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In Living

AshleyMadison.com is a Web site catering to married / attached people looking for "a little on the side."

In Living

Though men outnumber women on the site by a 3-1 margin, the ratio for "active" members is closer to 1-1.

A Web site that helps scratch the 'seven-year itch'


March may be cold, but it's hot and heavy here at OnMilwaukee.com as we celebrate our first-ever Sex Week. We're taking a mature look at local video and sex toy shops, area strip clubs, sexy Milwaukee events -- and even some connections between Brew City and Playboy magazine. It's serious, responsible, adult-themed content -- but don't worry, parents, we'll keep it PG-13 in case junior stumbles upon these stories as OnMilwaukee.com turns a pale shade of blue for seven days.

At a time when businesses and industries are downsizing and collapsing, Noel Biderman is happy to be involved with a growing, bustling enterprise.

In good times and bad, it seems, adultery never goes out of style.

Biderman, a 38-year-old lawyer and former sports agent, is the president and chief operating officer of Avid Life Media and has been dubbed "The King of Infidelity" because his Web site,
AshleyMadison.com, is a dating service designed for people who are married and / or attached.

"When we were researching this site and doing our due diligence, we found that 30 percent of people on traditional singles sites were attached and using the anonymity of the Web to lie about their marital status," Biderman said during a recent interview.

"Most of our clients aren't seeking a new relationship. They are seeking the the physical intimacy lacking in their current relationship."

Business has been booming.

"It took us almost six years to get our first 1 million users," Biderman said. "Then, we added 2.4 million in the last year and a half."

An aggressive marketing campaign -- slogans include "Life is short; have an affair" and "When monogamy becomes monotony" -- coupled with numerous mentions by Howard Stern on his radio program, helped prime the pump for AshleyMadison.com's success. When NBC officials decided not to allow AshleyMadison.com to advertise during the Super Bowl, Biderman -- who is happily married with two children -- made the rounds on talk shows and membership increased again.

When the Parents Television Council urged media outlets to refuse advertising dollars from AshleyMadison.com, Biderman pointed to an ad for "Guitar Hero" that featured swimmer Michael Phelps (marijuana), baseball player Alex Rodriguez (steroids) and basketball star Kobe Bryant, whose 2005 sexual assault case was settled out of court.

Biderman argues that he is not "creating" adultery, which has been around a lot longer than the Internet. His goal, he says, is not to create "cheaters" with 30-second commercials but to serve a huge market that already exists.

When Biderman really gets rolling, he'll point out that AshleyMadison.com could be considered a "safe alternative" to workplace affairs, which can cost jobs, lying about marital status on other Web sites or visiting prostitutes.

"Physical intimacy is no different than requiring oxygen to breathe or water to drink," Biderman said. "If it's missing in your relationship, I don't care who you are, president of the United States or the prince of England, you're going to step outside your relationship. That's the bottom line."

Despite being shut out of the Super Bowl, the buzz about AshleyMadison.com continues advertise on other outlets and grow via old-fashioned word of mouth and the newer, viral manners associated with the Web.

"It's gone from 'This doesn't happen in my neighborhood and to my friends,' to, 'Hey, did you hear about this? Did you see that commercial?' '' Biderman said. "It has been semi-viral, in a way. These things pick momentum."

Biderman said that nearly 75 percent of his clients are male. He competes with a handful of other sites, including AdultFriendFinder.com, MarriedDateClub.com and even Craigslist.org.

"The difference with our site is that it's credit-based," he said. "It's driven by life's circumstances."

Instead of paying a monthly fee, members put money into a debit account and pay only when they interact with other users. For roughly $50, users receive 100 "credits," which can be used to open mail queries from interested members or to send "gifts" to people whose profiles spark interest. (The site sells 500 credits for $149 and 1,000 for $249 -- the latter package comes with a "money-back guarantee" that you will have an affair.

Biderman says his site is profitable, but will not state how many users are "just browsing" and how many fork over money to actually meet fellow members.

Given the copycat culture of the Web, Biderman knows that competitors will be coming. But, he's not particularly worried.

"There will probably some thin-slicing, like everything else on the Web," he said. "There may be segments for MILFs or sugar daddys or things like that. But, if someone thinks they can do it better, all I can say is 'Good luck.' When you think about it, there are thousands of sites on the Web that show videos, but there is only one YouTube."

Though his company is based in Canada, Biderman has customers in each of the 50 states, including several in Wisconsin.

"As you'd expect, we have big numbers in New York and California," he said. "But, we're also huge in Cleveland, South Florida, Atlanta and other places where we haven't done a lot of direct marketing."


Talkbacks

FindNewPassion.com | June 21, 2010 at 1:47 p.m. (report)

Is it realistic to make a promise I will love you until death do us part? Famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy who is considered an expert in understanding human feelings and relationships between people in general and man and woman in specific, in his novella The Kreutzer Sonata said: To say that you can love one person all your life is just like saying that one candle will continue burning as long as you live. Are you married, but not dead? Interested in discreet married dating? Welcome to FindNewPassion.com - premiere dating website for married and singles. Join free - thousands of members around the world are waiting for you. http://www.FindNewPassion.com

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BrewCityTimmy | March 12, 2009 at 10:04 a.m. (report)

When did sex become a need? You can live a quite fulfilling life without ever having sex. I married my bride because I love her not so I could have a consistent sex outlet. If you just view your significant other only as a sex outlet then you have bigger issues than just perusing some website for people willing to drag the bottom of the barrel for a hook up. If you arent getting some go get some counseling, take your wife on a date, or bring her some flowers when you havent done something stupid. If you are married and not having regular sex something is out of whack in the relationship. Do something to fix it! Going on some stupid website is like throwing duct tape on a pipe that burst in the basement and expecting it to make things better.

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brewergal1978 | March 11, 2009 at 9:59 a.m. (report)

Oh please. I find this website loathsome as much as anyone, but infidelity has been around since the dawn of time and will continue long after this website. Someone who really wants to cheat will find a way to do it with or without help from the internet.

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Crash | March 10, 2009 at 7:45 p.m. (report)

Beware of the scams on this site. Don't think you can just arrange a tryst so easily... You could make a date to meet someone and end up getting mugged...

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lcat | March 10, 2009 at 4:52 p.m. (report)

why are you promoting infidelity? don't get it!!?? that site's gross!

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