I worked at Ashley Madison from 2008-2013. AMA.
I worked as a department manager for AshleyMadison.com from 2008-2013. I am happy to provide proof however I'd rather not specifically state what department I was in! I have lots of insane stories. AMA.
Edit: Verified by the mods.
Edit 2: Phew, need to take a break to eat! Trying to answer as many as I can to the best of my ability. Thanks!!
Edit 3: I'm tired and I feel like I'm just talking in circles. I guess I can't convince everyone I'm not a shill. I was just trying to answer honestly and to the best of my knowledge with a dash of humour. I started this AMA today because I wanted to share MY side of the story. I'm Canadian, the company is Canadian and maybe that's why I seem "perky" in my answers. At least I know I'm real and have genuine intention.
Thank you for all the great questions and I hope at the very least, you learned something useful or interesting. And thanks for all the mean comments too. They're good, but they're not Westboro Baptist Church good. Those guys really know how to use religious guilt against their enemies. Fortunately I'm an atheist so I'm already going to hell and my time at AM just gave me a premium bed right next to Satan himself. ;) Good night, Reddit!
In all honesty, it was one of the best companies I've ever worked for. They treated their employees very well - full benefits, salary pay for ALL positions (no matter how menial) and protection. Because of the nature of the business we received death threats daily and they took every single one seriously.
The morality of the company was something I personally struggled with, mainly because it's an x-rated site and seeing penises and vaginas 500 times a day became a little unnerving after a few years.
The sad truth is, there are a lot of lonely people in the world and we spent a lot of time just listening to our customers' woes. It was easier for me personally to justify my employment there because I genuinely felt like we were in some weird way helping these people. Most of them just really wanted someone to talk to.
Have your feelings about the company's ethics changed since you left?
Not at all. We were providing a service, plain and simple. Not everyone using the site was married and not everyone was hiding their profiles from spouses. Lots of couples joined together to find other couples or a third person to join. Because every person's story was different, I could never judge the company for the actions of thousands of people. I actually miss working there - it was the most non-judgemental atmosphere I've ever been a part of.
why did you stop working there then if you loved it so much? not trying to be sarcastic or an asshole, just curious.
I got offered my dream job and debated long and hard but it was actually my boss at Ashley Madison who encouraged me to go out and follow my dreams. I also have a standing invitation to go back and work for them anytime. :)
This person still works there...
Agreed. Their "dream job" was doing marketing work... for AM.
Again. Nope! The marketing team at AM was one of the best in the world and they don't need my help. I'm sorry I'm not a disgruntled former employee who is telling you the terrible things about the company that you seem to want to hear. I had a great time working there and while they're FAR from a perfect company, I really can't logically say things that just aren't true. I mean we had a serious problem with people leaving their leftover food in the communal fridge for way too long but that's really the extent of "company drama."
So far I've learned that Ashley Madison:
The best marketing people ever.
The best management ever.
The best tech people on the planet.
That she would bet that some vindictive wives hacked the website, not an inside job.
The hackers are lying about them not actually fully deleting stuff.
This person is sure that they'll have it fixed shortly.
How the fuck is this not a fake AMA... It is all deflecting and flowery bullshit to say about AM. Anyways, it is obvious their marketing, and/or tech guys aren't "the best in the workd"...
You're right. The thing is, this is MY opinion of a company I used to work for. I had a good experience, despite the madness of the circumstances. My co-workers were a bunch of mad geniuses, because who else would work for a company that promotes infidelity? It was such a bizarre work environment, unlike anything I've ever experienced and my intention for this AMA was to simply share my stories and impressions of a company that gets a load of crap thrown at them. Some of it is deserved, I just personally feel this recent "hack" is yet another circumstance in a long (and not always publicized) trend that we as employees dealt with daily. If every death threat made against my co-workers made the news, maybe I wouldn't have wanted to do this AMA. I may be cavalier in my responses, but these people were like family and I remember the stress we felt when things like this happen. That's really all it is. Just my voice in a sea of voices. I had hoped my pragmatic responses came across that way but I'm by no means claiming AM is the best company of all the companies.
