There are dating sites. There are cheating sites. And then, there’s Ashley Madison. If I have to describe this website in a single sentence, it would be…
“An oasis of opportunities for men and women of all kinds, of all tastes and all backgrounds.”
Ashley Madison is a site that our reviewers would recommend wholeheartedly. No matter what your social status or relationship status is, Ashley Madison will help you find a match.
This popular website has something for everyone when it comes to discreetly hooking up, so if you’re looking for great sex or a quiet affair, this is the place to be. In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions about Ashley Madison, so you can decide if it’s the right site for you.
And if you’d like to see how they compare to the competition, be sure to check out our guide on the best hookup sites we personally recommend.
Here, we have handpicked those essential elements that are crucial in judging the overall experience a dating platform provides.
- Good reputation in the industry
- User friendly UX
- Extremely large member base to choose from
- Lots of tools
- Higher ratio of women to men than most hookup sites
- After the hack, they take your privacy more seriously
- The credit system can be confusing
- Like most hookup site, you have to watch for scammers
What is Ashley Madison?
Ashley Madison is a dating website that specializes in helping people engage in extramarital affairs, hence the iconic brand image of an attractive woman holding her finger to her lips. The website is discreet, trustworthy, and popular among users who are looking for a casual hookup.
Although the website has generated some negative press for its promotion of extra-marital affairs, Ashley Madison remains the #1 choice for users seeking to explore outside of their relationship.
The website offers a huge buffet of “available” users, meaning there is always someone new to talk to or meet up with. Prices for using the service are almost negligible, making it an affordable option for anyone interested in trying something new and exciting.
A brief history of the legend of Ashley Madison
Founded in 2002 by Darren J. Morgenstern, this website started with the slogan:
“Life is short. Have an affair”
Darren had his ambitions pretty clear from day one. He wanted this website primarily for extra-marital affairs as he believed “discreet affairs help preserve marriages”. It has since been criticised by many including Trish McDermott, a consultant who helped found Match.com, who accused Ashley Madison of being a “business built on the back of broken hearts, ruined marriages, and damaged families”.
In 2016, however, the platform did try to re-brand itself by not only changing its famous signature tagline to “Find your moment” but also updating its logo to a red gem-shaped symbol from the image of a woman wearing a wedding ring. However this change was short-lived as in 2017, both the changes were undone and Ashley Madison regained its former “glory”!
The golden days had only begun when the website hit the once-unimaginable mark of 60 Million active users!
Any Noteworthy News?
There is a saying “A known spy, is a bad spy”.
The fact that you don’t really see Ashley Madison flashing in the news and yet is so popular amongst the masses proves how discreet it tends to be. Therefore there isn’t ever much in the news.
However, in 2015, there was a massive data breach that leaked an alleged database of over 20 million users including private details such as an address, email ID and several personal email conversations of Noel Biderman; CEO of the parent company owning the website.
There were alleged reports of extortion and blackmail of private users by the hackers. Nevertheless, the website has paid immense attention to cyber security since the attack. CEO Rob Legal had announced a partnership with Deloitte’s top cyber security team to enhance the data policies and security strategies.
How are the member profiles on Ashley Madison?
Even though it falls under the premium category of dating sites owing to its costs, it never fails to pull in the crowd. As expected most of the users on this platform are males, however, you will have your share of females without much hesitation. Kudos to its female-friendly policies, Ashley Madison has the most female users in its database compared to any of its competitors.
Even though most of the profiles on this platform come for short term sexual gratification, a large percentage also seek long term companionship either in terms of a polyamorous relationship or “otherwise”. Whatever you seek, you shall certainly find here. I found there was also a large swinger niche to be found on the platform.
When browsing, I found a wide range of women to choose from. Women of different ages, ethnicities, educational backgrounds and all different body types. I saw Moms, college students and everything in between! You’re sure to find someone you like here.
And I have to admit that scrolling through the endless profiles of many attractive women (and even some unattractive) was a huge turn on.
You must also note, that since this website offers services at a slightly premium rate, you can expect that to act as the first filter by blocking off the cheap crowd of men who expect freebies on dates. Hence you can only expect men beyond a certain financial class to be present here. Good or bad? That’s for you to decide.
What are the Best Features of Ashley Madison
Ashley Madison is LOADED with features that set it apart from hundreds of other dating platforms. Here are 5 key features that surely cut the deal:
- It is a completely free app without any notorious advertisements like most other platforms.
- A very innovative travel feature that allows members to share their travel plans with a maximum of 30 women in the area so that you both can plan your mischief in time! A perfect getaway for a business trip eh?
- Unparalleled customer support to solve each query you have.
- Worried about snooping eyes? The app can be completely hidden on your phone by disguising the app icon! You can change the appearance of the icon into several types of unrelated images.
- Talking about snooping eyes, this website provides discreet payment options that do not reflect on your bank statement.
A Brief Walkthrough
The Sign-Up and Profile Setup:
With a very simple and straightforward procedure, the whole signing up procedure is only a matter of a few minutes.
First things first, you put in your sexual orientation, sexual identity and what you’re looking for. You’re then asked to choose a username and a password for logging in. This is followed by an entry of your basic details such as your name, age, height, weight etc. It’s optional to upload a photo of yourself but if you’re planning to meet someone seriously then yes, you should post a good shot of your beautiful self.
I’d also advise you to use a separate email ID for your Ashley Madison account, that, for obvious reasons does not have your details on it.
