THE DATING BROKERS


The popular online dating service Plenty of Fish (POF) was launched in 2003 in Vancouver, Canada. As of 2017, the company claimed to have 150 million registered users and an average 65,000 new subscriptions per day, making it the second most popular dating site in the US, just after Tinder. In 2015, POF sold the dating site for $575 million to Match Group , one of the biggest players in the global online dating industry. As stated in the site's privacy policy, Plenty of Fish (among other undisclosed third-party companies) actively shares user information (which likely implies user profiles) with its parent company, Match Group and other Match Group businesses. Thus, even though it is not specifically stated in Plenty of Fish's privacy policy, if you have a profile on Plenty of Fish, it is possible that it might be sold to, shared with, or used on other dating services that belong to dating companies like Match Group.

Match Group's empire comprises more than 130 different websites and apps divided into several different brands, based in countries all over the world, including: Any of the user data or profiles generated within any of the above online dating services could potentially be shared with any of the other Match Group brands, this is not only technically possible, but legally as well, according to the terms of use of the various apps we analysed. Thus, if a user has a Tinder account, his or her profile might be shared with OkCupid, Meetic, Match and dozens of other undisclosed services belonging to Match Group.

Match Group in turn, is owned by an even larger entity, , a leading US internet and media company. Under IAC's umbrella, Match Group has multiple sister companies, which, in turn, have dozens of sub-brands and hundreds of sub-products. IAC is grouped into 5 main divisions:
and Match Group, (although we found ). According to IAC brands' and sub-brands' privacy policy, user data is shared among all the divisions of the IAC conglomerate. However, Match Group’s privacy policy is not as clear: except for its sub-brand Meetic, which publicly states that it is sharing information with IAC, we could not confirm whether other Match Group sub-brands actively shared information with IAC, despite our attempts to ask them. But based on the fact that other IAC divisions publicly state that they actively share information with their parent company, it's quite likely that Match Group and its subsidiaries do, too.