The big business of adultery

Bloomberg BusinessWeek ran a rather unromantic Valentine’s Day story — a profile of AshleyMadison.com, the premier “dating” website for people looking for an adulterous affair.

The online business, based in Toronto and expanding around the world, was conceived, launched, and is now run by Noel Biderman, a 39-year-old married father of two who believes that monogamy is a failed experiment. He justifies his millions in profits by reminding himself that people are going to commit adultery anyway, regardless of what he does. Nice logic there. Biderman thought up the business after working with professional athletes and spending so much of his time helping them juggle wives and mistresses.

I knew there was a divorce industry, but not one for adultery per se. Biderman fancies himself the Mark Zuckerberg of the online adulterous affair world — and to be sure, it’s a growing franchise.

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Interestingly enough, however, the marketplace doesn’t appear ready to tolerate the promotion of adultery. FOX refused to carry AshelyMadison’s ad during the Super Bowl — and it’s not the only one saying no to the company. Biderman can’t buy his own brand as a keyword search, and his attempts to go public ended in disaster when the investment bank pulled out for fear of its reputation.

As for Biderman’s wife, what does she have to say?

When I asked Biderman’s wife, Amanda, what it’s like being joined in holy matrimony with an anti-marriage entrepreneur, she let out a long sigh. “Really, the business itself doesn’t match who he is as a person—it’s not our lifestyle or value system or any of that,” she said. “I mean, yeah, I’d love it if he were working on a cure for cancer. But it’s a business, and that’s how we look at it.”

Justifications all ’round.

  • Zoe Romanowsky

    Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in “Catholic Digest,” “Faith & Family,” “National Catholic Register,” “Our Sunday Visitor,” “Urbanite,” “Baltimore Eats,” and Godspy.com. Zo

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