Being fed by us you used us so
As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo’s bird,
Useth the sparrow. - William Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV (V, i)
You’ve got to admire Noel Biderman’s marketing skill; year after year, he repeatedly manages to get credulous journalists to run the equivalent of full-page (or even multi-page) ads for his sleazy dating service, Ashley Madison, for free. And how does he accomplish this? By disguising them as newsworthy stories, like this one from early June:
According to AshleyMadison.com, many dads will be spending Father’s Day with children they didn’t spawn…the dating site, which targets married people looking to cheat on their spouses, surveyed 102,137 of its philandering female members about whether or not they had ever become pregnant with another man’s child and passed the baby off as their husband’s. Nine percent admitted that they had done so, and that their husbands are not aware of it. An additional 16 percent admitted that they’re not positive about who fathered one or more of their kids. And among the women in those two groups, 72.4 percent revealed that it’s their youngest child whose father is in question…the day after Father’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the site — possibly because of these paternity issues…We’re not quite sure what to make of these findings, but we do know one thing: Ashley Madison sure is making a name for itself in…infidelity “research”…
Well, at least the HuffPo staff writer had the particle of skepticism necessary to put the word “research” in scare quotes. One could do a full-length academic paper on the problems with this “study”, not the least of which is that it’s highly doubtful Ashley Madison has over 100,000 unique married female human members who would truthfully answer such a survey in the first place; it’s also difficult to imagine an entity more biased toward certain research outcomes, except perhaps Melissa Farley’s “Prostitution Research and Education”.
It used to be that only rags like HuffPo (which does not pay for most of its content) would print nakedly self-serving rubbish like this, but that was before Biderman developed his skill at producing highly questionable “data” to trafficking-fetishist like levels, the better to slip his advertising eggs into the nests of clueless journalists:
We all know the stereotype of people who use AshleyMadison.com…Sleazy guys, who vastly outnumber women on the site. Turns out that’s changing, according to a new set of user data provided to Business Insider by Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman…Among users under 35, women and men are now split 50-50…There are still more men than women on the site, but…the proportion of single women looking for married lovers — 28% — is far greater than that of single men…New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day bring the most new signups. ”Those days are litmus tests for how you feel about your family,” Biderman says…
How generous of him to “provide” this no doubt totally accurate, peer-reviewed, independently-audited data! Incidentally, I’m rather proud of my part in creating that “stereotype”, which has received roughly 40,000 page views so far. And here’s my official theory on those “under 35” figures: if there’s any truth to it at all (a shaky possibility at best), most of ‘em are escorts and would-be sugar babies. Anyway, take a look at that article, festooned with tasteful AM graphics like the one at right, and marvel at Biderman’s supervillain-like genius in being able to sell this pig to a business magazine as an informative article rather than being charged for it as a featured ad. And then wonder, given the subject of the first “planted” article above, if he isn’t having a private laugh at reporters presenting his literary offspring as their own.
My sincere thanks to Contact a CEO for calling these articles to my attention; this isn’t the first time they’ve tipped me off on Biderman’s shenanigans, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!