Markus Frind: Work a Little, Make a Lot

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Want to work 10 hours/week and make profits of $10-million a year?

If you’re Markus Frind, who owns the Plenty of Fish online dating site, you’re living the dream. It’s like winning the lottery every year as he operates a skeleton bones business out of his apartment.

While the New York Times accurately describes POF’s interface as a “visually painful experience”, hundreds of thousands of lonely souls (1.2 billion pageviews a month) clear like what POF has to offer.

What particularly interesting is Frind’s relatively low profile in Canada. He is, by far, one of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs yet he hasn’t anywhere near the accolades he deserves. Maybe that’s by design. After all, what else do you need if you’re barely working but making mega-bucks?!

More: A few months ago, ReadWriteWeb had a post suggesting POF could be worth $1-billion in the wake of Microsoft’s 1%/$240-million investment in Facebook. From a fundamentals standpoint, it’s difficult to justify a price-to-sales ratio of 100x but fundamentals aren’t really part of the online landscape these days.

As well, Mathew Ingram points out that POF has some major announcements coming out soon.

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  • Thomas Purves

    I am convinced that the terribleness of the site is it’s biggest secret advantage. The interface is _just_ functional enough to attract an audience, but more than crappy enough (in an oh-so-we-didn’t-know-better-looking) to continually drive a steady stream of click-thrus to the advertising partners – almost all of whom are slick, for-pay dating services (probably with great affiliate payouts per new refered customer).

    it’s sad/funny how, sometimes, the worse the design, the better the business model.

  • Mark Evans

    I had never actually thought of it from that perspective but it makes a lot of sense. Still, there has to be a reason that POF gets so much traffic given there are so many other slicker online dating services. Perhaps, free is also part of the secret advantage too.

  • Ryan Coleman

    Free – has a huge part of it…

    a) if you’re looking for love, why not cast a free net too…

    b) as Tom mentioned, he doesn’t really care if people go elsewhere as well (see a.)

    c) I’m guessing a LOT of users use the ads as shortcuts back to their pay dating site of choice. I’d be interested to know how many UNIQUE click-throughs POF generates to other dating sites.

    (Added benefit is Dating is likely a hugely competitive keyword space – so CPC is probably $$$$)

  • POF User

    I don’t know where you get your information but times have changed for markus cause he now charges for things on his site making previous members wonder about his so called free site, he’s now trying to make people pay for something they use to be able to read before forcing them pay to read what use to be free, you can read that here he should of thought of this before claiming his site was a free site and telling the public to put away their credit cards, this is misleading information, his site is now overwhelmed with accounts and he now is trying to force long time users to pay for things that were free before, he also kicks people from his site after they speak up in the forums about changes to his site.