I got such a great response from my last blog about cheating and the increasing percent of women cheaters, I thought to myself I want to continue this discussion.It turns out that there are actually websites devised with the sole interest of meeting, hooking up and covering up individuals who are looking for an affair or a fling outside their current relationship. I wanted to know more about this industry and exactly how their business works.
Ashley Madison a site that has expanded its brand of discretionary avocations across the globe. While the site has 70% male visitors the rate of women is increasing according to CEO Noel Biderman. In an article of GQ a few women are interviewed to understand why they are looking outside their marriages or relationships to find something new and in particular why are they using Ashley Madison to do it. They are called “Lady Don Drapers” in the article. The first woman Megan who has worked for one the highest political figures this generation admits to having an affair with not one, but two men per year and some women here and there. Megan refers to herself as “I’m a dirty old man in a woman’s body.” Her preference is young men in particularly “eye candy”. Megan calls her husband “super-vanilla” and says they have a happy household and he’s great with the kids. So what am I missing here?
Another woman Gloria praises Ashley Madison for finding her way to publishers of magazines, CEO’s, politicians, and managing partners at law firms and investment firms. Gloria says love still holds the marriage together, even though she admits that she doesn’t believe one person will fulfill her needs. She says even if she divorced her husband and married someone else it would only be a matter of time before she would lose interest physically. Gloria admits that she loves her husband, but she not willing to give up her strong sexual urges.
The company is getting some unexpected,but equally welcomed business from recent political scandals. Noel Biderman notes that says the once largely taboo topic is making more and more headway into the mainstream. “Tide is starting to turn” notes Biderman. “As the Spitzers and Weiners come back onto the stage,” so he hopes investors from “Wall Street and Canada’s Bay Street will look at this business as something they want to fund.” Biderman shares with Bloomberg magazine that his family and friends funded the website initially and within six months he was able to return the investment of 1 million dollars.
Ashley Madison is now the third largest paid dating site in the world with members in over 26 countries and 90 million dollars in revenue for 2012. With over 20 million members the company is setting it’s eyes on infidelity in Asia. In June the marketed in Japan and were able to snag over half a million people in just three months. “It was our most successful launch ever,” says the CEO. They since launched in Hong Kong its 29th market which has 80,000 members. “There is an unfaithful, sexual revolution,”…….Usually Asian culture is seen as being more conservative, but Biderman uses the argument that infidelity is in our DNA.
Biderman defends the website, making the point that he doesn’t force people to cheat. He provides the platform for those individuals who have already made up their minds to step out on their spouse. Out of the 160,000 women on the Japanese site 68% of them are married women. A lot of them are the ones who stay at home while their husbands go to brothels and massage parlors which are legal in Japan. Biderman has noticed that the percentages of unfaithful women does vary region to region. Typically Latin American women have lower female adultery rates when compared to North American and European women.
18% of single men signed onto the Hong Kong website where generally only 9 – 11% would sign up. The company expects to expand to 10 – 11 more markets in Asia before 2014. With no marketing Ashley Madison had over 325,000 trying to sign on in mainland China. While the company has had a fair amount of advertisements on radio, tv and social media. Some stations are not willing to partner with the company still. Facebook refuses to air any ads from the company and Fox and NBC wouldn’t air any commercials during the superbowl for the company. Biderman is still optimistic for the company’s future. Biderman believes infidelity can save marriages, Dr Sandy a lecturer at the department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong says that infidelity may not destruct a marriage depending on the couples outlook on the institution of marriage.
Considering that there are couples who cannot find there sexually or emotionally significant other within the structure of their marriage they may find comfort and satisfaction with someone else. Dr Sandy makes the point, that when couples can’t agree and have deceived the other party in the relationship that is when the problems occur. Another opinion shows the popularity of the company and the website a sign of the times. The sign that people are becoming more self-centered individualistic and less likely to sacrifice for marriage and family when it comes to self-fulfillment. Biderman sees himself side by side with other industries that profit off of infidelity like hotels, jewelry stores, pornography, strip clubs, and massage parlors.
What do you think? Is he just filling a void with his company? or is Ashley Madison becoming more of an enticement to make it easier for those to cheat? Let me know what you think?