Photo: Katie Tegtmeyer via Flickr
Helping married people find affairs is big business.Probably the biggest dating site specifically for people who are already in relationships is Ashley Madison.
After investigating the sites that help married people cheat, we decided to look into what makes Ashley Madison’s business tick.
Founder Noel Biderman got it started because he read somewhere that 30% of users of dating sites are already in relationships, and saw a market opportunity. So it's strictly business, he didn't start it because he wanted to cheat on his wife, or something -- according to him, anyway.
About 70 per cent men, 30 per cent women. That varies slightly depending on the region. Surprisingly, Houston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Atlanta are at least 4-5 per cent higher in females. As far as age breakdown is concerned, the large majority of the women are in their 20s and 30s, while the majority of men are in their 40s and all the way up to their 70s. When you get into the 55 and older age bracket, it's 90 per cent men.
The site is free to join, and it's free to look at profiles. But to interact with people on the site, you need to buy credits.
100 credits are $49. Messaging someone is 5 credits, and live chats cost more credits the longer they last. (We're betting the first line of most chats is 'AIM?') There are also virtual gifts.
Ashley Madison has a $249 program that guarantees results. If you follow their guidelines and don't get an affair within three months, you get your money back.
AshleyMadison's founder says the site pulls in 'tens of millions' of dollars in revenue. We're not surprised. It solves a real problem and it's something plenty of people are willing to pay for.
A lot of people think to seem Ashley Madison is a complete scam. There's even a site called AshleyMadisonSucks dedicated to collecting testimonies of people who think the site is a scam.
The main objection seems to be that many profiles on the site are fake. But we've also found credible testimonials of people who've successfully used the site. Several users saw both fake and real profiles. But there are fake profiles on every dating site.
Just something to keep in mind.
The site's controversial nature is both a boon and a bane in terms of advertising. It's a boon because it got the sites tons of free PR. CEO Biderman has appeared in countless TV interviews and programs.
But it's a bane because plenty of advertisers don't want to carry Ashley Madison advertising. NBC wouldn't air the company's Superbowl ads -- even though there are plenty of ads for alcohol in the SuperBowl, and alcohol is arguably responsible for thousands of deaths (and broken families).
Biderman also tried to get few cities to rename their stadiums after AshleyMadison for millions of dollars, but no dice.
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