Ashley Madison’s marketing department clearly didn’t get the memo

While reading Avid Life Media’s press release about the departure of Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, I noticed a strange banner ad for the massively-hacked adultery site:

Ashley Madison

See what all the fuss is about. Ashley Madison. Join Free

Umm.. if I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, I would read one of the thousands of media reports about how the site was hacked and its database of user details released onto the internet. Or, if I was really curious, I might go to a torrent site to download the database for myself.

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Ashley madisonBut I don’t think they have found the most convincing reason in the world to join Ashley Madison.

Maybe Ashley Madison’s marketing department would do better to try to build trust with a user base that must surely have had its confidence in the company massively shaken by the security breach, rather than running such an ill-advised pitch for new business.

They might also want to move away from their (now-familiar) image of a woman with a finger to her mouth saying “Shhh”, as if to imply some level of secrecy.

Just an idea.

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.

5 comments on “Ashley Madison’s marketing department clearly didn’t get the memo”

  1. coyote

    Yes, this is in very poor taste to say the least. It shows that they don't have much sympathy or concern for others despite what they may have made public (about wanting to find the attacker). I would argue (and I imagine everyone except those who have no problem hurting someone they supposedly love would feel this way) they didn't have that in the first place, seeing as what their service potentially allows, but if there was any doubt left they took care of it here.

  2. Jan

    Hi Graham – I really like your blog, but this Ashley Madison obsession is a getting little annoying I think. Could it be that someone's email address was in their DB? ;)


    1. Graham CluleyGraham Cluley · in reply to Jan

      Ho ho.

      Seriously, as far as the general public is concerned it's one of the biggest computer security stories of the year (rightly or wrongly). Of course, I'm going to write about it. Just as every other news site wrote about it incessantly. Hopefully I at least provided some balance and common sense, compared to those who grabbed their flaming torches and pitchforks.

  3. Simon

    It seems AM are playing it down as a 'any publicity is good publicity' tactic.

    Not to compare the two, but who'd think Malaysian Air would suffer two fatalities in a space of a year?

    Granted, aviation incidents are no way as severe/damaging as a hack. However, you'll find some that don't care about the history, present or future of what they're buying into.
    Sure, AM, Malaysian Air, have lost a big customer base, but it's marketing, people voting with their wallets, carelessness, etc… that might prevail.

    Clutch at these straws is what such companies do when they have nothing to loose and something (if anything) to gain.

  4. teksquisite

    That is what happens when you let the marketing dept. take precedence over security. They (marketing dept) are entirely clueless that they are just adding more "brand" egg-in-the-face /I doubt their sensationalizing of a "reason to join" will increase the user base…

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