Frind prepares tombstone for

Mashable’s Jennifer Van Grove wondered aloud today if paid online dating sites are dead? She wonders if the recent launch of DowntoEarth, a completely free dating site with an interesting pedigree.

According to DowntoEarth’s Privacy Policy, this new, free entrant is “part of the IAC/InterActiveCorp family of businesses.” IAC, of course, acquired in 1999, and is also behind’s spin-off site Despite its success with paid dating, then, IAC is testing the waters with a free model.

Free dating site rival (and Vancouver resident) Markus Frind of Plentyoffish has an answer for Van Grove. YES.

In a post titled It’s official – Abandons Paid Dating, Frind claims that IAC’s launch of DowntoEarth is a victory for free dating sites.

It looks like realizes they are losing marketshare fast and paid sites don’t really have a future.    15% of my users in the US pay on other dating sites every month,  but they all say if there was another big free site like plentyoffish they wouldn’t pay elsewhere.    This has already happened in Canada where plentyoffish is pretty much the only dating site people use, and eHarmony a distant second.