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A quibble: you mention 30 million but the site's revenue doesn't come close to supporting that number. That is, there may be huge numbers of men signed up but revenue suggests a relatively small number buy credits necessary to engage in conversation. It is the credit buying system which I think motivates the use the bots: if you can engage a man, he might buy some credits. I note as an anecdote that one woman journalist who set up a profile was contacted by 50 men in a month. I gather they sell packages of credits with a guarantee/refund only if you buy the top level AND jump through a lot of hoops of site usage. If the info I found is correct, they get a lot of $50 buyers who then might contact 10 women's profiles at 5 credits a pop, which suggests a lot of churn and thus the never-ending barrage of ads for the site. What interests me are: a) what number of actual women are necessary to maintain a site like this, given a series of different churn assumptions, meaning what is the leverage on a female profile and b) the effect of the top tier, which is not only expensive but requires significant site engagement. Two things interest me in that: a) how many of those buyers actually complete the necessary engagement for a potential refund and b) is that how the site works best, meaning is that actually where real life hook-ups are generated on the site, that if you try the hardest then like at many things in life you get results? So in sum, I thought the AM stories were junky but I think there's a ton of interesting stuff in there.


Jonathan: My post is focused only from the perspective of a data analyst approaching a pile of data and how to prevent one from drawing nonsensical conclusions, such as that there were no active women users on the site. Given that Ashley Madison is a real business, the topics you mentioned are certainly interesting especially to anyone who is invested in the success of that business. But the same issues arise with any subscription business: Netflix, for instance, makes a ton of money from people who don't watch frequently.

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