It's been about 1 month now since Plenty of Fish launched it's serious member upgrade option. This new feature basically included nothing more than having your profile search results appear in a different color along with having a star badge next to your profile.
Being the curious kind of guy that I am, I decided to do a little digging today and try to get some statistics on how effective this new Serious Member Upgrade was for those participating.
To start I searched through 600 male profiles and 600 females profiles for everyone with a serious membership.
These were the results. Out of 600 male profiles ONLY 3 had upgraded to a premium membership. Out of the 600 female profiles, 53 had upgraded. It seems like quite a big difference but keep in mind that it is only 1% and 9% respectively of the total sample size. Also, it must be noted that there were quite a few females on the message boards awhile back that indicated they were getting their profiles upgraded automatically (free of charge). So this could also account for a wider margin between the male and female paid option.
Now that we have an idea of the number of people participating in the Plenty of Fish premium accounts, is it possible to determine how effective these "Serious" members are in attracting more online dates?
This is hard to say because the point, in my opinion, of the paid membership is simply to draw more visitors to your profile. There is nothing that a shade of yellow and a star next to your picture is going to make you any more or less attractive. However, one could say that if "Serious" members are indeed having a higher click-through rate to their profiles, those members with good profiles should have a higher amount of "Favorites."
As some readers may know, I use the "Favorites" metric on each member's profile as an indicator of interest or a sign of attraction.
Before we get into the Favorites analysis of serious vs. regular members, I'd like to first take a closer look at the three lonely guys who actually ponied up cash to have their profiles highlighted in yellow.
Upgraded Plenty of Fish Male Profiles
Guy#1 had 1 favorite
Though this guy's little yellow star badge says he's a serious member, his profile says the opposite. He had one picture which was blurry and poorly done, as if taken from a cellphone. His "about me" section was three sentences long, with horrendous spelling and grammar issues. This guy is anything but serious and is obviously wasting his $5.99 per month on this sorry excuse for a profile.
Guy#2 had 8 favorites
This guy had what I'd call an average profile. A couple of decent pictures and a typical "about me" section that explains how he's a nice guy looking for the right girl, etc, etc.
Guy#3 had 26 favorites
This guy had the full 8 pictures, all pretty decent, except three of which were solely of his pick-up truck taken from different angles. Now, I don't really get the whole picture of your truck thing, but I'm just city boy, so what do I know. In addition to the pictures, the guy's written profile was pretty slim, only about two sentences of "about me," which is why I find it amazing that he has 26 favorites (that's really high for a guy). Perhaps the Serious Member badge is helping him out, or perhaps there is more to this pickup truck thing than I thought.
Upgraded PlentyofFish Female Profiles
Since there were 53 upgraded female profiles in my sample I'm not going to go through each one. However, from my general observations there wasn't much of a pattern, the profiles were similar to the men where some were really bad, some were average and some were really good.
The first thing I think we can conclude from the profile observations is that being a "Serious" member does not necessarily mean that you are serious about creating a great Plenty of Fish online dating profile.
Now lets get our hands dirty and take a look at how the Serious Members' favorites compare with the Regular Members. I basically recorded the number of favorites for each serious profile for each gender. Then I took the average and the median of each gender. Also, for comparison purposes, I took an old set of data from my Profile Picture experiment, and found the same thing.
I want to note here that I am using old data because I am comparing the average and median to typical member profiles before "paid" membership was implemented to the "serious" profiles of now. I feel that this is a better way of seeing how effective a paid membership is.
As you can see in the above graphs, the men seem to do better with the paid memberships where the women don't have much of a difference at all. The big glaring problem though, is that there were only three paid male memberships in the sample, so it's difficult to say how good those represent all men who are premium members (it's difficult to find paying members who are males).
So as of now, I'd say that paid memberships on Plenty of Fish really aren't worth it. Not until we can get some better metrics on something like the Click-through rates of Serious vs. Regular profiles. Perhaps this is something that Markus could provide in the future.