What does POF have anything to do with fetish? Turns out if you try hard enough, eventually, you'll find a kinky side to Plenty of Fish. Fetish.com takes a look at the dets about POF and if it really lives up to its claims...

 

Can you get your kink on from the world's largest dating site?

POF.com (PlentyOfFish) cites itself as the largest online dating site in the world, claiming that they create more dates and relationships than any other site. The site was launched as the first free dating site in 2003 by sole owner Marcus Frind. Now with over 90 million registered users and 55 thousand sign-ups every day, POF.com isn't showing any signs of slowing, with sites all over the globe including UK, Brazil, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands and Mexico. The site now boasts an impressive 1 million new relationships every year, whether their native tongue is English, French, Spanish, Portuguese or German. So how well does all this stand-up and can you really find that someone special who is into the same gender-bending activities as you?

 

Looks Aren’t Everything

The site has a light, simple look and feel, which looks professional and gives POF.com a friendly, welcoming impression. Uncomplicated and easy to navigate, whatever your age or desires, old-hand or newbie, you are welcomed with open arms.

Registration is really easy, straight forward, and very quick if you choose not to fill out the really in-depth personality tests, which pop up almost immediately. These are optional, although this is not clearly stated, so I had filled out a couple before I realised I had a choice. Nevertheless, the results summaries are very detailed so I learnt a lot about myself!

 

Image of a mobile screenshot of Plenty of Fish

 

Free? Really?

Now, remember that POF.com launched as the world’s first FREE dating site? Well, it is true...but not entirely. The site operates on two levels. POF is essentially free; you can register, take the personality tests, search and message the matches that take your fancy with relative success. However, there are a plethora of options to pay for an upgrade in order to increase your chances of finding a match.

 

A Good Genuine Fit?

You can also see interested prospects on Meet Me or you can use the Ultra Match tab to further refine your results. The basic Match section does not seem to match your location or requirements particularly closely; I don't believe Fife in Scotland is close to sunny Birmingham! However, clicking on the Ultra Match tab, which uses a different algorithm, does refine your results quite considerably and I found these to be far closer to what I had set down in my profile, both in locality and preference.
 

A good number of the photos look like they are real people. I only came across a few which didn’t seem to match up. Most of the listings seem genuine and the site itself is very transparent. Details about the company are easy to obtain, with plenty of background information, so there is a certain amount of reassurance.
 

Upgrade, Upgrade, Upgrade!

I will admit to initially feeling the upgrade option was rather heavily pushed (the site describes upgrading as 'the way to get the most success out of POF'), but it is left to the user to make the decision so I don’t see this as a big problem. It is also possible to purchase ‘tokens’ which can be used to highlight your profile or activate more advanced tools; what POF calls ‘attention-grabbing technology’.
 

Fetish or Fet-ish?

POF is not immediately recognisable as a fetish dating site in its look and feel. It's far from the archetypal red and black colour scheme. The initial registration and most of the personality tests offer little opportunity to highlight your BDSM or gender-bending preferences. However, the freedom to express your kinky desires via your profile and by chatting with users once you get stuck in is high. This is the way a lot of prospects make their more specific preferences known. Although the site does not allow nudity or pictures that are overtly sexual, fetish wear and recognisable poses are abundant so it is easy to spot fellow fetishists this way. The ball really is in the court of the users, when it comes to communicating preferences, and some are very creative!
 

Another effective way to express your love of bondage or your gender-bending inclinations is by completing the Plentyoffish Seduction Style Guide, which I stumbled upon by selecting the ‘Take the Sex Test’ option of personality tests. The questions take you through the various fetish, bondage and gender-bending activities, asking you to rate which ones you find appealing or unappealing. I really would suggest that if gender-bending is high on your agenda, then filling in the Plentyoffish Seduction Style Guide is a must for finding the best possible match, and still for free!
 

As with the other personality tests, the results summary for the POF Seduction Guide is extremely detailed. Apparently, I have the ability to be a fabulous, hopeless flirt who will be gregarious and flirtatious in public, while extremely sensual and wildly uninhibited behind closed doors. Who knew?!!!
 

Help! Can anybody hear me?

There is a less desirable dark side to POF.com however. The customer support (or lack of) on offer leaves little to be desired. The Help button at the top of the page takes you to a FAQ page with a sidebar for (slightly) more in-depth information. Although all the basics seem to be covered, this is by no means comprehensive and the real issue arises when you need more involved support, from real people. There is no telephone support available AT ALL! Further support can only be obtained via email and this comes with the added issue of the ghostly whisper of a link at the end of the FAQ section which reads...no, not ‘Email’ but ‘I’m still stuck’! Anyone with poor eyesight or just doesn’t need the bottom of the FAQ page, will completely miss the link.

 

And the verdict... 3 stars

Whatever your fantasies, fetish or gender-bending inclination, there are ways to make  POF work for you. With a little effort, you will reap your kinky rewards. However, the site does fall down a little due to the lack of customer support.

 

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