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Ashley Madison claims growth despite hack

Despite swirling rumors that the end is near for Ashley Madison, and the massive backlash against it after a hacking attack outed some 32 million would-be cheaters, the company claims the site is flourishing.

Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison, released a statement on Monday denying rumors that the site is shuttering, and disputing a widely publicized analysis that found few real women actively used its services.

"Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated," the company statement said. "Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing. This past week alone, hundreds of thousands of new users signed up for the Ashley Madison platform - including 87,596 women."

Ashley Madison hack attack exposes major security flaws

The statement did not address the uproar over the fact that Ashley Madison did not adequately protect user data, or that it retained records from customers who paid $19 for a scrubbing service which promised to completely delete their data. The company is said to have made $1.7 million in revenue from the "paid delete" option. This alleged advertising fraud was one of the main reasons the hacker group "Impact Team" gave for publicly exposing the user records, server information, employee salaries and records and other information from the site.

An analysis last week by Gizmodo parsed the data fields from the database of users revealed by the hack. By deciphering e-mail and chat records, it concluded that very few women, of the 5.5. million the site claimed were on the site, actively used the services. The exposed user records showed that only about 1,492 women ever logged into their mail inboxes, just 2,400 used chat and 9,700 had ever replied to a message. The report suggested that many of the women's profiles appeared to have been created by the company itself.

Avid Life Media continues to insist that the site does, in fact, have active participation from women.

"Last week alone, women sent more than 2.8 million messages within our platform," the statement said. "In the first half of this year the ratio of male members who paid to communicate with women on our service versus the number of female members who actively used their account...was 1.2 to 1."

The company, whose slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair," invited more people to log on and see for themselves.

Avid Life Media CEO Noah Biderman stepped down last Friday in the wake of the hacking and privacy breach. Security experts say the hack and the resulting fallout highlight the need to monitor companies who store data in the cloud more closely.

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