Longtime denizens of the online dating world are marking the loss of an institution. With neither fanfare nor explanation, Plenty of Fish has announced that it has shuttered its forums. Visitors to the forum page are now greeted with a terse message announcing the shutdown:
“To focus on better serving our members, we've decided to shut down the POF forums. While regular posting is now disabled, you can continue to view all threads until the end of June 2019. Event Hosts can still create and promote events while we work on a new and improved event creation service for you.”
The POF forums were an active destination for digital daters for 15 years. Users created more than 10 million posts before the closure, covering a broad spectrum of topics including dating, love, relationships, marriage, parenting and breakups. The forums proved equally popular for general discussions that ran the gamut from cooking and creative writing, to sports and science, to travel and humor, to music and philosophy.
Response to the termination of the forums has been mixed. Some users have called it long overdue, citing a lack of moderation in recent years that made the forums havens for unpleasant and unsavory behavior. Others expressed sadness at the loss of a place they felt encouraged a genuine sense of community.
Several users noted that the shutdown of the forums had been foreshadowed by previous attempts to minimize their presence on the POF website. In 2010 and again in 2013, users noticed that the link to the forums had been removed from the POF homepage. Those who tried to access the forums by visiting the URL directly received error messages. The forums were eventually restored in both those cases, but this time, the closure appears to be a permanent decision.
In the absence of an official explanation from POF, users are turning to speculation to explain the shutdown. A user of our forums who goes by the moniker Mr J Cash put forth what may be the most likely theory - that POF, and its parent company Match Group are simply not interested in maintaining the forums any longer.
“Unless Match/POF is willing to completely re-code a new forum and actively moderate them reinstating it will never happen,” Mr J Cash posted. “Match Group, who bought POF from Markus Frind in July 2015 for $575 million USD, has no interest in supporting the forums. The forums had been un-moderated for a year or more before the sale of POF to Match. Other than the event forums Markus just completely abandoned the forums. I, as some others, speculated that the antiquated and sloppy coding prevented an easy cheap way to separate the event forums from all the others without completely breaking the forum site."
Match Group likely feels its attention is better spent on other features for POF and on other popular brands in its portfolio, including Tinder and Match.com. As for Frind, he has chosen a surprising direction for his post-POF life: opening a winery in the Okanagan Valley region of Canada.