updated 10 May 2009, 16:52
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Sun, May 10, 2009
The New Paper
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They prefer Mr Wrong

THE economic recession may be moving Chinese women towards marriage.

But it seems to be giving adulterers more chances to cheat on their spouses too.

Business at the Toronto-based Ashley Madison Agency has been booming, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

The firm, which was founded in 2001, is an unusual matchmaking agency - it pairs up married men and women for affairs.

In fact, the firm's motto is 'Life is short. Have an affair'.

Registration is free but members pay with purchased credits to send messages to other users.

The agency charges 49 Canadian dollars ($62) for 100 credits or 249 Canadian dollars for 1,000 credits.

Fifty credits buys 60 minutes of instant messaging time or 10 e-mails to different users.

The agency has reached millions of new viewers and potential adulterers with an advertisement featuring an attractive woman enduring a dreadful dinner date with a boorish man.

The voice-over says: 'Have you ever found yourself on a really bad blind date? Now imagine that date lasting the rest of your life.'

It tried to run the advertisement during this year's Super Bowl American football championship game but was turned down as it was deemed inappropriate for a sporting event.

Membership at Ashley Madison has risen from one million to 3.6m in just 12 months, and founder and chief executive Noel Biderman expects another surge after the company launched a service allowing members to access the site from their mobile phones.

This innovation is aimed at would-be cheaters nervous about leaving evidence of their infidelity on their home or work computers.

Mr Biderman, 37, a happily married father of two, said many couples who would have divorced were seeking affairs because of the cost of hiring lawyers and the difficulty of selling the marital home.

He said: 'We're not just recession-proof, we're booming.'

The commercials have been denounced as promoting 'Home Wreckers Inc' by Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Centre, a conservative monitoring group.

Two women, who gave false names, told The Telegraph why they signed up.

Tamara, 32, who works in the Hollywood film business, said: 'I got married too young to the wrong man seven years ago and everything has been downhill for the last five years. We have drifted far apart but he lost his job a year ago and has become very depressed and I'm not sure he could cope if I went for a divorce.'

So far, she has only chatted by phone and online with potential lovers from the service.

She said: 'I can see the moral ambiguity of this service and I understand why some will criticise it. But life is not black and white and sometimes you find yourself doing things you would never have dreamed of.

'And I feel happy and hopeful again for the first time in a long time.'

End unhappy marriage

For Anne, a 39-year-old mother of two from Oxfordshire in the UK, signing up was the catalyst to end an unhappy marriage.

She said: 'I was in a damaging, destructive and deeply unhappy relationship with an alcoholic husband who undermined me at every turn. My confidence had been destroyed and I would never have been able to go out to a bar or restaurant to meet another man that way.

'But on Ashley Madison, I met a man who represented something very different and made me feel happy and positive again. He stayed with his wife but that affair gave me the courage finally to leave my husband.

'I will always be grateful for that.'

This article was first published in The New Paper

readers' comments
moral degeneration of people today. sigh. and i wonder why im even in the least fazed when news like this breaks
Posted by terrence86 on Thu, 7 May 2009 at 11:04 AM

Alright, honestly, what's your defense? What you just said isn't even associated to the topic? Oh well...

Adultery? It's kinda weird that people are finding this alright. What happened to monogamy?

I guess different people have different views of adultery but I think it's very wrong.
Posted by nuruljann on Thu, 7 May 2009 at 10:28 AM

The Way I See It:

In this case, we have decided you are not entitle to complain to us.

I say so.

So consider the implication and consequence of your actions. :D
Posted by ILostMyBall on Thu, 7 May 2009 at 09:51 AM
This is such a disturbing reality. People complain abt how moral values in society have eroded with the younger generations but just look at how adults these days are behaving.

Is this the kind of example you want to set for your children? That adultery is acceptable?

Everyone is entitled to make their own decisions but do consider the implications and consequences of your actions.
Posted by yusaziz90 on Thu, 7 May 2009 at 09:30 AM

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