Self, Heartbreak

Ashley Madison's CEO Compares Site To A Drugged-Out Woman (Really?!)

Ashley Madison dating site cheating infidelity

Calling Ashley Madison “gross” isn’t exactly a revolutionary statement.

It’s a dating site that’s entire reason for existing is to facilitate cheating between married people. (Their original slogan “Life is short. Have an affair” tells you everything you need to know.)

But, after their legendary hack last year — which revealed the private data of over 33 million users — Ashley Madison had been making a concerted effort to appear less gross to the public.

The site was rebranded, with the new slogan “Find Your Moment”, they aired a series of commercials prominently featuring women, and their new CEO, Rob Segal, stressed that, hey, not EVERYONE on the site is looking to cheat on their wife.

But even with a new coat of paint and some confusing new ads, it is, apparently, still impossible to hide the exploitative awfulness that’s inherent in a “dating site” like Ashley Madison.

Case in point — in a Guardian article last week, Rob Segel discussed why, following the hack, the new management team was willing to risk its reputation of revitalizing Ashley Madison.

Segel was quoted as saying, “We thought there was an opportunity in the chaos… We thought about her as a Hollywood starlet gone wrong and who needed to check into rehab.”

Um… gross.


What a disgusting, misogynistic analogy for an infidelity site driven by men, run into the ground by men, and now recently rebranded by men.

So Ashley Madison fails on an unprecedented level, primarily because of the men who run it being dishonest and failing to keep their promises, and the only thing they can think to compare it to is a woman with a substance abuse problem?


If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the “new” Ashley Madison, I don’t know what does.

This is a dating site with a predominantly male user base. After the hack, it was revealed that the vast majority of the women that men interacted with on the site were actually automated bots, employed to keep naïve men thinking that they were chatting with real women.

Some sites have described Ashley Madison’s fembots as a “sophisticated, deliberate, and lucrative fraud,” arguing that, no matter how many actual women signed up for the site (the projected numbers are low and dubious), the site’s overall business plan definitely involved prostituting artificial women to men in virtual conversations to keep the men interested and paying for the site.

Even the name of the site has a history of exploiting women. “Ashley Madison” comes from the two most popular names for women the year the site was founded, so, even in their site’s name, there is an implication that THIS is a place to find women. It’s not being billed as a destination to meet awesome guys. This is a place you come to find Ashleys and Madisons.

Maybe that’s why, in his starlet comments, Segal identifies the site as “her.” Does the management team really see Ashley Madison as a woman? As some boozy, unhappily married suburban broad looking to have a little fun?

It all just points to how the past and current Ashley Madison management team views women — as a commodity to be used and exploited to make them rich. 


Their site is a woman they sell. They used the false promise of women to pacify their subscription base and, now that the site has fallen on hard times, they see the site as a Lindsay Lohan or Tara Reid character who needs to spend some time in rehab to class herself up.

It’s disgusting and it shows you that even the classiest of rebrandings can’t save something that is fundamentally broken.

At its core, Ashley Madison is about the exploitation of women. Yes, I’m sure the site does have a female user base that knows exactly what they’re doing, but the fact remains that the site sells itself, first and foremost, as a place to find women. And they’ve shown that they’re not above lying to keep that illusion going.

And Rob Segal’s “starlet” comments puts to rest any argument that Ashley Madison doesn’t have a woman problem. It does.

Life may be short and maybe you should have an affair (that's not my business), but — women in particular — you can find much better (and less sad) places than Ashley Madison to accomplish that.