Ashley Madison claims to be gaining 500,000 new members each month


Ashley madison

The New York Post is reporting that the notorious Ashley Madison hookup site is boasting that more than 400,000 new users are signing-up for its “discreet” online dating services each month.

At the time of writing, the Ashley Madison website claims that “over 52,805,000” people have become members since 2002.

The New York Post quoted Paul Keable, VP of communications for Ruby Life, Ashley Madison’s new corporate parent, as it claimed members had risen a remarkable 50% since it suffered a devastating data breach at the hands of “The Impact Team”:

“We’re back, we’re excited and our opportunities are significant. Your math is accurate. In the summer of 2015 we experienced unprecedented media coverage of our business. Our monthly new member account additions have not been verified by a third party, but we stand behind them.”

The company bragged about a similar success story in January last year (when it was claiming over 43,485,000 members), which I found equally hard to believe.

Let’s do the maths.

January 2016 – 43,485,000
May 2017 – 52,805,000

That’s 9.3 million new members in less than 18 months, or over half a million new sign-ups per month.

Which is odd. In my experience most people’s thought when the name “Ashley Madison” is mentioned is not “dirty dating” but “data disaster.”

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Of course, Ashley Madison is not offering any figures for how many people might have decided to delete their accounts, or may have signed-up while testing the site’s security, or indeed what proportion of its members are actually real or not.

In the past Ashley Madison was found to be creating fake female profiles, designed to trick unsuspecting men into purchasing credits in the mistaken belief that they would be chatting with a human being.

I have no idea whether Ashley Madison’s claimed membership figures are the result of bots, bogus numbers, or bozos who don’t care about the site’s appalling history.

And sadly, neither do you. Unless the stats are independently verified we have no way of knowing… and our only option is to trust Ashley Madison.

Trust? Ashley Madison?

Hmm. Quite.

Further reading:

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

6 comments on “Ashley Madison claims to be gaining 500,000 new members each month”

  1. Jeb Neiss

    A fool and his money are soon parted.

  2. Ricardo

    If you count the bots they add themselves, then yes

  3. RMc

    Disgust me as a Canadian. Keep that Evil kinda crap south of our border where it belongs…

  4. Michael Ponzani

    How could you trust a site that encourages cheating on your wife? The Sugar Daddy web is more honest. I like your closer for this article.

  5. DS

    What's missing in the AM debate is it's part of a larger picture of fraud, exploitation, manipulation, and expropriation in the on line dating industry. For example, most sites' TOS & Privacy Policies say they have permanent and total use rights to everything you post to a profile including text and pics, and will use them (in whole or part) any way they see fit. They do not provide the 'member' with any transparency whatsoever how, where, with whom their profile info is shared or used, much less ability to control that. No protection against sales to anyone, much less guarantees any privacy provisions governing your initial signup will be imposed on anyone they transfer data to. While they often say sharing with affiliates, you don't know what kind of affiliated web sites your face/profile will become a 'member' of, whether a partially faked profile of you will be placed there, or if your face will be used in broadly spewed emailed ads for an objectionable niche affiliated dating service. How would you like to sign up for one site and later discover your ad/face appears on another which you don't want to be associated with? Think some niche site targeting an audience you want nothing to do with and you get the picture of the risk you take.

    So to put AM's membership #s into this perspective, it's easy to say it's grown dramatically when all they have to do is trade/swap/sell profile databases with others to boost their 'membership'. I use that last term loosely, because such profiles become dead end black holes for anyone trying to respond to them – which is a all too common outcome. The business model is boosting gross membership #s to raise paying customers (by any means), not to honestly facilitate promising human connections. The latter is like a cure – once cured you're not buying more medicine. A fraudulent way to grow is to gin up bots impersonating profile people or use cheapo staff like boiler rooms of old – some TOS even admit they use profile impersonators!

  6. StefanoB

    There's another option, which scares me much more than the above ones. It concerns the sociological aspects of security perception and the fact average people ofter prefers to filter out risk-related stuff from reality.
    Here it is. Many people didn't know anything about Ashley Masison and possibly about cheating sites before Ashley Madison made its appearance into the news because of the breach it suffered.
    So, those people, perhaps very security unaware people, got only the part related to the cheating thing, completely disregarding the real sense of the news (something like "Wow! There's a site that let's me have fun with someone else who won't bother me with all that crappy emotional involvment! Wait! But what's that data-breach thing? Bah! Who cares. I can easily cheat now! Yeah!").
    If that is true, then our struggle against ignorance is yet far to be won.

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