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I was reading Steve Rubel’s post about yet another Internet bubble about to burst, which led me to this article that says Plentyoffish.com is worth $1 billion according to it’s founder.

POF being valued at one billion dollars? Not a chance. Hundreds of millions? Definitely.
Markus, owner of Plentyoffish, recently  spoke with Read/WriteWeb:

But the crux of Markus’ argument is that despite having about 33 times the monthly traffic of POF, Facebook’s poor click-through ads should bring the valuation models closer. Markus said that “over 40% of Facebook’s pageviews are image related, ads in bad positions and users just generally looking to waste time.” He said that “there are only a handful of sections on the site [Facebook] that will generate good click thru rates for advertisers.”

I agree that most of Facebook’s ads are low quality, but then again so are POF’s. Trying to come up with a metric to compare Facebook with Plentyoffish is ridiculous. Facebook is a ever-opening platform with an ecosystem, 30+ million members, $250 million in revenue, and changing the way people experience the Internet. Their new ad system and deal with Microsoft is going to grow revenue closer to $500-$700 million a year.

POF is a profitable dating site with massive amounts of traffic. Is POF is worth more than Friendfinder? Hardly. I can see FriendFinder selling before POF, due to the fact that Friendfinder members are higher quality than POF members, therefore more valuable.

The top 10 dating site list fluctuates according to ad spend, with the major players moving a few spots every month, up and down like a yo-yo. If you pay attention you see the smaller sites popping into the top 1o, only to drop off due to a reduction in ad spend, ineffective ad buys or other factors. Remembert, dating sites have to spend huge amounts of money to attract visitors and this number will never go down.

Look how Singlesnet has become the defacto ad on Facebook and the number one dating site traffic-wise according to Hitwise. They came from nowhere just like Plentyoffish, and it’s a pay site to boot.

What about Mate1? Another opportunity to buy a top 10 dating site, but at what cost?

Online Personals Watch has the rankings. Check out the difference between the measurement companies.Markus has any number of enviable exit opportunities, but reality needs to set in on both sides of the table. Either way he wins, which is good for the industry, but is it good for singles?

Funny how when it comes to talking about selling dating sites, the last thing discussed is the people on the site. There is value in measuring a dating site’s success by the number of  visitors, ad impressions or the quality of it’s members.

Establishing a valuation on a ad-driven dating site right now is difficult proposition at best, might as well get out the Ouija board.

I am off to watch the Red Sox parade.