Plenty of Fish (part2): How the business model impacts the UI model
Some commercial dating sites make their money by charging users to message other users. This pay-per-message model requires that the site designer creates conditions that entice users to message often. Quantity of messages equals success. You also don’t really want users to find their prince/princesses because they’ll leave the system. But people do leave. By some estimates the average turnover is three months. Most sites don’t clean out inactive accounts. That means that you might be spending $1.50 to message someone who is no longer active on the system. That sure reduces your odds of actually connecting.
Compare this business model to Plenty Of Fish‘s free model. Instead of encouraging message quantity, you can help users better filter so they don’t have to message as much. Quality over quantity. There’s three aspects of POFs design that is significant: 1. Inactive or abusive users are quickly removed from the system. 2. There are UIs that allow POF volunteers to monitor the site, report fake profiles, or other damaging activity 3. Users have available a number of tools to restrict who is allowed to message them. For example I could select that I only want to hear from women buddhists, between the ages of 78 and 82, living within 10km of the lovely town of Kapuskaping. Odds are I won’t be inundated with unsolicited offers of romance.