If I was a PR spokesperson for them, I'd be doing a terrible job as you clearly stated. :)
Haha nope. My AM life is far behind me which is the only reason I'm here in the first place.
Define protection? Did they hand out condoms to employees?
Protection as in we'd receive death threats constantly and every single one was taken seriously. Every employee was listened to, we made extensive notes on every detail of customer interaction and the management never said "oh, don't worry, they're not ACTUALLY going to come and kill you and your family." They would get police and lawyers involved and made sure the office was secured 24/7.
I apologize for my attempt at humor; I honestly never considered death threats against the employees as a possibility. What would spawn the threats? People worried their affairs were not confidential?
Haha it's ok. I figured it was a joke but thought I should answer anyway. The death threats were from one of two kinds of people: wives who caught their husbands using the site OR just random religious crazies. Like "I'm going to blow up your office and laugh while watching all of your staff burn in hell. Jesus hates you." You know, those sweet little messages that made us feel all warm and fuzzy. ;)
Looking at this recent hacking, do you think that the customers are really "cheating douchebags" or whatever the hackers claim, or is it more single people trying to get some any way they can and/or people in an open relationship?
Also, what's the male to female ratio like? I imagine around 5,000 to 1?
Haha I couldn't tell you the exact ratio but you're probably close. We had WAY more men than women. The men on the site were exactly what you'd expect - horny, middle aged, sexually deprived and willing to do/pay anything for the affair of a lifetime. Poor guys, I always felt bad for them. The legitimate women on the site (we like every dating site had a huge problem with fraud/scammers/cam girls) were mostly single, looking for older married men. Lots of women looking for sugar daddies. We also got a lot of couples, looking to add a third person or another couple to their mix. As the site became more and more popular, I saw a lot more married woman making their way to us but they were far more careful than the men. The men would join, post a picture of their dick and then call two hours later screaming "why has no one messaged me?!?!?!" The delusion was off the charts. I had to explain at least five times a day that sending women pictures of your dick is literally the WORST first impression you can make. 9 times out of 10 they still didn't get it and would just go upload MORE dick pics.
Overall it was a healthy mix of people in a number of circumstances. We had one guy I'll always remember. His wife was in an accident and stuck in a wheelchair, unable to do anything. She forced him to join the site and encouraged him to find a woman he could have sex with. He ended up finding partners that would last a couple years at a time and it worked very well for them. The big thing I learned was to never, ever judge. You can't possibly understand every person's reason for being there and things aren't always what they seem.
Can you please respond to this part of the story in particular?
In a long manifesto posted alongside the stolen ALM data, The Impact Team said it decided to publish the information in response to alleged lies ALM told its customers about a service that allows members to completely erase their profile information for a $19 fee.
According to the hackers, although the “full delete” feature that Ashley Madison advertises promises “removal of site usage history and personally identifiable information from the site,” users’ purchase details — including real name and address — aren’t actually scrubbed.
“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the hacking group wrote. “Users almost always pay with credit card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include real name and address, which is of course the most important information the users want removed.”
Thanks, you seem like you know what you're talking about. Is this part true?
Nope. This is the funniest part to me. The whole reason the Full Delete option was introduced is because simply deleting your profile didn't remove your information from our back end. If someone purchases the Full Delete option, we had NO record of them in our system. It was literally like you never existed on the site or our back end. It's actually a great service for customers but was annoying for us because suddenly information disappeared on us and we couldn't get it back.
The problem is people are idiots and create multiple accounts under multiple emails. So it only deletes the profile you pay to delete.
Do you know Trevor Stokes, ALM's CTO? How about Mark Steele, Director of Security? Any thoughts on how extensive the hack actually is, as opposed to what's being claimed by The Impact Team? Have you been in touch with anybody inside the company to get a damage report?
No, I don't know either of those men but truthfully, even if I did I wouldn't say so here! As I haven't worked for ALM in several years, it is not my place to comment on their current security practices or speculate who is behind the hack. I will say that the programmers and developers at ALM are some of the greatest people I've ever met in my life and everyone over there is worried about protecting the customers' privacy. They have dealt with FAR worse than some small time hackers in the past and this will be resolved quickly and efficiently. In MY OPINION this is the work of a bitter spouse (or group of bitter spouses) of an affair gone wrong. If it's anything else, I will gladly accept it but my gut tells me it is just someone with too much time on their hands. The ALM team are beasts and won't go down without a fight.
