PlentyOfFish does NOT Negotiate with Criminals

We hate downtime and work round the clock to keep our services up and running. Today, many of you experienced a rare service outage. This is what happened.

At approximately 6:54am PST we received the following warning:

Email from attacker 3





It’s not unusual for a large target like us to receive threats that often turn out to be fake, but at 8:13am we were hit by a very large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that initially took our website down and subsequently also impacted our mobile users.

These attacks come from thousands of computers around the world that have been infected with malware. Each computer, without the owner knowing, repeatedly sends bogus requests to our site and services.

By “very large”, I mean this thing peaked at 40Gbps (40 gigabits per second). If you are familiar with the TV show House of Cards (the modern version with Kevin Spacey), 40Gbps is like downloading the whole of series one in a single second.

This attack did not compromise anyone’s data in any way. That said, these requests can overload our servers and can even cause ISP problems, so we quickly worked with our ISP to identify the offending traffic and tried various means to block it.

By lunch time, we had received another message, which made it clear that it was a case of extortion:

Email from attacker 2


But we were certainly not interested in negotiating, and by 13:00 we had successfully blocked the attack and our services were all back to normal.

We’re still on high alert and working hard to respond to attacks like this more quickly in the future, but in the meantime I’m happy to report that all of you are back to doing what you do best; sending messages, going on dates, and forging meaningful relationships. Thanks for your patience today.

If you experience any site issues in the future, please tweet us @PlentyOfFish.


The Ussie: The Next Level Selfie

It was in the dark back corner of a local establishment on a Friday night when I decided to attempt a selfie after 3 or 4 drinks.  Not only did I forget my own manual, I imagined I looked GREAT.  At that moment a passerby in the party scene popped up behind me in classic photobomb fashion. This prompted me to invite them into the shot. Why not, right? The following morning after reviewing my photos from the night before (this is always a good idea before posting them to social media), I determined that as lovely as the blurry, dark image which primarily captured my sweaty forehead and his chin was, there was definitely room for improvement. I’m a certified selfie master, but what happens when there are an additional two or three people included in my shot? Thus, I embarked in a deep thought-provoking debate with myself over what we call a multi-person selfie.

As we all know, in 2013 Oxford Dictionary announced their 2013 word of the year.


NOUN (plural selfies)

• informal

A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.

But what happens if there are an additional one, two, or as we most recently saw in the infamous Ellen DeGeneres / Bradley Cooper Twitter celebrity selfie record holding eleven people in one shot called? A groupie?  I scoured the internet for many terms and finally came to a conclusion:  I don’t know what you’re into, but I personally don’t want to be labeled as or take part in a “Groupie” and took quite a liking to the term “Ussie” (pronounced: Us-ee). I am not the creator of this term nor do I know who created it (pat on the back to you!) but I now am addicted to not only saying, but CAPTURING ussies.

Now that the name is out of the way, here are some helpful hints and tips to ensure that you and your significant others and/or best pals, nail a perfect self–I mean ussie:

1.  Make sure that you and any of your companions have practiced your pose(s). A few calculated poses before the ultimate snap will save the “no, delete that one” conversation which includes you looking really hot and them resembling SLOTH from The Goonies.1526815_435166963278216_1933499382_n

2.  The person with the longest arm should be the one taking the picture to ensure the most panoramic and flattering view. We want to see as much of the two (or more) of you. No half faces. If one of you is taller than the other, it’s going to make the most sense to have them capture said glam shot. Ensure whoever is taking this image doesn’t hold the record for shakiest hand possible, otherwise you will both be an obscure mess. If you are taking a picture with your significant other and are the shorter of the couple, try standing in front of your taller counterpart- in this case, you would be the best candidate for camera holding. Your partner can also hold the camera and steady the angle and you can hit the button to avoid any shaking or awkward angle photo snapping.

Sidenote: I personally never take good “ussies” with my significant other (I’m my own worst critic). If all else fails and you really want to capture your love, the classic “kissing pose” can be done. Those are always adorable in my personal opinion. Don’t overdo it!

3.  I can’t EVER stress this enough, LIGHTING. Too dark can cast shadows, too light can make you look pale and starchy. The more people in one shot– the MORE important your lighting must be.382376_185919828202932_1610328272_n (1)

4. WHERE DO WE LOOK?!- Some people look at their reflection. Others look directly into the camera eye. Whichever you choose to do it’s usually best (but not by any means mandatory) to look in the same direction.

