I can only speak from personal experience and from the feedback of my friends...
I can also speak from personal experience ...it's a scam.
I have been on the site for~ year, as have other friends both male and female, and none of us has run in to any of the problems you list.
I'm happy for you. Not everyone has had a bad experience. That fact alone, however, does not make the site any less of a scam. PoF is one of many online dating sites that have numerous legitimate complaints against them. Some of them, including Lifemates, are on the verge of having class action law suits brought against them.
Markus is easy to get a hold of contrary to the reports.
Again, I'm happy you managed to get through. I guess everyone else must be lying about not getting any responses from him.
I bet markus pisses a lot of big pay sites off and probably gets ripped on by IT review bashing a fair amount.(that 'private investigator' might have even worse grammar than I do-:))
Frind may piss a lot of people off, not just those who run pay sites, but actual members of PoF. I've repeated the experiement by private investigator, and came up with more or less the same results. Lots of fake ads run by the site, randomly deleted profiles, etc.
IAs its mainly a free site it attracts all facets of life. Scammers, attention whores, and some good people too.
The scam is in the way the site functions, not necessarily its members. They waste a lot of people's time through random profile deletions, and posting fake ads. They skirt privacy laws, and claim ownership over the site's content (Facebook has run into the same problem recently). And now with the new pay features, many people are getting seriously ripped off having to pay for a year when they signed up on a monthly basis.
Sites like PoF, eHarmony, match.com, Lifemates and numerous others should be shut down, and Mike should not be accepting ad money from any of them.