No Comeback for Ashley Madison

The Wall Street Journal ran an article about a comeback for adult sex hook-up site Ashley Madison. No matter what plans new management has, the comeback won’t happen. Ashley Madison has dug itself into too deep a hole.

The cost of resurrecting the service could run into the tens of millions of dollars. It faces an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) into how it has run its operation. It is being sued by former members whose identities were disclosed in a massive data breach. It admits using computer generated “fembots” to bring in male users, though the fembot program has been killed since. Ashley Madison really never had many female users. It is unimaginable that women would change their behavior and sign up by the hundreds of thousands in the future. So male members will get to look for women who are not there.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Ashley Madison has 46 million members now, compared to 40 million before the hack. Those numbers aren’t substantiated. Millions or even tens of millions of these members may be inactive, leaving in question whether Ashley Madison has a participating member base of any size at all.

The Journal also reports that Ashley Madison will have revenue of $80 million this year, down from $109 million before the hack. Once again, new management does offers no proof of the number. The claim teeters on the edge of believability.

Too many cheaters have learned their lesson. A name, and other data, given to a company built around cheating is a risk not worth taking. The breach in Ashley Madison’s database ruined too many lives, and in some cases ruined them publicly. Better to cheat the old-fashioned way, in hotels where guests can pay in cash, and where the primary risk is a being spotted by a private detective.