Over the weekend, the dating site for people seeking to have an affair, AshleyMadison, was hacked. With the hackers threatening to release the personal details and sexual fantasies of the site’s more than 37 million users, all eyes have been on AhsleyMadison and its parent company, Avid Life Media — and now we’re hearing more about what it’s like on the inside.
Many people think AshleyMadison provides an unethical service, helping married people cheat on their spouses. After all, its registered tag-line is “Life is short. Have an affair.”
But one former employee recently took to Reddit to defend the company she once worked for, revealing what it’s like to work at the dating site.
According to her introduction, she worked as a department manager for AshleyMadison from 2008-2013. This fact was supposedly verified by Reddit’s moderators.
Sadly, the Q&A thread as a whole doesn’t give us any new information about the recent hack. It does, however, provide interesting context about a company many think to be immoral.
This anonymous person had a very positive experience at the company. She went so far as to call it “one of the best companies I’ve ever worked for.”
Later in the thread, she defended the core service AshleyMadison offers: “We were providing a service, plain and simple. Not everyone using the site was married and not everyone was hiding their profiles from spouses … Because every person’s story was different, I could never judge the company for the actions of thousands of people.”
The company, however, was a frequent target of ire. “There used to be many sites dedicated to bringing us down,” the poster wrote. Many of them, she said, were jilted lovers — predominately women. “Groups of women would band together and ‘help’ women catch their husbands on the site,” she wrote.
Things would sometimes turn scary. “We’d receive death threats constantly,” said the poster. According to her, they generally came from two types of people: “Wives who caught their husbands using the site OR just random religious crazies.”
As for the actual hack, this former employee offered little information about what did or did not happen. One thing she did say, however, is that the “full delete” service — which the hackers claim doesn’t work as advertised — actually does work. “The thing is,” she wrote, “it actually DOES wipe you entirely form the system.”
She goes so far to call it “one of the best features the site introduced.” So why were the hackers claiming otherwise? Her hypothesis is that perhaps people with multiple accounts still had remnants of their financials still on ALM’s servers due to other lingering accounts.
In her estimation, AshleyMadison sets itself apart from other dating sites because of its privacy. Everyone who is hired is given rigorous privacy and security training, and it was their job “to make sure anyone who joined the site could enjoy it without fear of being caught.”
And yet, the company is in hot water today due to a potential security slip-up, with a recent report claiming the hack could wind up costing AshleyMadison $US200 million as it was planning an IPO.
While the Reddit AMA didn’t bring us any closer to knowing how or why the hack happened, it did help paint the controversial company in a new light. Many Redditors cried foul about this AMA, calling it an inside job and an “obvious PR move.”
The poster demurred, “I mean we had a serious problem with people leaving their leftover food in the communal fridge for way too long but that’s really the extent of ‘company drama.'”
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