According to a report from Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo, only a small percentage of the female profiles on AshleyMadison.com actually represented active users.
It turns out that the website which was attacked by hackers (ultimately generating new scandals for the likes of “family values” champion Josh Duggar, Christian vlogger Sam Rader, and countless others) was actually a huge scramble of horny men sending messages to women who weren’t there.
The world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.
Newitz’s research found that out of a little over 37 million accounts, there were just about 12,000 paying female subscribers. In addition, out of that 12,000 only 1,492 women actually logged in to check messages. This is compared to 20 million men who were active users of the site.
Ashley Madison employees did a pretty decent job making their millions of women’s accounts look alive. They left the data in these inactive accounts visible to men, showing nicknames, pictures, sexy comments. But when it came to data that was only visible on to company admins, they got sloppy. The women’s personal email addresses and IP addresses showed marked signs of fakery. And as for the women’s user activity, the fundamental sign of life online? Ashley Madison employees didn’t even bother faking that at all.
In summary, the site was a big scam. Men would get hooked in, attempt to correspond with fake profiles, then after getting nowhere they’d have to pay a fee to have their account deleted. Those who chose to leave their account dormant ended up having their identities exposed by the hack. Some deal, huh?
[Boing Boing] Featured image via Business Insider