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Ashley Madison Helps Connect Hong Kong’s Cheating Spouses

By + on August 16, 2013

One way to get a story viral is to create a story that’s controversial, against the norm of the society or simply stir the emotions of the audience. This has been proven on social media where BMW made its product promotion popular on Weibo or a video nine-year-old girl’s conquest  against her male counterparts in the football field went viral, one company is trying to get everyone’s attention using that familiar approach.

Ashley Madison is an online dating company targeting married people to “have a affair” and meet discreetly through the website.  The company, set to launch in Hong Kong by end of August, claims of 20 million members that makes it the world’s largest dating site for cheating husbands and wives, proudly adhering to the Life is short. Have an affair slogan.  The company’s website is based in Canada, and has expanded to 28 other countries.

There are plenty of dating websites around, but I guess the more that join these crowded online communities, later additions are less relevant, unless they prove unique. From the broad “find a date online” theme, many have tried to innovate. There are specializations that accept only beautiful people, geeks, with STDs and the not-so-attractive, on top of the more established E-Harmony or

Named after two of the most popular baby girl names in 2002 when it was founded, Ashley Madison has attracted a fair amount of rejections including forbidding its ads from appearing on Super Bowl XLII and failure to rename Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for US$10 million in 2010,  even at a time when the city was in financial trouble.

Perhaps with 10,000 or so divorce filings each year, Hong Kong may have looked attractive to founder and CEO Noel Biderman, who calls himself “The King of Infidelity”. But does divorce easily equate with infidelity? I don’t know. If the site succeeds, then it becomes a de facto go-to site for marriage cheaters.

It is not verified if the website does not siphon personal information to blackmailers who can make money out of the digital footprint of Ashley Madison users, nor to National Security Agency. If such threats proven to be unfounded, members can only wish they won’t find their spouses looking for affair at the site.