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What the Hell is Ashley Madison and Should You Be Worried?

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | July 22, 2015 |

By Dustin Rowles | Social Media | July 22, 2015 |

A few years ago, up here in Maine, we had a prostitution scandal that made international headlines, after a Zumba instructor was caught videotaping her sexual encounters with over 150 clients. The reason it made national headlines is because of the client list — it seemed liked there were powerful forces at play trying to keep it under wraps. It reminds me of this season of True Detective minus the shirtless self-hating gay character played by Taylor Kitsch.


The fun part, though, was in speculating who might be on the client list. The whole state was in a gossipy tizzy about the possibilities. How high did it go? Who was going to get taken down? At the time, I was driving through the town where the Zumba instructor resided nearly every Thursday night around midnight to watch midnight screenings in Massachusetts, and I feared that some people might think that my trips through Kennebunkport in the middle of the night were awfully convenient.

The client list, however, was eventually released with an anticlimactic sigh. A few local attorneys, public officials, and a television newscaster were named, but nobody really cared, except probably their wives.

What’s happening with Ashley Madison is similar, except on a national scale. is a dating website that specializes in philanderers. You want to cheat on your spouse? You can sign up on Ashley Madison and find others who want to cheat on their spouses. No longer does a married man have to string his mistress along lying about eventually divorcing his wife, because here, both parties were cheating. The website’s slogan is “Life is Short. Have an Affair,” which is the most casual way I’ve ever heard a company describe destroying one’s marriage.

Anyway, hackers got into Ashley Madison, and now they are threatening to leak nude photos, sexual fantasies, real names and credit card information of their 37 MILLION clients if Ashley Madison doesn’t shut itself down.

That puts the website in quite the predicament: On the one hand, the release of those 37 million names will destroy the website, and the timing is horrible because they were about to launch an IPO in London. And we’re not talking about peanuts, here. Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life, is worth $1 billion.

The philandering industry is booming.

You have to imagine, too, that those clients are sweating bullets.


Are you one? Because if you are, you’re probably about to get fucked and it won’t by your mister/mistress.

The rest of us, however, are like:


Until we find out that our spouse is on that list:


That’s not how anyone wants to find out his or her husband or wife is cheating. Just ask the wife of Heavy73, a Massachusetts man who was outed as an example. He’s “married/attached,” joined the site the day after Valentine’s Day, 2014, and likes “cuddling & hugging” and he’s into “discretion & secrecy.”


The lesson here, as always, is trust no one. Especially the Internet, when you know guys like this are out there:


Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.