Scoble has highlighted again Markus Frind and his PlentyofFish online dating site, after an article about the site appeared in the New York Times.
The site is probably the kind of business that most internet entrepreneurs wish they had. It continues to be a massive success – the NY Times article states that it is earning Markus $10 million a year, for about ten hours work. He has only one permanent employee, and his users don’t pay anything to use the site – it is entirely advertising driven. Most of the support is provided by other users, for free, as is the administrative tasks of vetting the online singles notices.
When you also realise that the site was written in the first place as a programming exercise because he wanted to learn ASP.Net, and he’s kept the site free almost as an exercise in seeing how long he could go before it got too much to handle. The site won’t win any design awards either, but much like Craigslist the site is successful, seemingly despite the acknowledged failings in the web design.
Perhaps all of that is an indication that with all the snazzy design and grand plans in the world, being a success on the internet is just as much about having the right idea, and shed loads of luck as anything else…