What percentage of the female users on Ashley Madison are real and not bots?
I would say 50/50. The bots are so easy to spot though, we had a full time fraud department to shut them down but damn, cam girls are persistent. There were obvious flags - be wary of single 21 year old girls who look like they came from a Maxim photo shoot. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Cam girls never put personal info in their profiles, the real women do.
Having seen some of taboo aspects of human nature when it comes to monogamy, would you ever get married?
I am married. The only thing it really changed my perspective on was sex in a marriage. It's so important to have a healthy sex life with your spouse, if you choose to be monogamous. Being monogamous shouldn't mean no one's getting laid. I don't ever remember seeing anyone on the site who was looking for a secret affair that also said they had a happy sex life at home. Every profile was the same... "My wife/husband doesn't like/want sex but I do..."
It's actually heartbreaking. People don't WANT to cheat, it happens out of necessity.
Would you ever consider using such a site yourself?
No. I would never pay for online dating! That was probably my only issue - forcing people to pay. In this day and age, there's SO many free dating sites (which actually most of our married members also belonged to, so what does that say about the quality of people on "singles" sites?) that do the same thing. The only benefit I could see is that we would protect our members' privacy more so than a free dating site. When wives called demanding information, we were all trained on how to deflect and avoid. We had to change the billing name for people's credit card statements every few weeks because people would find out and post it online. Like "if you see a charge on your husband's credit card that says 'Joe's Internet Cafe', that's Ashley Madison."
did you ever date one of the accounts for free?
Haha no! I guess I could have if I really wanted to but it never occurred to me. I kind of enjoyed creeping the swingers' profiles. Couples who swing are awesome people.
Would you share a fun story of a crazy wife ? Who do you believe acts worse when they find out their SO is cheating, men or women?
Women, by far. They went crazy. It's hard to choose just one memorable story because (no exaggeration) we'd get at least one legitimately crazy wife harassing us every single day. I was called every name in the book. I had people threaten to blow up our office, kill my family, etc. It was terrifying.
Mainly the wives were pissed because we refused to confirm what they already knew. They'd have proof and beg us to just say "yes, he's on our site and yes he paid for a membership." But we never compromised our members' privacy.
It sadly ruined my impression of a lot of women, even being a woman myself. 99.9% of their madness could be solved by sitting down and talking to their spouses. Some women sent in pictures of their kids to try and make us feel bad. One woman had her young child (he sounded about 4 years old) call us to tell us we'd ruined his family.
Never had a woman finding out where your offices are and pay a visit?
Oh sure, all the time. But the building we worked at had access cards, security guards at the entrance AND our main office door was locked and required a key or someone to buzz you in. Even the elevator needed an access card to work. They never made it past the front entrance, thank God! It wasn't hard to see the raging woman a mile away so the security guys were always on top of it.
We were also open/operating 24 hours a day and some employees had overnight shifts. It always stressed me out, worrying about them being in the office alone at night but knowing how many security measures were in place helped ease my mind. In all my years there, we never had a breach of security. From my understanding the security has been increased even more since I was there.
Are you touching your boobs?
Always. If you had boobs, wouldn't you?? ;)
Aw, that's too bad. They're so soft and bouncy, I quite enjoy it. You're missing out!
Do you have any idea of the success rate of the married men who used your site? Lots of dating sites can have men send out dozens of responses and end up empty handed.
It's true. Ahh, this is fun, so many memories are coming back to me. Here's the thing. Men on dating sites tend to be completely unrealistic. Most men expect the women to do all the work. It's like they think "hey I'm just going to put up a picture of my dick and my jacked up arms, write "sup ladies' in every section of my profile and just wait for the hotties to roll in." It doesn't work like that in real life and it doesn't work online either. 65 year old men would call and complain that none of the 19 year old models they wrote to replied. It's never fun having to crush a man's soul by saying "maybe try messaging a 40 year old one time and just see what happens..." They just refuse to accept that the 19 year old model might not want them.
