perhaps the most notorious scandal of the digital era, has recovered to the point that it now is adding 20,000 customers per day, according to a report at CBS News.
Most of us have heard the adage "a sucker is born every minute." Based on the latest data about Ashley Madison's customer growth, that must be true.
What do we know about Ashley Madison? It has a history of failing to protect customer data, leading to a 2015 hack by a group calling itself The Impact Team. The company has displayed an utter lack of integrity, admitting it used chatbots to lure would-be cheating males and then threatened to expose them when they complained; in other words, many of the available "women" on the site aren't women at all -- they are fake bots, designed to arouse easily conned men. Finally, the company reached an $11.2 million settlement in a federal lawsuit claiming widespread damages for customers who were exposed in the Ashley Madison hack.
Here at Legal Schnauzer, we have covered the Ashley Madison story more extensively and in more depth, than any other news site -- focusing on customers with high-end financial status, as reported in an article at fusion.net.
You might think a company that coughed up $11.2 million to compensate customers it had damaged would have a hard time finding new customers. But according to a recent report at CBS News, you would be wrong; Ashley Madison, in fact, is reeling in new suckers at an astonishing rate.
Focus of the CBS story was "Infidelity: Why the oldest taboo continues to be broken." For example, we learn this:
It's a subject as old as marriage... and usually more taboo than divorce.
"It is the only commandment repeated twice in the Bible, right? Once for doing it, and once for thinking about it," said psychotherapist Esther Perel, who has been studying infidelity for more than a decade.
"Ninety-three percent of Americans think that infidelity is morally wrong -- more morally wrong than cloning, than suicide, or than domestic violence," Perel said. "It's an interesting location for something that is not criminal, that is totally consensual."
The contradictions of unfaithfulness raise a question: why do so many people cheat?
These days, there's ample chance to examine the issue. In recent weeks, we've seen President Trump deny new reports of a affair with an adult film star and a Playboy model in 2006. Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has acknowledged an affair with his hairdresser, and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has apologized for sleeping with her bodyguard … which makes her part of a trend.
According to a survey by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, female philanders (19%) are catching up with their male counterparts (23%) for the first time on record.
The story focused on a woman named Kristie, and that led to . . . Ashley Madison:
Human beings such as Kristie, a mother of two, who asked that we not use her real name or reveal where she lives.
"I can't blame him and I can't blame me -- it's 50-50," she told Dokoupil. "We just didn't like each other. We got to a point where we just didn't like each other anymore."
"I was not looking for love, was not looking to leave my husband, was just looking for companionship."
Like many women, she resolved to stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her kids, until one night a few years ago when she also resolved to stray.
"I was sitting on the bed, and he said something to me very disrespectful, very hurtful," said Kristie. "And I just snapped. I pulled my phone out, and I went, 'Woman looking for men to have affairs with.'"
She ended up on Ashley Madison, a website that helps men and women pursue what's known as "married dating."
Yes, married dating.
The CBS reporters seemed flummoxed by the notion of "married dating." So they went to a supposed expert on the subject:
Who came up with that term? "I think it's been around a long time," said Ruben Buell, the president of Ashley Madison's parent company, Ruby Life. "A lot of this came out of singles dating, where you're on single sites, but 30-plus percent of the people on the site were married. So somebody took a category and created Ashley Madison."
Even after a damaging leak of user names in 2015, Buell says the Ashley Madison site is booming, with 20,000 new members a day.
A reasonable person might expect the doors to Ashley Madison's Toronto headquarters to be shuttered, with cob webs hanging from windows. But hey, the place is thriving -- even though it's proven to be a fraud, conning customers and threatening them when they complain.
If The Impact Team or similar outfit is so inclined, I'm guessing there will be another hack at Ashley Madison within the next couple of years or so. Our reports on the first hack regularly attract comments that disparage our coverage and express sympathy for the customers who were stupid enough to sign up with Ashley Madison. (Note: I've seen extensive evidence that many such comments are from automated bots, so like most things related to AM, they aren't legit either.)
Will the customers still rushing to sign up with AM merit our sympathy when (and if) a future hack hits the headlines?
They won't get any from me.