Who says men have all the fun when it comes to extra marital matters? In this age of gender equality, Noel Biderman would like to believe that he is also giving the women the chance to have a little fun on the side, if they so wish. And now, the CEO of “Ashley Madison”, the popular dating site for married people looking for “excitement” outside their marriage, has brought this virtual playground to Japan.
Ashley Madison boasts of 19 million anonymous users in 27 countries worldwide and Japan is the first Asian country they chose to open in. It’s not necessarily something to be proud about, as Biderman said they have a “void to fill” based on a survey conducted by condom manufacturer Sagami Rubber Industries. The survey showed that 55% of married couple respondents say that their relationship is “sexless”, or defined as having intercourse less than twice a month. Add to that the proliferation of hostess clubs, soapland bathhouses, massage parlors and “love hotels”, and Japan definitely stood out as a lucrative market for the infidelity website. And they’re probably not wrong, as the first four days in Japan got them approximately 75,000 new members.
Unlike most dating social networks where married people can pretend to be single, Ashley Madison is specifically for those who are married but are unsatisfied with their love life and may be looking for companionship. Women sign up for free, but men have to pay 4,900 yen (approx. 49 US dollars) for 100 credits. These are the currency they use to interact with the women through email, chat, or virtual gifts. And for Japanese men or women who are interested in international “friends”, Ashley Madison uses a translation engine as well.
One challenge for the site is to distinguish themselves from the already established deai-kei “encounter” matchmaking sites, some of which have been shut down for fraud. Biderman says this is a challenge they encounter everywhere, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Questions about the site’s morality is always an issue, but he believes that the site is just a facilitator, and they are not coercing anyone into using the service or breaking their marriage vows. However, in a society where cheating is already a social problem, does Japan really need something/someone like Ashley Madison right now?
[ via Tokyo Reporter ]
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