While it became clear in the immediate aftermath of the Ashley Madison data dump that non-philandering guys didn’t need to worry about finding their significant other in the wreckage because 90-to-95 percent of the site’s users were other guys, one intrepid reporter wanted to find out just how hard it would have been to actually have an affair using the service. The short answer is: Effectively impossible, unless cybersex with non-responsive email bots is your thing.
Gizmodo’s Annalee Newitz took a deep dive into the data and uncovered some pretty outrageous numbers. Of the 37 million accounts, only 5.5 million belonged to women. But that number is totally misleading, because Newitz’s analysis of the email naming conventions and associated IP addresses strongly suggests that the vast majority of those accounts were fake. Her best guess at the actual number of living, breathing females on Ashley Madison that a cheating-inclined guy had a shot at hooking up with? 12,108. You read that right.
A few other juicy tidbits from Newitz’s reporting:
•Approximately two thirds of the men (20.2 million) checked the messages in their inboxes at least once; only 1,492 women did.
•11 million men engaged in chats; only 2,400 women did.
•5.9 million men responded to emails on the system; 9,700 women did. That number is likely vastly inflated because the system allows you to auto-respond to everyone in your inbox at once, meaning the email responses of the few actual women on the site would grow exponentially if they chose to clear a full inbox with a single auto-respond.
And their inboxes were no doubt full to the point of groaning. With somewhere between 10 and 20 million guys trying to get the attention of 12,108 actual women, the competition must have been fierce. Which is too bad, really, because all those guys were paying good money to get the same thing they could get at home by talking fantasy football with their wives: Silence.