Avid Life Media, the parent company of extramarital affair website Ashley Madison, has hit back at journalist claims about the site’s future since the recent hacking scandal, saying the site continues to grow day-by-day.
“Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated,” said Avid Life Media (ALM) in a statement.
“The company continues its day-to-day operations even as it deals with the theft of its private data by criminal hackers.”
The site was hit by hackers in late July who wanted the Ashley Madison site taken down. When ALM didn’t comply, the hackers allegedly released nearly 10GB of user data online.
The future of Ashley Madison has dominated numerous headlines since the hack – with recent news seeing the CEO step down – however the statement calls out media outlets for perpetuating this, claiming the company has even had more sign ups since the data release.
“Some journalists have turned the focus of the criminal act against Ashley Madison inside out, attacking us instead of the hackers,” said the company in the statement.
“Last week, a reporter who claimed to analyze the stolen data made incorrect assumptions about the meaning of fields contained in the leaked data. This reporter concluded that the number of active female members on Ashley Madison could be calculated based on those assumptions.
“That conclusion was wrong.”
Dr Tony Jacques, managing director at PR company Issues Outcomes, told B&T last week the question has to be raised about whether the brand can survive.
“The hack itself was serious enough, but the company’s continued evasions, lack of communication and seeming lack of any remedial action have probably spelled the end,” he said.
However, he pointed out it doesn’t have to be that way, citing a recent example of another American hack where the CEO took charge and fronted the issue.
Communications pros also told B&T yesterday it was critical to have a spokesperson in front of the media, particularly in relation the exploitation claims facing retail franchise 7-Eleven.
“Periodic reports of how this situation has improved shared with media will ensure that 7-Eleven will be seen to be taking the matter seriously and is doing all in its power to eradicate it,” said director of Agent99 Public Relations, Sharon Zeev Poole.
“Ultimately, it’s about transparency and making sure that staff are being cared for. It can’t just be lip service or a PR spin.”