AshleyMadison Member Seeks Class-Action Status in Fembots Suit
SAN DIEGO — A former AshleyMadison.com member claims that the online cheating site not only embarrassed people after a massive data leak this past summer, it bamboozled men by concealing that only 15 percent of its users were real women.
David Poyet’s federal suit, which seeks class action status, said that more than 70,000 “women” on the site — 85 percent — were "fembots," and that data supplied from hackers showed that Ashley Madison “went to extreme measures to fraudulently lure in and profit from customers.”
AshleyMadison and its CEO, Noel Biderman, made headlines in July after hackers calling themselves the “Impact Team” stole data of the site's 37 million members, including passwords, financial data and people’s sexual fantasies.
The next month the hackers released volumes of information in two data dump after Biderman and AshleyMadison’s Canadian parent company, Avid Life Media Inc., refused demands to shut down the site.
Poyet’s suit said that the Impact Team showed that AshleyMadison marketed that the site had 5.5 million female profiles, when only a small percentage of the profiles belonged to actual women who used the site.
Had Poyet known that most of the female profiles contacting him were fembots, he never would have joined the site, the suit said.
“This comprehensive scheme is further highlighted by the fact that defendants had their fake accounts contact members over 20 million times,” the suit said. “The fake profiles not only initiated contact but would continue to communicate and encourage the users to purchase more credits to allow contact.”
Once the Impact Team revealed information in August about the “army of fembots” said to be blanketing the Ashley Madison website, one of the top marketers of online dating sites scolded the practice.
Andrew Conru, chairman and founder of FriendFinder, said that his organization had never created or used computer-generated accounts to garner business on any of its sites and that “this win-at-any-cost business practice is repugnant to us; it shows a total lack of respect for the users that support these sites.”
“Companies that cannot commit to stop charging people money to interact with their self-created bots need to exit this industry,” Conru stressed.
Poyet, who is suing for AshleyMadison for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, violation of California’s unfair competition law and its false advertising law, seeks an order certifying the case as class action, a declaratory judgment prohibiting the use of fake profiles, damages, damages and punitive damages, as well as court costs and attorneys fees.