I’ve been watching the story of Plenty of Fish for a while now.
I’m sure it’s a great site. Plenty of users (AKA fish). Growing fast. Great. Good for you. Keep up the good work.
What I think is interesting is how Markus Frind keeps bragging in public about the success of his little company.
For anyone inclined to daydream about a Web business that would all but run itself, two other details may be of interest: Mr. Frind operates the business out of his apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia, and he says he has net profits of about $10 million a year. Given his site’s profitable advertising mix and independently verified traffic volume, the figure sounds about right.
Why is Frind disclosing this? He’s not a public company and under no need to disclose his revenues.
He obviously doesn’t need to raise VC as he has over $10M in the bank.
He’s come forward before. On Read Write Web a year ago he was bragging about his servers:
Markus is basically a one-man band running a website that, by his latest traffic figures, is two and a half times bigger than digg.com. Digg.com gets 200 Million page views per month, but Markus says plentyoffish gets 500 Million:
“The site(plentyoffish.com and Forums.plentyoffish.com) serves ~500 million pageviews a month and does so using 1 DB server and 1 Web Server which is a far cry from the industry standard of 300+ servers for a site of this size.”
Digg uses 3 web servers and 8 small database servers. Recently I asked Markus via email how much work he puts into the site on a daily basis. His reply:
“It is around 2 hours of work a day and that stays steady because as the site grows i automate more and more. Some of that work I get my girlfriend to help me with, she is far more diplomatic when answering mean emails. From what I can tell i should have no problem running it by myself even if it gets to 3 times its current size.”
OK. Great. So you’re making tons of cash and you’re capital expenditures are very low. Good to know.
Tell me something. I know you’re making a TON of money. Your application isn’t that difficult to clone. There isn’t much of a barrier to entry since I know you only have a few servers. Heck. You even just have one person doing tech support.
Why shouldn’t I just jump into the market and compete with you an take some of this easy money off the table?
Mr Frind is either a liar or a fool.
If he’s telling the truth he should just shut up and keep collecting checks.
If he’s lying we should call him out.
Either way, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Update: This little meme too off. Matthew Ingram thinks Markus it the new Craig Newmark. Scobleizer thinks this is legit.
The media loves these types of stories.
Markus himself follows up and says they have plenty of announcements soon.
Markus. There’s plenty of prior art here. Follow the path of Hotornot and Adult Friend Finder and don’t talk about your revenue until you’re virtually retired.
Update 2: Peer1 (who hosts PlentyofFish) has more info:
Google Adsense millionaire Markus Frind, founder of PlentyofFish was a database and web developer who graduated from college in 1999 with a diploma in computer science. This was also the time of the dot-com meltdown. Jumping from job-to-job, Markus began developing a home-grown site to help himself learn ASP.net. Rather than buy a book, he learned by adding new functions and features to the site. He also started experimenting with search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and incorporating them into the site. Gradually, it morphed quite unintentionally into an online dating center. The site has continued growing astronomically ever since and is now the No. 1 free online dating site in the world, averaging 8 million unique visitors per month. His bank account has grown fatter as well thanks to the Google ads he runs on the site. He has also garnered international attention, including being featured in the Wall Street Journal and on the Today Show.
I’m not sure why they’d brag about PlentyofFish. It’s not using many computing resources and you’d think that you’d use a ‘customer story’ about a company that’s having scaling problems.
Thanks to Niall for the pointer.