Ashley Madison is a casual dating website that makes extra marital affairs possible for people. They started their operations in 2002 in Canada. Now they offer their dating services in USA, UK, Australia apart from Canada. Ashley Madison has always been a controversial but immensely successful dating service. They have over 7 million people using their website across 9 countries. Their slogan is ‘Life is Short, Have an Affair’ and people apparently are following suit because, according to Ashley Madison, their Canadian members have grown 79% year-on-year. More surprisingly newlywed women are signing up as members in large numbers. The number of new brides looking for an affair and who signed up, tripled in a year, going up 291% in a single year. Canadian cities, Montreal, Windsor, Ontario, the Greater Toronto Area and Halifax have seen huge jumps in signups from Canada. Montreal and Windsor have seen the largest increases in memberships. Apart from Canada Ashley Madison is available in USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland and plans to be available across Europe soon.
Ashley Madison’s presence in Canada has not been without controversy. Last year, a contestant in the Miss Universe Canada pageant was dropped from the contest after it was revealed that she had been part of a commercial for Ashley Madison. 20-year-old Gatineau woman Sophie Froment, a University of Ottawa law student featured in an Ashley Madison commercial wearing very little and six months later was in the running for Miss Universe Canada where she had to sign a document saying she had never had any pictures taken in the buff. After the videos were revealed, she was asked to resign. When she didn’t, she was dismissed.
While there were rumors that this was a publicity stunt by Ashley Madison, Noel Biderman explained that they had in fact turned down a request by Sophie Froment to sponsor her Miss Universe Canada effort. He also pointed out that her endorsement of Ashley Madison and her entry in the contest was six months apart.
Ashley Madison tried to sponsor Toronto Transit Commission’s streetcars offering $200,000 for ads on 10 streetcars besides subsidizing the fare to the extent of 50 cents for each passenger. After some deliberation, Toronto Transit Commission turned him down. According to Councillor Joe Mihevc, one of six TTC commissioners who sit on its advertising review committee, the ads ‘violate a basic community standard’. Despite not being allowed to advertise, Joe Biderman said Ashley Madison had got their money’s worth due to the extensive media coverage in the days leading to the decision.