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Op-Ed: Ashley Madison: Creating adulterers across the world

By Gemma Fox     Aug 21, 2015 in Internet
When I first heard that a dating site had been hacked and the user information had been stolen I was initially unperturbed. Then I found out what site it was and what it does.
I am neither one way or another about dating websites. I've tried them and they don't work for me but I have friends who have met their other halves on them and that's good too.
When the news broke that a website called Ashley Madison had been hacked I scanned the news and read the words "dating website" and I immediately felt sorry for all those users who innocently entered their details to a website in order to find Mr or Mrs Right.
A while later, the news on in the background, I heard the name of the website and the words "adultery" so I paid more attention and I was horrified. A site that promotes adultery? This couldn't be. Only it is.
Ashley Madison is Canada based and owned by Avid Life Media (ALM). The company CEO is Toronto born Noel Biderman. It's not the only website they own.
Established Men is theirs, a site that encourages older men to seek much younger girls, or indeed, younger girls to seek "sugar daddies". The site slogan is "Connecting young, beautiful women with interesting men".
Cougar Life is another invention of ALM. This one is for older women seeking younger men. It's slogan is "Meet Divorcees, Single Moms and Sexy Singles looking for a young Stud! Start searching right now! - It's easy".
I don't know who writes these websites slogans but I hope they didn't get paid much for it.
So back to the lovely Ashley Madison, such a sweet name for a website that deals in so much deceit. They don't even hide it, in fact, they're incredibly proud of it. Indeed, on their own front page they proudly tell the visitor that "Ashley Madison is the most famous name in infidelity and married dating". Married dating? The only person you should be dating when you're married is your spouse.
The hackers who obtained the information from the website, which included emails and sexual fantasies, gave ALM a chance to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men (though not Cougar Life which is somewhat a mystery too, I consider it to be similar to Established Man). ALM didn't comply and the hackers dumped the data.
Millions of account holders information sent to the Dark Web for anyone who want to, to see. Not particularly a great thing for ALM considering their database has emails from government addresses in both the USA and the UK.
Add to that the spouses of around 37,000,000 people are about to find out that their partner had an extra-marital affair courtesy of a website that thinks it's okay to do so.
Normally when I hear of account information being hacked I feel sorry for the people who have had their information stolen but in this case I have no sympathy at all. Not one iota.
If you set out to deliberately cheat on your spouse then please don't feel hard done by this hack. Yes, you paid your money, but you did it so that you could abuse the trust of the person who should know and love you best.
Adultery is never good but there's something about this site that sickens me, and probably not just me. This site deliberately asks you to cheat on your other half. Out of the six choices on the front page the first two say "Attached Male seeking Females" and "Attached Female seeking Males". Pretty awful.
Of course the newest worry for the people who use this site is blackmail. As Business Insider reports, it's already begun.
Bitcoin news outlet CoinDesk was sent an email from a reader who apparently had an account on Ashley Madison. The reader had received an email from a would-be blackmailer called "Team GrayFlay" threatening to expose them unless they sent the extorter some bitcoins.
Here's the part of the message they received:
Unfortunately your data was leaked in the recent hacking of Ashley Madison and I now have your information. If you would like to prevent me from finding and sharing this information with your significant other send exactly 2.00000054 bitcoins (approx. value $450 USD) to the following address…
Oops. Signing up to that adulterous website suddenly doesn't look very good now, does it?
What has this Ashley Madison website actually done for families across the world? Well, potentially destroyed them. Destroyed lives. It's created a potential 37,000,000 (approx) cheaters and that is scandalous. In a world where so much is uncertain we don't need more bad people.
Sometimes being single is for the best.
The video containing the Ashley Madison advert above is courtesy of
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Ashley madison, Opinion, Adultery, Noel Biderman, Avid Life Media
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