Saturday, February 11, 2012

Website Built on Broken Families & Questionable Morals

AN attractive couple lie entwined in a cotton sheet - clearly satisfied after what seems to have been a steamy sex session.

Cue subtitles for a dramatic finale: "This couple is married . . . NOT to each other."

The controversial TV ad for an infidelity website caused outrage when it aired in America.

And now it could hit Britain as part of the multi-million pound UK launch of ashleymadison.com.

Branded "a business built on the back of broken hearts, ruined marriages and damaged families" but hailed by others as "an honest format for an age-old human weakness", the online phenomenon already boasts seven million members in the US, Canada and Australia.

Its owner Noel Biderman, a married father of two, hopes to add one million UK cheaters to his portfolio by Christmas.

Canadian-born Biderman, 39, says: "Ashley Madison is like a traditional dating site but for people already in relationships.

"It was becoming increasingly apparent people who wanted to cheat on their partners were using more traditional sites like Facebook and match.com but concealing the fact they were married when they began dating.

"My research showed around 30 per cent of these people were effectively taking off their wedding rings when they went online.

"So I didn't need to generate infidelity but I saw that I could capitalise on it by taking this pool of people away from the mainstream dating sites and letting them know about another community where both parties could be more honest about what they're doing."

Ashley Madison - which carries the slogan "Life is Short. Have an Affair" - has become a multi-million pound phenomenon, receiving news coverage on leading US shows and channels including CNN and Fox News.

Biderman clearly revels in the "King Of Infidelity" title given to him by the US media and delights in explaining the intricacies of his website.

Starting from £49 for 100 credits, members can email one another (five credits); engage in real-time chat, enter virtual bars and bedrooms (both 30 credits for 30 minutes) and even post virtual gifts to one another.

Launched on February 13, 2002 (a day Biderman has dubbed "Mistress Day"), the following years have been spent honing the product.

Dressed in chinos and brogues, Biderman attempts to present himself as a relaxed charmer but he sips on a can of Red Bull and talks at 100mph as he tries to excuse the questionable morals behind his business.

"I've spent years perfecting the product," he says.

"Lipstick on the collar doesn't catch out people these days. Digital lipstick - emails and text messages that get into the wrong hands - catches them out.

"I've had to convince people that communicating on Ashley Madison is safe, with billing under a pseudonym."

Biderman christened the business Ashley Madison because it combines the two most popular girls' names in the US and he wanted the brand to appeal to women as well as men.

In the UK around 40 per cent of people married or in long-term relationships cheat at some stage.

More than half of women and around 60 per cent of men have been unfaithful in the past.

Love or hate Biderman, he has so far managed to tap thriving markets for infidelity in other countries.

And the no-holds-barred messages on his website have given him an insight into cheating in the 21st Century.

Biderman says this comprises: "Around two men for every woman on the site and a three to four-year itch scenario as opposed to the more mythical seven-year phenomenon."

He adds: "There is also a dramatic shift in family dynamics after the birth of the first child. Intimacy levels between couples change because of the way people feel about their bodies.

"For years, infidelity was viewed as a male phenomenon but Ashley Madison revealed more and more women have been having affairs as opportunity has allowed them to enter the workplace.

"Not every woman a man cheats with is a mistress, is she? And the more emasculated men feel, the more it causes them to lash out and want to cheat on their wives."

Biderman is currently staying in a luxury Mayfair hotel as he prepares to launch his "service" in the UK.

A round of media interviews has been lined up and a £10million advertising budget is poised to be spent if he can get his controversial message past the Advertising Standards Authority.

He claims he has seen enough messages on his website from people in the UK to know there is a "captive market waiting to join".

And he claims: "By Christmas, I estimate that one million Brits will be using the site."

The product of a stable middle-class home, Biderman says there was no role model in his own family for infidelity.

The son of a dentist and a housewife, he thrived at school and was a sports attorney. His older brother is a banker.

Married for eight years, Biderman swears he has been faithful to his wife - a stay-at-home "mom" who looks after his son, five, and daughter, two.

"Have I been tempted to stray? Yes," he says confidently.

"But I talk about infidelity ten times a week. If there is anyone who should know about what it takes to be monogamous, it's me.

"Is our relationship perfect? No. But I try hard to keep it on the right tracks.

"I might one day find myself in a similar position to my members and, if so, I would rather stray then leave the family unit."

So has Biderman considered the possibility his wife might be cheating on him right at this moment?

Appearing a little flustered for the first time, he pauses before responding more slowly: "If my wife was cheating on me right now, I would be shocked."

By all accounts, Mrs Biderman would rather he got a more respectable job, but the legitimising of extra-martial affairs has reaped rich rewards.

Biderman admits to living in a "big house" and driving a Maserati sports car.

He clearly revels in the debate over his business but, amazingly, also tries to convince the world there are heart-warming stories surrounding infidelity.

Like the Ashley Madison Diaries, a book written by a woman trapped in a loveless marriage who allegedly found her Prince Charming on the website.

Or the elderly gentleman nursing a wife with Alzheimer's.

Biderman claims: "With the permission of his children, he joined and spent once a week with a married woman. He wanted to tell me his story because he could see I was getting a hard time in the media."

Actually, Biderman appears to delight in his role as a moral villain because he knows controversy sells.

And as he points out: "Extra-marital affairs existed long before Ashley Madison and will continue to long afterwards."


Anonymous said...

its amazing the content you find on online dating sites... you have to be sooooo careful!

Anonymous said...

Let's just expose these web sites for what they really are. They are a blister on the butt of society. The chances of you finding your Prince Charming are few and far between. What you might find is a psychopath or get an STD or have an unplanned pregnancy. They can only lead to an increase in rape, molestation, emotional rape, larceny, and sex addition. What can the future hold if this kind of thing is allowed worldwide. Are you scared for your children.....I am. We need to get serious about this now and get them shut down.

Anonymous said...

These types of web sites should be banned. They only lead to broken marriages, unplanned pregnancies that ruin marriages, STD's, an increase in rape, molestation creating an overall cest pool for our country.....it's a crying shame.

Anonymous said...

My experience on the Ashley Madison web site. I thought I could go and find someone....a one on one relationship. I thought I did....as it turned out he was lying and going from one to the next and I believe this to be the normal on that site. Once a man finds out he can do that he will never commit to one person. His actions were scary and his lies were crazy. He was so wrapped up in it all I think he became a sex addict.

Anonymous said...

I found a novel way to estimate the ratio of men to women on the AshleyMadison site. It's 10.1 to 1. For a full city-by-city analysis and also age distributions of men and women see www.exploringtheerotic.wordpress.com