I felt really bad for women over 40 on the site. They were invisible. But they were always the most wild and adventurous.
If men are honest, open, willing to talk to women before asking them to fuck, post ANYTHING other than dick pics (no, putting your dick besides rulers, beer cans, pop bottles or any other inanimate object you feel the need to compare your dick size to is NOT a turn on for any woman anywhere) is a pretty easy way to get the most out of any dating site. You have to put some work into it, just like real life.
I wish people understood that a dating site can't fix crazy.
But seriously guys, stop sending pics of your dick to random women on the internet. I've seen it happen a million times and not once has it worked or resulted in any interest from a woman. Just stop.
Did it ever bother you that the site was made for people wanting to have an affair? I mean personal opinions can't interfere with your job but was it ever a conscious thing that gnawed at you?
Nah. Maybe it should have but I mainly felt bad for the customers. They were all just looking for something they weren't getting at home. We were the last resort. I didn't want to make anyone feel worse than they already did.
How do they justify making people pay to delete data? Shouldn't that be free?
If you delete your profile, your profile is removed from the public site. Because of the nature of the business, we kept detailed records of customer accounts because sometimes law enforcement would ask for it. Plus, for our loyal customers it helps to be able to pull up information easily when they call/email in. Every site does it, I hate to break it to you. If you give them information, they may very well keep it.
The Full Delete is mainly for the people who give the site their credit card info and therefore get overly paranoid about their spouses finding out and demanding we wipe them from our system. The thing is, it actually DOES wipe you entirely from the system, just as advertised. So if you're that paranoid, it's $19 well spent.
And you don't have to pay to delete your profile. You can do it for free anytime. But if you want to take your privacy to the next level, pay the $19 and all traces of you on the site are gone forever, including your credit card and name. Even if you wanted us to find your old profile, we wouldn't be able to.
For people who just do the regular delete, they can have their profiles reinstated if they want. Full Delete can't. You're dead to us. :)
we kept the records for LE
we delete them for real tho
sorry officer, can't provide it cuz he paid the $19 LOL
also, your entire website is apparently running on no backups. or you modify your backups in the past to delete the one record (you don't)
I was a mid-level employee. If they were secretly harbouring these profiles after people paid to delete them then they did a very good job of hiding it from us. I am sure deep down in the servers you'll find every profile that ever existed if the cops require seeing it. But if you're a husband who fucked 10 women you met on the site, paid to delete your profile and then your wife calls to pester us for details? As far as we're concerned he never existed and that's what we will tell her.
Beyond my job description, I can't say what the overlords do with the millions of deleted profiles and frankly, no one cared until this recent "hacking" came out. Last I checked there was roughly 10 million active profiles and twice as many deleted ones. It was a massive system.
Why do The Impact Team hackers think that Full Delete is not being performed as advertised? It must be difficult to put yourself in the mindset of a crazy criminal, but give it a shot.
I truly have no idea. In my opinion it was one of the best features the site introduced. But as I stated elsewhere, it only deletes the profile you request to be deleted. If you have ten other profiles using the same or different emails, they'll stay still be there unless you tell us about them too. Most people with half a brain create one profile and know they only created one. If you and your buddies create 50 profiles at 3am one night when you're wasted and expect us to be able to find and delete every single one, it's not going to happen. Or it may take us a little while longer to find them all and remove them for you. I would say the hackers are people who created multiple profiles, paid to delete one of them and then got pissed because they have multiple other accounts they forgot about. There's no criminal masterminding going on here.
How did working for the company affect your personal relationships?
I was married for a couple years before working there and am still married to that same person today! He loved the stories I came home with. It was never an issue, quite honestly.
Ashley Madison is currently in the news because a security breach allowed a group to access the confidential personal information of the users on the site. They're holding the site hostage saying "pay us, or we'll dox all your users".
What are your thoughts on this incident?
Was security lax?
The news is reporting that it was likely an employee. Were employees treated poorly there? Why do you think they'd do this?