5. We all have a photogenic side. What do we do if it’s the SAME side? Easy as a simple game of  rock, paper, scissors! Just kidding. If you both share the same “side”  you can always try switching up the seductive model faces for some funny ones or if you want to be mega cheesy, you can look at each other and capture a moment. One person behind the other will also work.

6. 309907_182494651878783_1957973715_nFurry friends are always a welcomed addition to the ussie. If you have a fur-child like mine, they can’t stop fidgeting and there may be numerous attempted shots of you trying to get them under camera-ready control. I know I can always win my pup over with offers of treats or a casual belly rub while getting my pose and my pup ready for our Kodak moment. I’m not above bribing animals for pictures- you shouldn’t be either.

Now that I have shared my easiest steps. I strongly recommend taking as many “ussies” as humanly possible. Remember, there is  never a wrong time for a selfie. And NEVER a wrong time for you, friends, family, spouses and pets to take a memory lasting USSIE!

Your Guide to the Girls’ Getaway

Whether you’re dating around or in a committed relationship, it’s worth taking the occasional time-out from couples territory.  Devote a weekend to those other people who are so important in life, namely your girlfriends.  I’m hot off the heels of a girls’ getaway in Tofino (west coast gem and Canada’s surf capital), so in addition to being a little bit biased, I know that spending quality time with girlfriends can be restorative mentally and physically.  These gains will no doubt translate to your love life.

With the weather looking up and a few long weekends on the horizon, now is the time to start planning your ladies’ weekend.  Before you do, consider the following:

Pick a theme song.

The theme song sets the tone for the entire weekend, so think twice before going all Vanessa Carlton and signing yourself up for a thousand miles of treacly piano pop.  Choose something upbeat with memorable lyrics that can be referenced in subsequent Instagrams.  If you’re okay with Pitbull’s more questionable turns of phrase, then I would recommend Timber featuring Ke$ha.  Perfect for dance parties ad nauseum.

Bring a puppy.

I’m serious.  The best accessory for a weekend away is a furry friend.  Puppies work especially well being adorable and easy to smuggle onto ferry decks etc.  I’m not saying you should procure one specifically for the occasion, but if you do have access to a pet, then don’t leave her at home.  Provided the ladies are on board, your animal will help everyone to relax and come together for a stress-free weekend.  Just remember to secure pet-friendly accommodation.

Embrace the group selfie.

So you’ve been sick of the group selfie phenomenon ever since Ellen broke Twitter at the Oscars?  Hold that thought.  A girls’ weekend is not the time to protest social media #trends, but rather to stretch your selfie arm and work those angles.  Indulge in a healthy photo shoot (or three) because it’s fun and absolutely flaunt the spoils of your efforts.  The world will be a better place for these public displays of female camaraderie, and you’ll be grateful for the souvenirs come Monday.

Set realistic goals.

This is the time to let your hair down, so forget any lofty intentions to hold yourself to strict diet/exercise routines.  Be healthy, always, but let moderation rule the day.  Plan for balanced meals, fresh air, toss in an oceanside ramble if you’re lucky and above all leave self-deprecation at the door.  Take a rare moment to appreciate who you are today and encourage your friends to do the same.


The ladies’ brunch is a cliché I can get behind.  I suppose you could make it work with fruit salad and low-fat yogurt, but let’s be honest, waffles and bacon are so much better.  Plus you’ll need ample energy to tackle the various work/love/life issues that will inevitably be served up on the side.  And yes, this means packing your waffle iron.


Why Daydreaming Doesn’t Get You Dates

If, like me, you hiked up a mountain this weekend with no fewer than five happy couples, then you may be dreaming about the day when you won’t be the eleventh wheel.  Sound familiar?  You should also know that the more you fantasize about a love interest, the less likely you are to achieve actual dating success.  At least, that’s what Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer concluded from their study of American college students.

For this research, participants were asked to fantasize about their crush using prompts like “You’re studying at the library when you look up to see your crush searching for a spot.  As he approaches your table, you…”  Participants also had to rate their imaginings as positive, negative or somewhere in between.  Five months later, it turned out that people who rated their fantasies as more positive were also less lucky in love.

So this means that if you don’t have a real boyfriend, then you can’t have a pretend one either?  What’s so bad about the occasional flight of fancy, especially when they’re so much fun?  Well, that’s just it.  The theory goes that by taking pleasure in an envisioned future, you become less motivated to actually make it happen.  In other words, you get comfortable with Imaginary Boyfriend.