It’s also noteworthy that signing up will not cost you a dime. You can even look around the website and explore your “options” without any additional fee. However, if you’re a man, you will need some credits to communicate with other users. Therefore buy a package that feels best suited to your needs, I’d recommend the 500 credits bag as that feels the best-value one with more than enough credits to know the crowd.
Members & Messaging on Ashley Madison
If you’re a woman using Ashley Madison, you’re surely gonna enjoy your time. Without needing to spend a single penny you can enjoy all the premium features unavailable to your male counterparts!
At first glance, it does seem sexist. But if you put some more attention into it, you’ll realize that this is a smart move. Not only does this feature help draw more women to the website, but it also lets women message the man first, thereby decreasing the “man must initiate” notion on dating sites. Seems like a win-win scenario for everyone, right?
Men, on the other hand, need to pay for most services. Be it sending messages to others or getting their profile boosted for a few hours, you gotta pay to get laid.
To grab the attention of your potential matches, you can also send gifts or “wink” at them, the latter being a tad bit subtle. These gifts come at varying prices ranging from 20 to 100 credits depending on their kind. You can also directly call or video chat with other members.
The Search Feature
Probably one of the best search features amongst dating profiles, Ashley Madison provides you with a plethora of filters. With filters such as age, online status, distance, relationship status, physical features etc you can narrow your preferences right down to your perfect match.
Furthermore, you can also enable a “Private showcase” for certain members so that they can see your profile in its entirety before you pay for messaging the user. This way you will know how interested they are before you pay up.
Without a doubt, Ashley Madison falls in the premium segment of dating websites. Hence it possesses only as much danger to your safety as the best social media websites. You need to be a bit careful about who you share your private information and you’re surely good to go.
There was one data breach back in 2015 that publicly leaked the personal information of thousands of users. Since then, the company has taken data privacy to a whole new level by hiring third-party cyber security companies with major investments.
If we’re talking about the website in general then yes, the user experience is great. The mobile app is even better! It has a clean design, it’s easy to navigate and it’s very easy to browse through profiles. With no annoying advertisements popping up you can enjoy a seamless distraction-free environment. Equipped with great search features and filtering tools, you can surely expect to find someone of your taste.
And if we’re talking about the dating experience then let’s be honest here; not everyone will get a gold mine of opportunities. You can only increase your chances by putting forth your best side on Ashley Madison. The same goes for women, just because the website is free you can’t expect to find your perfect lover in just a day.
What are the Pros & Cons of Ashley Madison:
- The stalwart in its field with a high reputation rank.
- User-friendly UI/UX provides comfortable and intuitive usage.
- A huge repertoire of members from all across the globe coming from diverse backgrounds and preferences.
- Enables a wide range of tools to attract the attention of the other person through gifts, winks and other enjoyable features.
- Boasts a very high percentage of women as compared to other dating websites.
- Has a discreet feature to hide your identity and even makes the app thumbnail inconspicuous to snooping eyes!
- High data protection measures with third-party cyber security guarantees.
- The whole credit system could be a little bit confusing and you might end up spending more than what you were planning to do on this website.
- If your conversation game isn’t up to the mark, you might lose out a lot.
- Almost 40% of profiles you see on the page could be scammers or bots or prostitutes looking to make a quick buck. However, put on your smart glasses and such profiles should be fairly easy to spot.
How Much Does Ashley Madison Cost?
This is a Lil bit complicated and as I said, you might end up spending more than what you had anticipated.
So instead of a subscription model, the website runs on a credit system where you purchase a certain number of credits that let you do whatever you wanna do. For instance, messaging and replying to users cost you 5 credits whereas doing an hour of live calling costs about 50 credits, which you buy beforehand.
The pricing can vary depending on the country you’re in, for US residents in 2023, the pricing is as follows:
- Basic: 100 credits for $49, or $0.59/credit.
- Classic: 500 credits for $149.00, or $0.34/credit. [Most popular plan]
- Elite: 1,000 credits for $249.00, or $0.29 per credit.
After you purchase a package, Ashley Madison prompts you to sign up for their Member Initiated Contact Fee. It’s a subscription-based service where you can see and respond to the messages sent to you by others without using any credits. The first month is free and is priced at $29.99/month after that.
This “MIC” fee can save you a lot of money in the long run if you’re an active user.
Furthermore, there are gifting options as I said earlier. The gifts help in drawing attention to your profile and can cost you anywhere between 20 to 100 credits.
If you ask me, I’d say on average a user is expected to shell out about $100-200 every month to get laid regularly. This cost is barely anything when you compare it to the reward you’re getting!
What are the Alternatives to Ashley Madison?
To be fairly honest, these alternatives have come and gone as Ashley Madison held her place. However if you still ask me to point out 2 other websites that can serve as an alternative to this giant, I’d name the following:
Not exactly aimed at extramarital affairs, this website was an instant hit in the earlier half of this decade. One can expect a fairly good crowd here as the marketing leads were quite cautious regarding their branding to the target audience.
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Without a doubt, we’d recommend you to try out this website if you’re looking for a quick fling or an under-the-radar hookup. You will not only save up a lot of money but might also end up with a long term discreet partner if that’s what you’re looking for.
Since it has a huge repertoire of users, you’re more likely to find your match here than anywhere else. Bonus points if you’re a woman. You are in total control from approaching a person to starting a conversation.
Life is short, have an affair!
Therefore, go out there and find your match.