Previously, we’ve told you about the great work Gizmodo has done data-mining the Ashley Madison hack, which proved there were almost no women actively browsing the site and that many of those few accounts in the first place were generated in-house. But it turns out there’s more to the story; most of those women were not only fake accounts, they were robots designed to make the site’s millions of male customers think women were actively talking to them.
The numbers in Gizmodo’s new round of research really say it all: More than 70,000 fembots sent more than 20 million emails to male members and chatted with customers more than 11 million times. Furthermore, the site’s source code indicates that the entire idea was to have these bots constantly engaging the men, making them believe sex was just around the corner, when in fact the site appears to have barely any female clientele.
Ashley Madison does appear to have delivered in one area: Helping gay people hook up. The site’s robots left the women seeking women and men seeking men alone, and gay profiles weren’t shown to straight people. Oddly, though, only “attached” people could look for a same-sex affair.
As to why the site would do this, well, their revenue nearly doubled when they turned the bots loose. The lesson you should take from all this, beyond the fact that cheating on your spouse is dumb, is that you should look closely at any product and what it actually offers. Ashley Madison wasn’t selling sex, after all… they were selling the promise of sex, and that was enough to rake in the cash, at least for a while.