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article imageA dating website for those already hitched

By Nikki Weingartner     May 8, 2009 in Internet
Labeled as the number one dating service in the world, the Ashley Madison Agency certainly serves a unique population. And with a slogan like "Life is too short. Have an affair" that has over 3.5 million members, it's certainly hit a target market.
Online dating is anything but a small relationship these days. With Online Dating Magazine reporting over 20 million monthly visits to affiliated sites as well as over 120, 000 weddings a year resulting from the virtual meeting, it appears more of a reality than the traditional scene.
For seven years, one unique dating site has been growing rapidly and guarantees more than just a perfect match.
The Ashley Madison Agency, created by Noel Biderman, 37, who is a married former attorney and sports agent with small children, provides a confidential place for married people to connect and set up an affair. The Toronto native supports his site, the service offered as a way to "preserve more marriages" when people need more sex but love their spouse and do not want to end the marriage. There is even an "Affair Guarantee Program" where customers pay a set fee of just under $250 US plus applicable taxes and are given a full refund if they are unable to find a mister or mistress within three months. Of course, there are rules that must be followed to validate the guarantee such as posting a photo and keeping your profile active and public for a specified time frame.
The agency has been featured on several popular shows such as Good Morning America, Tyra Banks, Ellen and even The View. CNN Prime News ran a bit on the site, clearly putting it in a negative light. The 2009 Superbowl ad allowed many viewers an insight into the extra marital affair website, at least in Texas. Billboards can also be found in places like Los Angeles, CA and Time's Square, NY.
With the recent addition of mobile capabilities that added thousands of new members within hours of the launch, those looking for an affair are no longer confined to office computers. And Biderman further encourages the addition by saying:
"...you're free to connect with your lovers throughout the day...on the train coming into work, waiting at the airport, or even late at night while your spouse is more focused on the TV than you."
There are even ways to become an affiliate of Ashley Madison, making a reported average of $3,500 US per month. Just last month, a revamped affiliate website was launched in Toronto, ON making it easier for interested parties who wish to promote the dating site. In defense of the site itself, myths and facts about the cheating kind help substantiate the website's goal, which is not to encourage cheating but to provide a safety net of sorts for those who have already made up their mind to go outside of the marriage. Biederman firmly believes that a commercial or website will not persuade anyone into an extra marital affair, especially if they are in a happy marriage and have firm values against cheating. However, he does say that:
"It's a decision they've come to already. All I'm saying is, don't do it in the workplace where it could result in someone losing their job, don't go to a singles dating service and lie about your status, don't hire a prostitute. Given that affairs are going to happen no matter what, maybe we should see Ashley Madison as a safe alternative."
In 2006, a report out of the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center revealed a substantial number of married couples have a stray event over a 12-month period and just over "1 and 5" men and "1 out of 10" women admit to having an affair while being married. (See PDF of American Sexual Behavior 2006). And although many cheat because they are not completely happy with their marriage, many do so for simple reasons like needing an "ego boost" or more attention.
The site, however doesn't just receive glowing comments from satisfied customers. One individual so opposed to the site set up a petition called the Anti-Ashley Madison and Adultery Fund. Although the online funding aspect is an endeavor that is not considered safe, the support of the petition seems to be small, but strong and noble.
So if you are already thinking about it, would you turn to the site for a "guaranteed" sexual affair alongside of 3.5 million other members who are feeling "neglected" or in need of some excitement in their marriages? An answer deserving of a discreet response.
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