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Ashley Madison Earned Millions Through Its “Full Delete” Option

The controversial dating site charged users $19 to erase their profiles—and made nearly $2 million from the service last year.

Ashley Madison Earned Millions Through Its “Full Delete” Option
[Photo: Flickr user Johan Larsson]
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As the fallout from the Ashley Madison data dump continues, it now appears that the controversial site made millions in 2014 by charging users to “fully delete” their profiles.

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According to BuzzFeed, documents leaked Tuesday show that Ashley Madison, a dating site for people looking to have an affair, made $1.7 million in additional revenue last year by charging users $19 to erase their profiles and “remove all traces of [their] usage.” But the documents don’t specify exactly what data is removed under the “full delete” option, and hackers claimed that the feature was not entirely effective.

Any Internet user can now search the trove of information–which includes data for 36 million Ashley Madison accounts–through a handful of websites that have popped up since Tuesday night. Leaked email addresses, however, may not be legitimate, since users don’t have to verify their addresses when creating an account on the website. One British lawmaker told Reuters that her email address was stolen and used to generate an account on the website without her knowledge.

On Wednesday, Ashley Madison said that no credit card information was stolen, and added that it had not stored users’ full credit card numbers.

The company confirmed the data leak and believes it was orchestrated by someone inside the company; the FBI and Canadian police are investigating.

[via The Verge]

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About the author

Kim Lightbody is an editorial assistant at Fast Company, where she does all sorts of editorial-related things for both print and web.

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