'We continue to deliver on a need in society,' Ashley Madison ...

16 May 2024

The Toronto-based website was founded in 2001, amassing 37 million users globally by the time it was hacked nine years ago. (Courtesy: Netflix)

Netflix just dropped a new three-part documentary about the 2015 data breach that rocked married dating website Ashley Madison, but its chief strategy officer says the platform has been revolutionized since then.

Ashley Madison - Figure 1
Photo NOW Magazine

The Toronto-based website was founded in 2001, amasing 37 million users globally by the time it was hacked nine years ago.

The highly publicized breach led to the release of names and personal information of Ashley Madison users around the world.

A Netflix documentary, entitled Ashley Madison: Sex Lies and Scandal addresses the lack of security measures that were in place in the lead up to the hack, with many senior members openly admitting on camera they were simply hoping a data breach would never occur. 

The website survived the hack and has since made a concerted effort to rebrand and rebuild by prioritizing security, moving away from secrecy, and catering to all types of romantic relationships, according to Paul Keable, chief strategy officer for Ashley Madison.

“Following the events of 2015, we knew if we wanted to remain in business, we had to rebuild the trust with our members. That started by bringing a new perspective to security and privacy, which is a fundamental part of every aspect of our business,” he told Now Toronto in an email statement on Wednesday.

In 2024, 20 per cent of Ashley Madison’s membership are couples in a disclosed non-monogamous relationship (DNR), which means their primary partner knows about their activities and has consented to being in an open relationship. 

Keable says the discretion Ashley Madison offers to these couples is attractive, particularly for the ones venturing into non-monogamy for the first time.

“For many of our DNR members, they are looking to explore non-monogamy after being in a traditional monogamous relationship for many years, and they’d prefer to do so with a level of privacy as they don’t want their neighbours, family, or colleagues to be aware of their private pursuits,” he explained.

Since 2015, 50 million people have joined Ashley Madison, which Keable says is a sign that the platform continues to “deliver on a need in society.”

Despite its beginnings as a website advertised to engage in extramarital relationships without the knowledge of your partner, Keable says Ashley Madison has matured into a platform that caters to a complex range of needs among married couples.

“Each member comes with their own unique motivations, including those seeking a compassionate affair–where the health of a member’s primary partner prevents them from being able to deliver on their relationship commitments- to couples exploring the world of non-monogamy, and so much more,” Keable concluded.

Rachel Goodman

Writer / Reporter

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