Ashley Madison is an infidelity dating website which has around 36 million members of whom hardly 12,000 are women reveals an article by Gizmodo, based on the stolen data from Avid Life Media which owns the website. The Impact Team, a group of hackers passed on the data. The leaked data suggests thousands of emails deployed fake profiles created en masse by profile building contractors known as angels or engagers. It even suggested staff were involved to invent believable profiles.
The fake profiles were invented in areas where there were few female profiles. In 2013, in a Japanese city original male-female ratio of 88:1 was brought down to 5:1 by the engagers. The news site estimated that there were more than 70,000 engager profiles among the leaked data. Ashley Madison charges men to reply to messages from women and so creating fake profiles is financially beneficial for the company.
One woman told the BBC she had used it to find a lesbian relationship. However, it is not possible to find out how many women were active on Ashley Madison. The company says 87,596 women joined the website in the last week despite the enormous data leak. Of course, many of those are likely to be journalists to probe a secretive website that publicly promotes a taboo act.