Luckily, there’s more to the story than just dumping the daydreams.

The researchers also found that, unlike fantasies, positive expectations strongly predicted dating success.  A fantasy could be riding off into the sunset alongside your love (who happens to be Brad Pitt), while expectations are grounded in reality.  Expectations that are positive also suppose a degree of past success, including the effort this entailed and a willingness to match that effort going forward.

Why you should care:

It’s one thing to envision your dream man or dream relationship, but don’t get too caught up in the idea of it all.  Reflect upon past dating experiences and let this inform your next steps–because steps you must take.  Join an online dating site.  Find singles events in your community.  Ask a friend to set you up with someone from their network.  Talk to a counselor and resolve issues that prevent you from connecting.  Take up jogging and feel good about your body.  You could use the Secret to will your soulmate into being, but you’re better off pairing optimism with a proactive approach.  We’re with Science on this one.


Mayer, D. & G. Oettingen (2002). The motivating function of thinking about the future: expectations versus fantasies.  Personality and Social Psychology, 83 (5), 1198-1212.

6 Haunted Dating Fears to Conquer

By Coach Amy Schoen for

Are you letting fear control your dating life?

With Halloween rapidly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about gremlins and goblins. To celebrate the holiday, kids and adults alike wear costumes hiding their true selves. Dating is kind of like living in the month of October, isn’t it? Or perhaps more accurately, it’s like going out to Trick or Treat on October 31st: if you’re dating, you never know who you’re going to meet as you go from door to proverbial door — and if the experience will be delightful or a big scare!

But here’s some food for thought: gremlins and goblins aren’t just Halloween characters or your worst-date nightmares. In this context, gremlins and goblins are all of the negative thoughts that pester you and shake your confidence as you venture out in the dating world. First, let’s look at a couple of common dating spooks and see which ones you may be encountering along your path to finding lasting love:

The Rejection Gremlin
This gremlin is quite ugly. It abhors rejection and anticipates the worst possible scenario for you. It’s steeped in futility. Those plagued by the rejection gremlin may think, “He won’t like me, so why should I try?” or, “I’m only going to get rejected, so why bother?” This gremlin keeps you from trying new things and meeting new people.

The “This Can’t Work” Goblin
Here you go again with dating fears! You’re pretty sure that something will go wrong — because it always does. So why get emotionally invested with a new person? If you’re entertaining this goblin, you tend to hold yourself back or you sabotage the relationship and leave “first”, so that you don’t get hurt.

The “I Should Not Trust You” Gremlin
It’s difficult to put your faith in someone else when you have dating fears. And like the “This Can’t Work” goblin, this gremlin tells you that whenever you do eventually trust someone, you tend to be disappointed and get hurt. The result is that eventually you don’t allow yourself to put your faith in someone, even if they are worthy of your trust. You believe that ultimately they will be unfaithful, so you withhold trust and keep your guard up. This gremlin ensures that true love is thwarted.

The “Who Would Want Me” Goblin
This is a sister to the Rejection gremlin. You don’t feel deserving of love and believe that perhaps you are not even meant to have love or the coupled life you envision for yourself. This nasty goblin makes you feel unlovable.

The “I Shouldn’t Have to Be Doing This” Gremlin
Dating seems like a sentence for you. You’d rather be spending your time doing something more “productive”. Your friends and family members seem to have found their spouses with little or no effort. Why do you need to be working so hard at this? And because you don’t feel comfortable showing up at singles events, announcing to the world that you’re single, this gremlin keeps you feeling lonely. This leads to our last goblin…

The “All the Good Guys/Gals Have Been Taken” Goblin
You are carrying the belief that there are no good guys (or gals) out there for dating, so you’re coming from the scarcity perspective. This is a tainted view of dating — it tuly keeps you from seeing the good qualities in people, and real possibilities for finding a true love.

How do you want to behave when these gremlins and goblins show up at your door? What do you need to do to maneuver around these negative creatures as you venture into the dating world looking for love? My recommendation is to try to keep a positive outlook, and do not fear the worst. Know that you have the resources inside to avoid these gremlins and goblins… or even make friends with them. Know that they are always lurking nearby. But by keeping a positive outlook, you can keep those creatures at bay and overcome your dating fears and get what you want: true love.

So as you are dating this Halloween month, will your luck in love be treats or all tricks?

This article originally appeared on Dating Coach: 6 Dating Gremlins and Goblins To Conquer This Halloween

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