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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Adultery site helps to end marriages?

Posted by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:19 PM
  • 11 Replies

Do you feel web sites like this contribute to extramarital affairs and the divorce rate in this country?  Why or why not? 

Adultery site not the end of marriage

AshleyMadison.com is controversial, but couples cheated before the Web


By Brian Alexander
msnbc.com contributor
updated 7:26 a.m. MT, Tues., March. 3, 2009

Lately, it seems, there is no escaping Ashley Madison. The Web site, that is, not any person, real or fictional, who may or may not be named Ashley Madison. You may have read or heard about it.

The site caters to married people looking to have sex with other married people who are not their spouses. Its blatant promotion of adultery has stirred up a lot of controversy and hand-wringing over the state of marriage in America.


The most recent bout of notoriety came when a commercial for the site was banned from the NFL’s official Super Bowl program (it aired in Texas). After Noel Biderman, president of Avid Life Media, a Toronto-based holding company that owns the site, erupted in high dudgeon that may or may not have been sincere, AshleyMadison.com scored even more publicity from media outlets reporting on the rejected ad. In the commercial, a woman is seen on a dinner date with an inattentive jerk who turns out to be her husband. As the spot closes with her eyeing another guy in the restaurant, the voiceover asks, “Isn't it time for AshleyMadison.com?”

This is par for the course for the site. Last July the company scandalized Times Square passersby with a billboard that declared “Life is short. Have an affair.” After lots of free media outrage, the billboard was removed three days later. Also last year, Biderman hired a self-described “professional mistress” to be a spokesperson in the United Kingdom.

I’ve seen the site on any number of news outlets, usually accompanied by agonizing over big sociological questions.

Let’s take a step back, shall we?

Cashing in on cheaters
Ashley Madison is hardly unique. It competes with other Web sites that do exactly the same thing, such as ADatefinder.com (“Meet Hot Married Women Now”), LonelyCheatingWives.com (“Date Lonely Housewives in Your Area”), and MarriedDateClub.com (“Meet the Hottest Married Ladies Now”). All are seeking to cash in on the ancient desire of some people to step out on their spouse. Beyond those sites, there’s AdultFriendFinder.com, CraigsLists, and any number of chat rooms for wannabe cheaters.

To hear Biderman tell it, Ashley Madison’s popularity proves masses of us are now willing to pay to commit adultery. There are 3.4 million profiles of people in the data base, he said, 72 percent of which are male, 28 percent female. Biderman claims the site is profitable, although Avid Life is a private company so there’s no way of verifying subscriptions or profiles.

However AdultFriendFinder, a bigger, more famous site is losing audience and money — over  $32 million in 2008, according to an SEC filing. “The number of unique users on our general audience social networking and personals websites has decreased and may continue to decrease,” Friend Finder stated in its filing.

According to the Alexa Internet site rankings, traffic to Ashley Madison has grown, spiking around the time of the Super Bowl hubbub, which no doubt attracted a lot of curious people. Even so, it is only the 1,575th most popular Web site in the U.S., according to Alexa. Nobody but Biderman knows how many of those people actually become paying members of the site.

Not different, new or special
I signed up and found out you can buy 100 “credits” for $49, 500 credits for $149, or 1,000 credits for $249. The $249 package comes with a guarantee you will have an affair or your money back. You spend credits to send “gifts” to others or to open their collect missives to you.

Regardless of how much money the site makes or how many people use it to commit adultery, Ashley Madison says nothing about our collective moral compass.

Alternative papers like The Village Voice, the highbrow New York Review of Books and city papers all over the country have run ads from married people seeking extracurricular lovers for two generations. Hollywood has made movies about infidelity since its beginning, even in those supposedly halcyon days of marital probity before the so-called late 1960s “sexual revolution” (see 1960's “The Apartment”). People have cheated since there has been marriage. Lancelot and Guinevere? Ashley Madison is just a cheap, kitschy, techy-sounding way to do it. 

