Internet users are notoriously fickle. People of a certain age (one we’ll charitably call “old as fuck”) will remember the many websites and services that died in the battle for online supremacy in the early 2000’s. Their corpses litter the web, invisible to the younger generation, or else sit, toothless and decrepit in some ignored domain, bitterly recounting their glory days as traffic passes them by.
Despite the seismic impact that computers have had on modern life, internet moguls and the companies they control have never learned to avoid the pitfall of hubris. They still think and act like their services are vitally important, without realising that their customers would jump ship in a mixed-metaphor heartbeat if something better came along.
Step forward, then, PlentyOfFish.com, a dating site that may be on the verge of committing spectacular suicide.
Free to join, POF is one of the largest dating sites on the web, allowing a relatively hassle-and-weirdo-free experience of online dating; no naked pictures, no fee for the majority of services and no obligation.
This week, however, site users received an e-mail from the grammatically deficient Markus Frind, who founded POF in 2013. He assures us that “I got the site to 10 million users without any employees people and POF was generating a ton of relationships [sic]”, meaning he should have at least hired a proof reader.* (INB4 Sick Chirpse also needs to hire a proof reader. We are aware of this.)
Markus’ e-mail went on to inform users that the site was designed to be about relationships, and as such, there was to be a crackdown on anyone who was just using the site to get laid.
Ignoring the monumental hypocrisy of a site as flippantly named as “plenty Of Fish” decrying casual hookups, Markus appears to have taken the first step on the slippery slope of judging his clientele.
Whilst it must be frustrating for female users of dating sites to be constantly bombarded with messages of the “u r fit lol [penis picture]” variety, it’s naive and faintly sexist of POF to assume that women don’t occasionally just want to get down and dirty themselves.
Instead of acknowledging that relationships take myriad forms, and that it’s perfectly common for long term romances to grow out of one night stands, POF seems to be taking the puritanical stance that people should only date the “proper” way.
Most organisations with thousands of customers (and make no mistake, members generate ad revenue and are therefore quantifiable as such) would think themselves lucky, even if their product wasn’t being used as they’d specifically intended.
Vibrators were initially a medical instrument. Super Glue was designed to seal cuts. The fact that these products eventually went in different directions (superglue, ironically, being the one that isn’t habitually used on gashes) doesn’t mean that Anne Summers and Bostik throw their toys out of the pram because people are using things “the wrong way.”
â˜› More unexpected outcomes: Syrian Rebels Bomb Building And Unintentionally Recreate The Set Of Bryan Adams Video
Ten years ago, there was a site called Faceparty; it was like an earlier, chavvier, inferior Facebook, with naked pictures.
Actually, in that respect, it was vastly superior to Facebook, but overall, when Zuckerberg’s big, blue behemoth showed up around 2007, Faceparty users abandoned their site in droves.
Faceparty responded by announcing that they didn’t need their members (or, indeed, their members’ pictures of their members) anyway, and that it would henceforth be a paying-only site that only the really cool kids would be cool enough to pay money for anyway.
Almost immediately, Faceparty began to fade from existence like Marty McFly at the high school dance, and a few years later in 2012 made the desperate, last ditch anouncement that they were now a free site again. This was met with a raging tide of bemused indifference, and in the process served as a nice cautionary tale.
It would be a shame to see POF go down the same road of thinking it was bigger than – or indispensable to – its users, but if it wants to go that way then hell, there’s plenty of space over at the bar with MySpace and Napster.
â˜› More Technology: New X-Box One Launched
*The people aware of Muphry’s Law will now be reading the rest of this article in search of typos, I’m aware.