Earlier this year, the internet media company that owns and operates the adultery-oriented Ashley Madison website announced the appointment of a new president and chief executive officer. The announcement comes a little over a year after hackers accessed Ashley Madison’s membership records and exposed the personal lives of millions of the site’s users, leading to an untold number of breakups and divorces.
The company’s new leadership acknowledged that the hack may have affected the personal lives of users, but expressed regret only for the criminal behavior that led to the leaks. In fact, the site maintains that it is “the international leader in the affair dating space.” Claiming to be free from judgment, and refusing to be defined by cheating and adultery, Ashley Madison continues to, as the site declares, provide a forum for open-minded adults to meet one another discreetly.
There was, however, a subsequent announcement a couple of weeks ago came as a somewhat disturbing, though not really surprising, revelation to many people. It seems that the dating website had utilized automated computer programs known as “bots” to create the impression that the site had more female users than was the reality. According to reports, when a male seeking a female would sign up for the site, he would quickly be contacted by what seemed to be female users interested in him. The site does not allow users to respond for free, so the “female”—which was really a bot, and not a real person—would encourage the new user to buy credits to carry on a conversation. Up to 80 percent of initial purchases on Ashley Madison are now thought to have been the result of a user trying to communicate with a bot.
Despite its claims as a judgment-free zone, Ashley Madison would reportedly threaten dissatisfied users with sending records of payment to their homes. Once users realized that the number of women on the site was significantly lower than advertised, many of them disputed the charges, especially if they had fallen victim to bots. The site’s response to a requested chargeback was to fight every one, sending full records of each purchase to the user’s home, potentially exposing the “discrete” affair to spouses and children.
The site and its parent company are currently under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and revenues are reportedly down more than 25 percent compared to this time last year. Changes, however, have been promised, so time will tell if more chapters remain in the Ashley Madison story.
Whether your spouse was involved in last year’s hack scandal or not, infidelity can quickly destroy the trust necessary for a healthy marriage. If you are considering divorce due to your spouse’s behavior, contact an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer. We will explain your options and help you take steps toward a happier, healthier future. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.