News satire


To Biderman, who also started the singles rating site HotOrNot.com, says is it’s all strictly business. Blessed with that strain of amoral entrepreneurialism in which money-making opportunities must be seized, whether they be cigarettes, sex, or subprime mortgages, Biderman sees “people craving or seeking intimacy outside their relationships” as “a market segment.”

Well, yeah. If you are the type of person who sees the world in terms of market segments, the long record of husbands and wives having extramarital affairs could qualify. And if you're worried about a paramour pulling a Glenn Close and sticking your pet rabbit in a pot, or blackmailing you, I suppose meeting another cheating spouse online and declaring the whole affair is supposed to be zipless may provide some comfort.

But it’s not different, or new, or special. Biderman claims that his site is exposing a female need for women to escape bad marriages and to boost self-esteem. But this is 2009. None of his clients, as far as I can tell, live in South Waziristan or Saudi Arabia.




Brian Alexander

by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:19 PM
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Replies (1-10):
grigsbymom
by Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:32 PM

While I do agree that this site is just another way to cheat, it will not change the fact that cheaters cheat. 

Roomieto3
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 2:58 PM

i aggree with the reply before me

if someone is going to cheat

they will cheat with or  without the computer

WildKat
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 3:01 PM

I do still feel Ashley Madison is contributing to the downfall of the American family.  Yes, extramarital affairs have happened before, but Ashley Madison puts it out there like it is an acceptable part of life and nothing to be ashamed of.  They make it seem like everyone does this.  I can honestly see someone thinking "well if everyone else is doing it... why not me."  And I think that is sick.

Peace,

Kat

admckenzie
by New Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 4:14 PM
none of these sites could exist if we just said "no"
Jax_mommy
by Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 6:39 PM

I thought it was so funny that if you pay 249, you're guaranteed an affair.  Cheating is as old as marriage, it will always happen and I believe it's 50% of marriages that are affected by cheating.  Point being it will always happen, and I pray it never does to me.

Junebug926
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 7:20 PM

There is something for everyone out there.

sooga_booga
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:23 PM

My personal opinion is this.

These sites do not end marriages.

Cheaters end marriages.

People have committed adultery, well, for as long as there have been committed relationships.  50 Years ago, no one needed a website to help them cheat, and there were still cheaters.

If someone is going to cheat on their spouse/partner. They will do so, whether a sites like these exist or not.

                                    

lilmaiyagirl
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:25 PM


Quoting sooga_booga:

My personal opinion is this.

These sites do not end marriages.

Cheaters end marriages.

People have committed adultery, well, for as long as there have been committed relationships.  50 Years ago, no one needed a website to help them cheat, and there were still cheaters.

If someone is going to cheat on their spouse/partner. They will do so, whether a sites like these exist or not.

I agree.

wedding websites


sooga_booga
by on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:43 PM


Quoting Jax_mommy:

I thought it was so funny that if you pay 249, you're guaranteed an affair.  Cheating is as old as marriage, it will always happen and I believe it's 50% of marriages that are affected by cheating.  Point being it will always happen, and I pray it never does to me.


$249... Man !!!

I just called my sister about this.. Just to get her opinion ( she's a marriage/relationship therapist has been for 25 years).. Here's her quote:  "$250..... You have to be freaken kidding me.. That's insane considering the majority of affairs happen in the work place where people are **getting** paid to mingle.. And no. Sites like this do not increase people's aptitude to cheat. If it did. Then most cases of infidelity would not be happening in the workplace. If some one is looking for a "stranger", that can happen : at the grocery store, at a bar, hell your dry cleaners if you really want to cheat and run into the right person."

                                    

BellaMia9186
by New Member on Mar. 3, 2009 at 8:55 PM

My opinion is if your marriage is strong...you don't have to worry about sites like that.   Its not just the computer.  You can go out to the bar and pay alot less to have a one night stand.  If your a cheater...your a cheater whether your married or not.  Ashley Madison is just making money off of people who were already cheaters...but instead of having to go to a bar or a chat room....they can sit their and pick through like its a menu.  If you wern't a cheater before...a website isn't going to make you a cheater now.

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