|The POF home screen – click to get a closer view|
What became immediately apparent after using the site for a few minutes - the intention here was for me to meet a woman by way of volume and speed. Many parts of the site were built to get you connected to others – fast. One example of this is the “Meet Me” section. When I first saw this, I was thinking something like Hot or Not (remember that one?). What I found was that I was simply clicking “No” numerous times not knowing exactly what the impact of the actions were.
After a few days it was clear that clicking on “No” did nothing (but possibly changing a background algorithm), clicking on “Yes” would send a notification message to that user, and “Maybe” – that was not clear what the effect would be. When receiving notification messages, the email subject line is cleverly crafted as to not mention Plenty of Fish or POF.
Also interesting here, is that much of the interface lends itself to sending a massive number of messages (hint: use a templates message you just paste in for best results). Given that, I could, in one sitting, send out more than 100 simple messages to prospective women easily; I had the feeling POF might have been designed specifically as the Twitter of dating sites. You could send a full long-form message to a user – but there was also this small, “Quick Message” box there starting at you waiting for you not to form a full sentence.
Over the few days i was on the site I received a number of messages like “I’m curious too” or “Curiosity killed the cat”. I didn’t know what to make of that. This all reminds me of a joke a friend made some years ago about picking up women:
“All you do is go up to every woman that look good and ask her to have sex with you – you bound to find one that says yes”. POF is probably the site for him.
While on the site (or Online), your odds of others seeing you and interacting with you go up considerably. When you are online, your more likely to be featured on most of the interaction functions and contacted. Others users can see your online status as a small message below your picture that says either “Online Now” or “IM User”. What’s great about this is all the information you’re given right from the get-go. You can tell which users are currently available, which ones are willing to chat and even get a list of users that have “Viewed” you. This is the most information about others I have ever seen on a dating site (admittedly, it’s been years since the last time).
Instant messaging is supported, by way of what appears to be a flash module. I found it was serviceable, but not something many users would like. The small buzzing sound when a new message arrived was handy when the chat window was covered. Also a very nice feature is the ability to see a picture of the person you’re talking too while chatting. That really does add to connecting a person’s personality online with who they really are.
Also somewhat hidden in POF’s interface the option to limit who can talk to you as well as a number of other things. You’ll notice me asking about this feature in the chat above. Accessing these limits happens in the “Inbox” section of the site and then “Mail Settings”. I found that you can really control what kind of people contact you – very impressive.
Some of the site was very unusual too – for example – the choice of advertising was seriously wrong sometimes. I wonder if the women who are on POF actually know that what’s presented next to their picture is sometimes this:
|Really, what are men going to see first?|
I started to wonder how this connects with the whole “speed” theme. If men are on this site seeking to connect to women in volume, distracting them with these unusual ads may run counter to that.
- Moving ads or unpredictable ad locations on the screen
|The button’s name seems appropriate|
I’m no longer using Plenty of Fish – to be sure – five days was enough for me. And, during my five day experiment I sent about 5 messages back and forth, and the number of women I met in-person: none. Do you have experiences or thoughts about POF? Share!