Coronavirus mandates lead to Ashley Madison membership surge

Business is booming for Ashley Madison. A report published last week shows Ashley Madison, a matchmaking website for cheating spouses, is doing so well right now because prospective customers’ relationships are not, or spouses are at least looking for something else to spice up their lives. Because people are stuck at home with their spouses during the coronavirus-prompted lockdowns and other restrictions, some are seeking “an outlet” from their daily relationship stress, a company official said. “Now with self-isolation a major factor in our lives, virtual affairs are being utilized to fill the gap,” said Paul Keable, chief strategy officer for Ashley Madison, in an interview with InStyle. The company has been actively posting tweets and sharing blog posts boasting tips for a successful romance. As recently as Monday morning, it was offering advice for “keeping things sexy” as people are stuck indoors as part of the stay-at-home orders issued throughout the country. Keable, told Venture Beat in late March the company is benefitting from the “fractures” in couples’ relationships that are likely being “amplified dramatically” as spouses are stuck at home together. “So, if you’re under quarantine or in working from home situations with your spouse and not having [the] respite [of] going into the office and being away, people are going to look at this as an outlet, even if it won’t be a physical interaction, at least in the short term,” Keable told the outlet, which then provided a transcript of the interview. “But having someone to talk to who’s having similar feelings is going to be a relief, and it’s potentially going to be of value to a lot of people who are experiencing that.” The company, known, in part, for its motto, “Life is short. Have an affair,” is boasting 17,000 new members per day during COVID-19 pandemic, which is a spike from the 15,500 daily customer additions in 2019, according to the report. “We often hear from our members that they love their spouses, they love their families and the situation they’re in, but there’s something missing,” Keable told the outlet. “We’re traditionally told to either suck it up and live without the thing that you want or get a divorce and give up everything you want in search of just one thing. We’re creating a third path for people.” Ashley Madison received roughly 5.6 million new clients in 2019, to make 65 million members, Keable said. Such success did not seem possible just years ago, when it was hacked in July 2015. Hackers infiltrated Ashley Madison’s website and downloaded private information belonging to its estimated 37 million customers. The details — including names, emails, home addresses, financial data and message history — were later posted publicly online. Canadian police later claimed the hacking led triggered extortion crimes and was suspected to have prompted at least two suicides. Ashley Madison’s US users later sued the website claiming negligence, breach of contract and privacy violations. They argued it failed to take reasonable steps to protect the security of its users, including those who paid a special fee to have their information deleted.

 

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