Tobold's Blog
Thursday, August 27, 2015
There are no girls on the internet

Not a game story, but nevertheless an online community story: Boing Boing reports that the recent leak at Ashley Madison, an online dating service of extra-marital affairs, did more than embarrass a few politicians and celebrities (all male). It also revealed that the whole site was a huge scam: For over 20 million men who checked their Ashley Madison messages there were only 1,492 women who did the same. Apparently the leak only showed that many of the female profiles were simply fake. At least in this case the old meme that there are no girls on the internet proved to be quite true; at the very least girls on the internet aren't there in order to have extra-marital affairs.

I'm surprised that so many man couldn't figure this out when women didn't have to pay for the "service", just men. If it was a dating site offering a service to customers, why would it not charge half of them? Because women weren't half of them, but less than 1%, the rest were fake accounts.
@Gevlon I read a post on Reddit that suggested that the site may have employed sneaky tricks to keep men paying paying despite a lack of real women. What was suggested was that a man signs up and pays a subscription that allows him to send invites to certain number of women. None of these reply of course (because they are fake). However just as the man's subscription is about to run out he magically gets a canned response from someone. The excited man then renews his subscription and the pattern repeats. Don't know if this is true or not but it would explain how come the site managed to make money despite the fact that there were almost no real women around.
@mbp: you didn't get my point. No man should use a dating service that is free for women, because it's the indication of lack of real women to date (if you pay to a prostitute, that's not dating).
What I don't understand is how all these reports even get written. Everyone who downloads the data and analyses it invades the privacy of millions of people. How is that OK?
I think as long as it is statistical analysis, there is no invasion of privacy. The moment you search for individuals in the data, to name and shame them, that isn't okay. Finding out that the service was always a scam is a public service.
The data was there all the time, on servers controlled by Ashley Madison, hidden from the public.

To analyze it (with whatever good intentions) a journalist would have to hack the servers which clearly is a crime. Just because someone else broke the law to get the data doesn't make it OK for everyone else to look at it.

And: the people in that database did not say "yeah look at my data". The data is not anonymized. The simple act of looking at a dataset reveals private information that those journalists (and anyone else downloading it) have no right to know. It doesn't matter at all what they do with it, they invaded the privacy of millions of people the moment they opened the database. It's just wrong.
I wouldn't necessarily assume there are no women just because a service is free to women. It proves only that the service finds it harder to attract women than men, and therefore gives them concessions. If a night club lets women in free and charges men, do we assume that only men will go there?

Of course, basic evolutionary psychology does indeed make it predictable that under normal western conditions a site such as Ashley-Madison will find it much harder to attract women (much harder than a night club) and it would have been wise of punters to consider this.

@Gerry: yes, I'd assume that if a night club allow women in for free, not many "legit" women go there. "Hostesses", "VIP girls" and outright prostitutes aren't legit in the sense that you have no chance to form a relationship with them.

If you don't want a relationship, why do you go to a nightclub? Call a call-girl or stop by a street hooker and pay directly to her for the "service" instead of wasting money on overpriced alcohol and bad music.

If a club lets women in free once a week, or if he's giving the perks (first drink is free) then it's a valid tactic to draw in a crowd. If it lets women in free all the time, you can be certain that there will be a lot of shady business going on from the freeloaders.


A lot of people go to a nightclub for a hookup and not much else. Even if the nightclub has attracted those non-legit women, a guy will still prefer going to the club over calling a call girl, for social reasons. Others see him hitting on (and succeeding) a good looking woman (proving to his friends/other males he is a 'player') and he also has the illusion that it is his charm that allowed him to 'score', boosting his self confidence (even if he later realises that his 'date' wants to get paid).
Even if you were right, Gevlon, the men who went to Ashley-Madison weren't looking for 'legit' women - quite the contrary, in fact. The site was purportedly for married people to hook up for a bit on the side (as we used to say).
Well, there's a difference between 'legit' (i.e. sluts sleeping around) and bots and/or men paid to respond from fake profiles.
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