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POF.com (Plenty of Fish) is a free dating service with a big difference: one of the most advanced matching services available. Apparently developed by a team of brainiacs with PhDs, this system can go into a great amount of detail (if you so choose, you can bypass most of this if you don’t want to get it too involved) about you, your interests and relationships to develop an accurate matching database tailored to finding individuals who will most likely appeal to you. In fact the system is so good at matching people up that half the members who used it found their partner in its suggested “top 10”, and 17% of the time it matches people exactly to the person they eventually end up in a relationship with. Pretty impressive stuff! You do have to put in the effort though, and it’s not necessarily a quick system but it’s potentially worth the effort because in the long run you’ll be presented with people who are more likely to be what you’re looking for.
Performing a search on POF.com is equally satisfying and in depth, with a mass of choices to make your search more specific. It can range from very basic, to extremely precise. A basic search also delivers high volumes of results, many of which seemed well suited to our profile when we tried it out. After a search you are presented with a gallery of profiles which tell you the age and location of each member, plus their introductory statement and a few other choice pieces of information. This presentation makes it quick and easy to surf through a large number of profiles relatively quickly. A lot of members have gone to the effort to make their profiles more unique by adding photos and necessary details. There’s also a bit of quirkiness to some of the responses and advanced members are able to make their profile more unique by selecting a theme for their page.
There are some useful touches around the site such as tips that appear at particular points in your journey. If you perform a search with contradictory or unuseful parameters, for example, POF tells you about it. There are also a variety of tips to read on dating and how best to create your profile so that you don’t come across badly. There is an FAQ section, which is relatively well organised and assisted by icons, but a search function might help to find some of the answers you may be looking for. It’s a bit too linear/prescriptive, though you can also email their help team if you’re still experiencing problems.
There are a few extra features that you can gain by becoming a paid member on the site (see “features” on this review) but they’re not necessary and will mostly benefit people who want more exposure and the ability to send more gifts. The advanced account also allows you to monitor who has been looking at your page so that you might approach them, should they be too shy to say hello.
PoF.com has the membership numbers, search and matching systems to help find Quasimodo a date. There are a few relevant improvements the site could make but it’s certainly a top hitter for a free dating service. Why not sign up and see where it takes you?
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