The “interests” failings of Plenty of Fish

Months ago, I went after some online dating sites because of shortcomings of the platform. Years ago, I took shots at Plenty of Fish for shortcomings of some of the participants of the site. Plenty of Fish, for those who don’t know online dating sites, is a bare-bones service that’s just a mite more involved than Craigslist… Well, write ups can be shorter than Craigslist but the point is that it’s a minimalist dating service (now owned by Match.com).

One of what should be a nice guide for the site is an interest listing that’s able to be used with the service by its members. It’s sort of like keywords or topics, but applied to life. Of course this does lead to shortcomings by a segment of the user base on POF who don’t use detailed terms or words to describe what interests them.  Others will make the error of using phrases and sentences like it’s a continuing conversation arm… But there is a segment that is just fine with showing thins that truly interest them or entertain them.

This is where Plenty of Fish screws up.

It’s not the aspect of having the tool that makes it fall short, to say the least, it’s how it doesn’t work easily or properly that is the problem. See, just to click on the topic of interest on a profile will give you a very generalized list of users on the site. I don’t mean linked to the interest, I mean you get a generalized list of users in a certain timeframe and nothing more.

Now, hold on there! What about Google searches and finding an actual page that shows users on POF who do use the tag? That’s got to work, right?  Indeed, it does!!… and the list is of every gender and age group in the site DB who uses said tag, making it just a bit more difficult to find those who cater to your romantic wants, meaning the proper gender that matches your wants, the proper age range too. Oh and there is the silly little aspect of profiles being ancient in some cases.

Let me give you an example page here: I’m a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. Hell, I’m a known Tampa Bay Lightning blogger. Using the team and the sport as an interest to meet people would be wise, no? S, here you go! Interest page Tampa Bay Lightning gives you thousands of results (marked as “700+”) from the network with all genders using the term.  That’s one hell of a tough pile to sort through. Especially because the profiles aren’t just unsorted by gender but also by profile age… A neglected or unused profile created years ago comes up in the search results and can show up in a primary position on search results pages.

But wait! There’s a search field at the very top of that page! Let’s try sorting through ages and genders to get it so a guy like me can find a woman. That’s where the next aspect of futility rises in Plenty of Fish; to use the sort field to search through the interest list brings inconsistent results and gives you general listings of the age group within the distance you sought. You also get hit, again, in that profile results may be ancient results from days gone by… Meaning those who didn’t delete their profile can come up as a search result despite the fact they no longer use the service.  Yeah, that’s an aspect that can happen on just about any dating site… The thing is that Plenty of Fish gives you the recent-users option on other searches on the site. Just not within interest searches.

To list interests is just an attempt to show you a bit about the person listed on a dating site. It can spark curiosity or interest, or it can shy you away from a person if they’re keen on things you can’t stand. It’s useful subject matter that should be better utilized on that dating network. It’d just be better if the damn thing could actually produce a quality and detailed search result like it can with other aspects on the site.

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