Whatever Happened to Ashley Madison? Affairs in the Time of Coronavirus

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    An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat: Ashley Madison’s tagline has taken on a new ring amid the COVID-19 pandemic — “Life’s short. Have an affair.” And the “married dating” site, used to conduct clandestine affairs, has found itself in the midst of a boom. Despite the fact that it’s harder than ever to physically meet up with a fellow cheater, Ashley Madison is seeing a surge in users. Some are just looking to chat with someone other than a spouse, some are seeking emotional validation or the fantasy of pursuing a secret sex life… The company became a household name in July 2015, when hackers stole data on 32 million cheating spouses. The leak of sensitive data led to spouses discovering that their significant others were cheating. Divorces, breakups, and suicides ensued. The hackers also exposed that Ashley Madison used bots posing as attractive young women to lure men into engaging more with the site. The company says it has since beefed up its security and rid itself of the bots. And now it’s more than double the size it was at the time of the hack, with over 65 million members last year. During 2019, the company added 15,500 new members a day. More recently, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been adding 17,000 new members a day. Its chief strategy officer tells them that after their massive data breach “we were signing up more than 100,000 people a day… [W]e also saw revenues jump during that small time frame.” (And the site also acquired “a whole new security team…”) Interestingly, he also says Facebook won’t allow them to buy ads, which seems especially anticompetitive since Facebook runs its own dating site. “They block us but let other dating platforms advertise… We have had multiple conversations with them, and no, it’s a fruitless conversation, unfortunately… This is part of the problem with Facebook, in general, in that they get to pick and choose which companies are going to advertise on the second-largest, if not the largest, digital advertising platform in the world. We question the validity of that.” Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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