You may remember the Ashley Madison adverts used to be everywhere on the London Underground, on TV and in magazines.
It is a Canadian dating agency for married people i.e. people who want to have affairs rather than seek relationships and many of the users were already married or in long term relationships.
It was founded in 2002 by Darren Morgenstern, with the slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair.
Morgenstern and Ashley Madison were riding high on endless publicity due to the anger it created but then came a fall.
In July 2015 the website was hacked by a group known as “The Impact Team” and they took personal information on the members including names, home addresses, search histories and credit card numbers.
The hackers demanded that Ashley Madison shut down permanently or they would release the information in public.
Such information was released to the public in August in several tranches and also Noel Biderman’s emails as he was the CEO of Avid Life Media which owned Ashley Madison.
This showed that although Ashley Madison allowed people to ‘delete’ their profile and all data – but it didn’t actually do that and those people’s data was in the public releases.
Some users claim they were victims of extortion claims and there were two unconfirmed suicides attributed to the publicity.
That wasn’t the only problem, it started to become clear that Ashley Madison was not really a dating site but a giant hoax on all of the men who signed up.
The men had to buy credits which allowed them to talk with women on the site and typically when a man joined he was bombarded by requests from women wanting to talk. But it turned out this was all fake – Ashley Madison had teams of people creating fake messages to recent joiners and following bad publicity Ashley Madison pointed out that their terms and conditions made it clear that the site was for entertainment purposes only and therefore they were entitled to make up messages and entire conversations and that the men concerned should have read the fine print.
An empire built on greed and lies.
The name Ashley Madison all but disappeared but is now resurfacing in scam emails as scammers try to revive interest in ‘discreet relationships’.
Do not respond to such emails they are just fraud.
If you have any experiences with Ashley Madison, do let me know, by email.