From its stunt-driven advertising to its purported 20 million members in over 25 countries, Ashley Madison certainly has one of the highest profiles in adult dating sites. It was made specifically to enable extramarital affairs, and the brand itself caters to women with its bright colors, using a palette of pinks and purples.
Needless to say, it seems like if you’re looking for something extra on the side, this is the place to be. Like almost all dating sites, you can browse but you cannot contact other members. In order to do that, you must purchase credits (choose from three bundles of 100, 500, and 1,000). Messages to other members will cost you 5 credits, and instant message sessions cost even more. So choose your plan wisely.
I signed up with the hope of meeting other like-minded women in their late-30s and early 40s. Essentially plus or minus five years from my age, thinking that that’s the age in which they might be suffering from an unfulfilled marriage like me.
First off, there are plenty of profiles on there. Many—understandably—don’t have photos because the women want to remain anonymous. The ones with photos often obscure their faces (I obscured mine too). Again understandable. Thankfully there’s a private showcase option where you can control who can see your private photos.
But here’s the thing. Like almost all other dating sites on the Internet, the ratio of women to men is just as low. In other words, just like Match.com, OKCupid, etc. Ashley Madison has many more men than women, which means women get many more winks and messages than they know what to do with. For a site supposedly catering to women, they’ve done a seemingly poor job of getting more women for horny cheating bastards like me.
And all that translates to having to work hard in contacting women, crafting a nice personalized message and subject line, so that hopefully she’ll open it up and read it and give you a chance.
Of the many dozens of messages I sent out—I don’t do winks—I received very few responses. Of the ones who did respond, I rarely got into a good message exchange with them. And needless to say, I did not go on one date.
I met my wife the old fashioned way—at work. So I’ve never done the online dating thing. But I’m such a techie that online dating makes a lot of sense to me. I read articles about crafting the perfect profile and taking the perfect profile pictures. I read e-books on online dating and how to write messages that will get responses. But it’s really hard work that doesn’t seem to really pay off. The numbers are stacked up against us guys. I don’t know what the male to female ratio is on Ashely Madison, but if it’s like the other online dating sites out there, it’s likely 2:1.
There’s also a surprising number of single ladies on this site. I don’t understand why a single girl would want a married man, but I encountered a handful of genuine ones on the site. Most single ladies on Ashley Madison are either looking for a sugar daddy or they’re professional escorts. Unfortunately there’s a lot of this noise on the site.
In addition to favoriting and messaging, other features of Ashley Madison include a built-in instant messenger and something called a Fantasy Date. Fantasy Date is IM on steroids, more immersive, allowing you to switch up the background and you can put a mask on your photo. To use up more of your credits, you can also send virtual gifts to ladies if you like.
The overall design of the site is fairly dated, exposing some severe technical limitations. For example, it will only save 20 messages in your inbox.
Two more gotchas. If you initiate an instant message chat with someone, you will be charged 30–50 credits (depending on duration of chat, 30 minutes or 60 minutes, respectively), regardless if the other member responds or not. That’s right, you could be chatting with a silent blinking cursor for those 50 credits. You better know damn well that the other woman will answer your chat or you’ve thrown away money. The other issue is that if you want to fully delete your account—burn your profile, images, and messages away from the inboxes of other members—you must give them $19.00. You can simply deactivate your account for free, but apparently the other stuff might stick around.
Bottom Line: I did not have much success with Ashley Madison, Your mileage may vary. ♠♠ 2/5 spades.
Note: Some links on this blog—including the links to Ashley Madison in this review—are affiliate links. This gives me a little kickback in case you decide to sign up. Thanks for your support!