Ashley Madison’s surprising comeback

Ashley Madison, the hook-up site for cheating spouses that was knocked off its pins in 2015 after a disastrous data breach, has said 5.7 million new users registered on the site this year — and that slightly more than 50 per cent of its active users are women, reports the New York Post.

That total is down from the nearly 7.2 million new users who signed up in 2016, the company said, although US revenue soared 17 per cent, according to fresh data.

And while past estimates of the number of female users turned out to be false due to the dominance of bots posing as humans, Ashley Madison executives recently hired a Big Four accounting firm to review its statistics.

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The latest data received the once-over by Ernst Young, according to a report due out on Thursday, and the number crunchers verified the number of wannabe adulterers climbing aboard — or an average of 15,542 per day.

“[This] was the first step in communicating to our members and potential members that we had listened to them, and were now dedicated to being what we’ve always been — the leader in the married-dating space,” said Paul Keable, vice president of communications for Ruby Life, the site’s new corporate parent.

In New York City, the neighbourhood with the highest number of men signing up for the adultery site was Chelsea, according to the company, while the highest number of married women signing up for illicit trysts live in Gramercy Park.

On the flip side, the Big Apple neighbourhoods with the most faithful number of spouses — where the least number of residents registered, was Fieldston in the Bronx for men, and Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn for women.

Ashley Madison, in trying to retool its site and restore faith in its online experience, also doubled down on user privacy, changing its sign-up process to give users more discretion as well as more control over who can see what on their profiles.

The new owners said they are eager to turn the page on the sordid chapter of the site’s history.

“Our members’ experience is paramount,” said Ruby Life president Ruben Buell, adding it was important that users feel they can trust their hook-ups will remain discreet.

In July 2015, hackers leaked more than 25 gigabytes of data from the site — including names and search histories, which cooled the heels of its user base.

The hack also revealed the site’s former owners — after finding it difficult to lure real female users to the site — used bots and prostitutes to sucker horny husbands into coughing up dough.

Expressed as a ratio of cheating spouses, Ernst Young said wives topped husbands, 1.13 to 1.

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission.

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