Ashley Madison Reboots After ‘Fembots’ Scandal

After being discovered to have used “fembots” in order to lure unsuspecting men into continuing their subscription for the website, Ashley Madison has a lot of convincing to do.

The first task was to appoint a new CEO and president in the name of Rob Segal and James Millership, respectively. The two new execs of Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison, have reportedly ordered across-the-board changes in company culture and direction.

Millership said that they are now trying to build their “portfolio of unique and open-minded online dating brands.”

The company also said that all the fembots have already been expunged from their systems. That assures men logging in to their websites that they are speaking to an actual female on the other line.

The statement said, “Millions of people have continued to connect on our sites during the past year and they deserve a discreet, open-minded community where they can connect with like-minded individuals.”

Millership said they are not the only website that uses fembots in its systems, “but they are no longer being used, and will not be used, at Avid Life Media and Ashley Madison.”

This was not the only time that Ashley Madison’s systems have been questioned. Last year, a massive leak by hackers exposed around 30 million patrons of the cheating website. The company’s claims of protecting the identieties of its members were seriously questioned, especially since it charged patrons $19 to permanently remove their names off the system to no avail.

However, the company claimed that its membership hardly experienced a dent. In fact, the opposite actually happened.

Ashley Madison claimed that, “four million people have apparently signed up for the site since its members’ intimate and compromising details were spread around the internet for the whole world to see, said Business Insider.

After that scandal, Ashley Madison seems to be rebranding itself, starting with its slogan,
“See Your Matches,” in contrast to the old slogan, “Life is Short, Have an Affair.” That seems to suggest that it offers more services other than catering to men who like to cheat.

It also admitted to hiring forensic accounting investigators to look into the business practices of Ashley Madison in the past with regards to the use of bots. The team is also studying the ratio of the men to the women subscribed to the service. Right now, the company has around a 5-1 ratio of males to females who are active on the website.

Its troubles are not over, however, as the New York Times revealed an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission following the data breach.

“Ashley Madison, a service that claims to facilitate extramarital affairs, has been in repair mode since last summer,” said the report. (That’s) when hackers exposed information attached to more than 30 million accounts and badly bruised the trust upon which its business was built.”

The FTC, however, has not released a statement confirming or denying the investigation.

The description on the Ashley Madison website now targets people who are “looking for a discreet connection.”

“Every day thousands of people join Ashley Madison to find discreet relationships of all kinds,” it said. “Single, attached, looking to explore, or just curious to discover what’s out there — Ashley Madison is the most open-minded dating community in the world.”

Ashley Madison claims to have 46 million members all over the world. It’s not clear, however, what types of security the company has adopted to ensure that it will no longer be vulnerable to hackers. It did admit to hiring a security out of Deloitte to protect its system. The consultant told NY Times that it’s not trying to unmask the hackers but to make sure it doesn’t suffer that kind of breach again.

[Carl Court/Getty Images]