Sex cheats' website says it has never been busier
The parent company of the Ashley Madison cheating website has said that "hundreds of thousands" of new users have signed up, despite the hacking scandal that saw millions of its clients' private information spewed on the internet.
"Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated," Avid Life Media, who owns Ashley Madison, said in a statement.
"Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing."
In this past week alone, "hundreds of thousands of new users signed up" to the dating platform, the company said, including 87,596 women.
And over the past seven days, women reportedly sent more than 2.8 million messages through the platform.
The statement came in response to a recent spate of articles suggesting that the vast majority of users of the site, which facilitates dating for people already in a relationship, are men.
A story published in the 'Washington Post' recently said that, according to the data leak, the company had created fake female profiles to lure men in. Of more than 35 million records released, only five million actually belong to women, the article found.
Avid Life Media has insisted that in the first half of the year, the ratio of men to women using the site was 1.2 to 1. The difference is, the company said, that fewer payments from women are shown in the leaked data as they are "not required to pay to communicate with men" on the site.
Ashley Madison has been hit by lawsuits and negative headlines since a hacking group accessed its user database this month, publishing the private information of as many as 32 million users.
Two Canadian firms have launched a $578m (€515m) class-action lawsuit against the company, which they accuse of failing to sufficiently protect their clients' private data.
The leaks from the website, whose slogan is 'Life is short. have an affair', included the email addresses of employees of Irish, British, American and European governments.
Last week, Canadian police said that at least two clients of the Ashley Madison adultery website may have committed suicide and that others had become the victims of extortion after hackers published their details online.
Avid Life Media is offering a $500,000 (€445,000) reward for information on the perpetrators of the hack.