Do you have any idea who it might be?
I have no idea who it could be or any reasoning behind it. I haven't worked there in a couple of years and employees come and go.
Security was always priority number one. It was all fun and games to be the company that promotes cheating but ultimately, it was more of a headache for us to be lax on security and have 100 angry wives calling us every five seconds. If you put your info on any website, you're taking a bit of a risk right?
I wouldn't dare speculate on who is responsible for the hack but when I read the article this morning my gut reaction was "Great, the bitter wives brigade has done it again." I haven't looked in years but there used to be many sites dedicated to bringing us down. Groups of women would band together and "help" women catch their husbands on the site and encourage them to ruin the lives of anyone who went near us. We'd always find them and the lawyers would get their sites shut down but they'd come back just as fast elsewhere.
Of course, I may be biased because the angry wives were always the cruelest, most vindictive and by far the most vocal. I can't imagine any employee being THAT mad. The company was amazing. They paid well, provided full benefits, lots of fun employee incentives, etc.
You say that women/wives often freaked out on you the most-
Any interesting stories of men/husbands who had a bone to pick with you or the company?
Not really. It's weird, I always felt like the men must be finding their wives on the site like women are finding their husbands but maybe men are less likely to admit it out loud? Women get vindictive. I get the feeling men would just up and leave the wife and be done with it. The women drag it out. They want to know every sordid detail.
I sense that a man would not want to call into the site and admit their wife may be cheating on them. Is it a masculinity thing, I don't know. Perhaps a man could answer that better.
Also, women were a little smarter about it. They'd take the conversations off the site immediately and therefore out of our "realm" of influence.
What is your favorite dinosaur?
Brontosaurus. I feel like they just GET IT.
Craziest thing that happened?
Every day was crazy. I mentioned it in another reply but probably the woman who had her young son call us to tell us we ruined his family was the most memorable. It was strange to hear a 4 year old kid screaming about his daddy having sex with another woman and how it was all our fault that mommy was crying. I always hated that mom. Leave your kids out of it and talk to your husband. I'm pretty sure the damage done by his mother that day is far worse than his dad getting one night of sexual release. It definitely gave me more compassion for men who aren't getting laid.
As a paid site, how are there still bots? How does it profit someone to pay for bot accounts?
Bots is what we called cam girls. Some porn companies would literally create thousands of female profiles at a time and we'd spend the next three weeks furiously deleting them all. They're bots (or we called them bots) because they're not technically real but they weren't made by AM. The biggest problem is these bots trying to take traffic to their sites. It's a problem on ALL dating sites, not just AM.
Wouldn't they have to pay for those profiles though?
Nope, anybody can create a fake/free profile. They then put "hey check out my live cam at whatever.com" in their profile so every guy who sees the profile will see that text. People also tried to sneak in their email addresses and phone numbers into their profiles to try and get around paying. It's free to join and look at profiles. They only charge if you want to start a conversation.
You mentioned that you felt bad for most of the men on the site because they were lacking sex and it was like it became a necessity that's why they did this, but how can you justify that need if that could possibly mean running a marriage or breaking another persons heart? You've said there are mostly women that go crazy on you but think of it from their perspective too. What if the wife has been struggling with work and stressed and trying to fix the relationship then suddenly finds out that her husband has been cheating on her this entire time? I'm a woman and I'd definitely go nuts. In the heat of it all she may resort to find ways to punish someone. I'm not saying her actions are the best but in respect to women, they have the right to get mad.
Phew. That's a lot of potential "what ifs". I can't possibly answer that without personal bias. Here's the thing: because everyone who worked there had no huge issue with affairs, we treated our customers with the same respect. If they wanted to share their stories, we listened. If they wanted to scream at the top of their lungs about how we're going to burn in hell or how they planned to kill our families, we put up with it. I cried many, many times while working there. People can be very cruel. So IF I had any personal feelings about a certain person's situation, it didn't do anybody any good for me to get on my high horse. Nobody is perfect. People are in a lot of pain and it broke my heart. As a human being, it made me more compassionate towards our individual plights.
What would you say the main difference between AM and other dating sites is?
