Ashley Madison’s 4 million new users aren’t evidence of a turnaround

Ashley Madison’s 4 million new users aren’t evidence of a turnaround

Ashley Madison, the site that managed to lose the details of 37 million of its users and let slip the social network is full of fembots managed to add four million new subscribers since the data breach, according to the site.

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More than 43.4 million people have signed up to the company, according to its website, up from around 37 million in August last year.

But we’re inclined to take this with a large pinch of salt. If you rummage through the terms of the site, it states explicitly that they cannot “guarantee the authenticity” of any profile.

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With established reports suggesting around 80 per cent of new members’ purchases were with bots before the breach occurred, there is little here to make us believe that a whole slew of men who don’t follow mainstream media has just discovered the site.

In reality, it looks more likely that the company has just turned up the fake account production line. We know this because when the data dump occurred in August last year, there were a whole bunch of emails between then CEO Noel Biderman’s and his fellow executives.

In those exchanges were details of how women account for only around five to seven percent of all accounts on the site and that Biderman was pushing his managers to work harder to make a system that can churn out fake women’s accounts for the bots to use.

In another recent twist, Toronto Life journalist Lauren McKeon discovered that the company’s PR team had given her a fake couple to interview.

Driving this thirst for numbers lies a big fat load of cash. In April of 2015, Ashley Madison’s holding company, Avid Life was touting an IPO of around a billion dollars.

But rather than the company somehow managing to turn infidelity into big business, it appears it was all just one big bluff.

According to Reuters, some of the hacked documents suggest that Avid Life’s IPO plans were revealed at the same time that “investors had pressed [the company] to improve liquidity so they could sell shares.”

So essentially it was beefing up the price by claiming it was worth a lot more than it was in the hope someone was gullible enough to stump up the cash.

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Looking at the company’s books, its revenue growth was sliding for four years between 2010 and 2013. Then suddenly it recorded a 50 per cent surge in revenue – from $76 to $115 million the following year.

Yes, it’s possible for revenue growth to shoot upward after steadily drifting down, but there is no explanation from the company to suggest they did anything different to bring about that change.

The point is, trusting a company that has consistently been found lying about its users, its security and even its value should set off alarm bells.

Adding a million users a month after the world discovered Ashley Madison, a site whose very nature is to keep things on the DL is terrible at it sounds like this home of cheaters is just cheating itself.

Ashley Madison

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