inbox. It's the dating app version of jumping the line at the club.

POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (12)

POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (13) How to go on a virtual date during the coronavirus pandemic

Virtual Dating With Plenty of Fish

For years, the COVID-19 pandemic had most of us either locked down or doing our best to stay away from other people to stop the spread of the disease. To compensate, many dating apps added their own virtual dating options to replace physical interactions, options that are still useful as a safe way to explore intimacy before a full-on meetup. POF’s solution is unique: Mobile users can live stream themselves, and interact with live streams from other members. Beyond using video to build intimate interpersonal relationships, multiple people watching these streams build a neat little POF community. You can even play scheduled streaming games or watch dating advice lectures.

POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (14)

(Credit: POF)

Other dating apps with built-in video chat include Bumble and eharmony. The company that owns POF also owns Hinge, Match, OkCupid, and Tinder. Out of those, only OkCupid lacks video chatting. Tinder lets you match with people beyond just who's nearby. Meanwhile, Facebook Dating takes advantage of Facebook's massive social ecosystem.

Get the Message

Considering that most dating apps limit how you message other users, POF offers a huge value by removing basically all barriers to this feature. It's not as full-featured as our Editors' Choice pick dating app, Match, but it's a good way to get your feet wet in the dating pool without spending a ton of money. And even if you do choose to subscribe, the fees are lower than those of its competitors. Its prompts to start meaningful conversations with other members makes Plenty of Fish feel like less of a meat market than apps like Tinder, which are based more on photos and less on conversations.

For more on digital dating, see our picks for thebest hookup appsand thebest breakup apps. Learn how one writer found himself in the middle of aTinder ad campaign. In addition, you should explore theseself-care apps and servicesto help mend a broken heart, and be sure not to get caught in anonline dating scam.

POF (Plenty of Fish)

3.5

See ItVisit Site at POF

Per Month, Starts at $19.99

Pros

  • Few messaging limits

  • Simple onboarding

  • Many prompts that encourage you to send quality messages

  • Live video streaming

ViewMore

Cons

  • Free messaging could mean more spam accounts

  • Can't link outside accounts like Instagram or Spotify

The Bottom Line

Plenty of Fish is the dating app for singles who don't want to dip too far into their wallets to make a connection.

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POF (Plenty of Fish) Review (2024)
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