Privacy. That's why this recent hacking worried me. Everybody who is interviewed for a job goes through several phases of intense questioning. How do you feel about marriage? How comfortable are you with seeing nudity? Are you ok with having your life threatened every day? Every potential scenario is laid out and so everyone who was hired had no moral issue with affairs. It wasn't our job to judge, it was our job to make sure anyone who joined the site could enjoy it without fear of being caught. I worked for a regular dating site before I worked at Ashley Madison and nobody gave any fucks about the customers. Take the money and run. But with Ashley Madison, it required constant customer protection. When it came to publicity, we were all about it. No press is bad press. But if someone calls asking for information about a particular account? You have to be able to correctly answer about 10 privacy questions before you get anywhere. I don't care how hard you're crying, if you can't confirm your childhood dog's name and your great aunt's city of birth, forget about it.
Who was the biggest skank on the site?
Your mom, obviously. Edit: spelling
Why did you stop working for Ashley Madison in 2013?
It was a tough decision but I was offered another job (in my dream profession) so I decided to take a chance. I do miss it occasionally but they were very supportive in my decision to my follow my own career dreams.
Do you have any tales of heartbreak, legends of love or comedic coincidences that you could tell us?
I wouldn't say the average casual affair ended up in a love story but swingers... swingers did VERY well always. Group orgy planning was another fun thing to see happen. The best stories were from people who had affairs and it ended up making their marriages better/stronger (according to them). It sounds bizarre, but for some people it works.
Oh and there were at least five major celebrities active on the site. Let's just say Bret Michaels is a very sexually adventurous guy. ;)
No one asked why your AMA name is ImTouchingMyBoobs?
Because this is my second/secret Reddit account and I like touching my boobs. I thought I was being funny but I guess not. I made it over a year ago and I made it so I could comment on a post about vibrators. I'm enjoying that everyone thinks I'm an AM or Reddit shill though. I'm flattered, but sadly it's not true. I'm just a regular morally-inept person who at one time worked for a company that I personally don't feel deserves all the shit they get. I know nothing I say will convince you but I'm truly not a fake/shill. If you want to PM me, I'd be happy to try and prove myself more to you but I'm afraid you're already convinced. :)
I've often seen ads for Ashley Madison on various torrent websites, and as popup ads on streaming sites. I've always wondered how people even get a job at a company like that. Care to fill us in?
It was advertised in the local paper like any other job! They warned me well before the interview that it was Ashley Madison so I knew what I was getting into. I believe the ad just said "online dating site" and we only told people it was for Ashley Madison once they'd been cleared for an interview.
What is a department manager? Sounds like a title for someone working at Wal-Mart.
It means I managed a department within many departments of a multi-million dollar corporation. So yes, it was kind of like Wal-mart I guess. I am doing this anonymously so I'm choosing to leave out details. :)
Almost if not more than half of married families are broken, and anyone working for AM is there to encourage the idea to cheat. If they weren't encouraging people to cheat, AM wouldn't even exist. Your Job and company is a cancer to our world.
Question. How do you feel, knowing that even though you made one persons night, probably one of the best of his/her life, but destroyed a family in the mean time? Is a pay check for you that maybe gets you through a couple weeks worth knowing you potentially separated a family?
Broken families are destroying our society. I seen on here in a comment about a 4 yr old calling AM yelling that you ruined his family, and all you can say is "kids shouldn't get involved." --- Just FYI, When a family breaks up, the kid is more involved than you know. He/She is in the middle of it, with very little understanding as to why everything is happening the way they are. Many children who grow up in broken homes don't make it far, and have more life issues than a child who grew up in a stable family environment.
My intention wasn't to come here to bash you, OP. But coming from a broken home and a rough upbringing due to one unfaithful parent, I want you to re-analyse your outlook on your time at AM.
Nothing I say can fix what happened to you and your family in your life. I'm sorry for your situation, I really am. Affairs are shitty, but it's not my place to judge people OR justify their actions.
What is your opinion of the business in general? Did you have any problems with the ethics of being involved in a company like this? Was it at least well-run from a business standpoint?
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