In the wake of the scandal-inducing Ashley Madison data dump, there has been plenty of skepticism regarding the demographics of the site’s 37 million users. The hackers who orchestrated the dump, Impact Team, have accused Ashley Madison of fraud and claimed 90 to 95 percent of female users are robots created by the company. Ashley Madison and its parent company, Avid Life Media, was also sued by an employee in 2013 who claimed her role was to write thousands of fake profiles.
Armed with the data from the dump, Gizmodo parsed through user data to find out whether allegations of bots were true. And based on the evidence, the answer is: Yep.
In fact, it might actually be worse than what Impact Team characterized previously.
According to the user demographics provided by Ashley Madison, the imbalance is already apparent: out of the 37 million registered users, only 5.5 million had profiles with female-identified users.
But further digging into the issue found a grim reality: out of those 5.5 million female-identified accounts, zero percent had shown any activity at all the day after they were created.
When it comes to actual activity, participation from women is even worse. Ashley Madison relies on an inbox system — allowing for free form messages, but requiring the use of paid-for credits to initiate a custom email message. Within that inbox system, a whopping 20 million men checked their Ashley Madison message inbox. For women? Just 1,492.
Participation in the chat system was a little better, if still horrifically bleak. The chat system requires 30 credits to use — putting that in context, an introductory package of 100 credits costs $49 to start. About 11 million men used this chat system to communicate with someone, where only 2,409 women did the same.
In perhaps the most telling statistic is found within accounts identified as “paid delete.” These are the accounts that Ashley Madison promised to wipe from its service for a $19 fee, but actually ended up nestled within company servers. More than 173,000 of deleted accounts were men, where just 12,108 accounts were women.
All in all, Ashley Madison was full of eager men and robotic women. It seems that employees of the site did their best to make these profiles look real, but the numbers reveal the actual chance of engaging in an affair with a real person on the site were slim to none.
It seems you get what you pay for.