“Hi, my name is Ashley Madison. I can help you cheat on your spouse… for a fee of course. I am very gender biased too; I just maintain the good old tradition that men pay for sex. So on my platform, men pay to join and women join for free. In case you’re wondering why you should break your marriage vows, the answer is short and sweet –“life is short”. I promise you confidentiality on the World Wide Web; Oops! Okay…well, until someone hacks into our website”.
These past few weeks have been really rough for Ashley Madison. In case you missed the news outbreak, here is an update. A Canada-based entrepreneur created a dating site over a decade ago and called it “Ashley Madison”. Online dating sites are no news. However, Ashley – as I fondly call it- was targeted to people who are married or in committed relationships to cheat on their partners. Literarily, their catchphrase is “Life is short, have an affair”. Like every other business that involves sex, CEO of Ashley is doing well, with some sources estimating a worth of $100 million. Don’t be surprised! Earning money off humans’ indiscretion is a tale as old as time.
Since I met Ashley, it’s more glaring that adultery is gaining some serious status. Ashley is one the biggest pimps of our time; with Forbes reporting that men typically pay an average of $200 to $300 a year. That might look small until you multiply it by the millions of users. As an omo-naija (Nigerian), I multiplied it by another 200 naira; I wanted to faint.
Victory turned sour a few months back, when Ashley was hacked. The hackers requested that Ashley in addition to another site ‘Established Men’ (A sugar daddy site by the same parent company) be permanently closed or information on users will be released. This was me thinking – “they didn’t ask for money? WOW! The world is full of surprises”. Their request wasn’t fulfilled and the hackers released account details and log-in information for over 30 million past/present users. The information released included emails, home addresses, credit card information and sexual preferences/fantasies of the users. It’s as simple and embarrassing as scrolling to see if your house address or husband’s/wife’s name/email is on the list.
Since Ashley’s black book was exposed, things have taken several turns for a lot of people and their families. Some people have even committed suicide. Whether it was a lapse in judgement or a bad habit, the lives and families of the people’s names on that list will not remain the same. The ones that were public figures or held religious positions experienced their humiliation on a larger scale. I imagine some of you readers are already rolling your eyes, pouting your mouth, hissing, saying things like ‘good for them’ or adding curses to your reaction-salad. E duro (relax), we are not yet at the ‘judgement’ segment of this piece; don’t worry it is coming.
Adultery or cheating is a habit as old as dirt; however, that is not the focus today. What caught my attention was why people will choose to create a public record of their infidelity. Truth is, most people don’t want their dirty laundry aired in the public; but, sadly, we barely have that choice anymore. Electronic gadgets and social media in various forms have become the center of most our lives. We do all sort of things with them – good and bad. Something we are not proud of is a click away from being put on world display. Even if the site is private, hackers now make the world go round.
Mistakes or bad habits/characters now have what seems like a permanent record. It’s difficult to delete something completely off the internet. In case you didn’t know, the fact that you deleted something from a social media account or email or anywhere, doesn’t mean it cannot be retrieved. It takes years of training to be able to wipe information completely off the internet; most of us can’t afford it. This internet we have all come to love will be the death of so many people’s dreams, careers, relationships or even lives, if caution is thrown to the wind. The rest of us are just in line, a wrong choice away from the same fate. Exposing lives and habits of people has also become a major money-making business. Blogs, Magazines, Vlogs, etc. have made and will continue to make a fortune from this.
It’s time to judge! Not the men/women on Ashley’s list but the face you see when you look in the mirror. Judge yourself; is your private life worth viewing in public?
Internet and technology has brought us to a crossroad – Live a sincere/straightforward or don’t – none of which will be an easy option. Life is full of choices and consequences. Regardless of what you choose, it’s a date with the devil; fish out your long-spoons because dinner will take a while. WWW (World Wide Web) and all the gadgets have come to stay. Cheers to the loss of privacy and constant exposure of secret lives!
Image via Wired
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