The Strange Rise & Sudden Fall of Noel Biderman, Ashley Madison, & Arrangement Finders Pimp

Business Insider by Rob Price

Aug. 28, 2015, 1:05 PM 231,455 13
Noel Biderman, founder and former CEO of Ashley Madison.


Noel Biderman, the founder of Ashley Madison, has resigned.

The controversial extra-marital affairs site was hacked in July, resulting in the leak of more than 30 million users’ highly compromising personal data. Facing catastrophic reputational damage as well as multiple lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars, parent company Avid Life Media announced on Friday that Biderman has left the company.

This is the story of his strange rise to become the self-proclaimed “most hated man on the internet” — and his extremely sudden fall.
Born in 1971, Biderman is a Toronto native. The grandson of Holocaust survivors, he is Jewish — although unsurprisingly, he thinks the 10 Commandments are “outdated.”

He studied Economics at the University of California in the late 1980s, his LinkedIn profile reveals, before returning to Toronto to study Law at the Osgoode Hall Law School.
Via Wikimedia Commons.

The University of California’s LA campus (it’s not clear which one Biderman attended). Probably neither one!
He hasn’t always been in the tech/dating business. He used to be a sports attorney, working as an agent for athletes.
Not Biderman’s clients.
According to a Bloomberg feature in 2011, “a large chunk of his work as an agent involved helping professional basketball players juggle their wives and mistresses.” It was from here the idea for Ashley Madison was born.
Not Ashley Madison customers.

He also worked for a spell in the realtor industry before setting up Ashley Madison.

A house is seen on January 23, 2015 in an affluent area of west London, England.
The company launched in 2001, and in 2007 was acquired by Avid Life Media, with Biderman taking the reins of the new parent company. It has since ballooned into a hundred-million-dollar business. In 2014, it had revenues of $115 million.
Biderman is a relentless self-promoter, having appeared as an “infidelity expert” on CNN, Dr. Phil, Katie Couric, and hundreds of other media outlets.
He has even written books about cheating — publishing “Cheaters Prosper: How Infidelity Will Save the Modern Marriage” in 2011, followed by “Adultropology: The Cyber-Anthropology Behind Infidelity” in 2013.
Despite this, Biderman says he’s “happily married,” and has two children with his wife Amanda Biderman. The couple have said they would be “devastated” if their partner cheated.

Noel and Amanda Biderman.

Body language: The ‘missus’ is leaning away. Noel, you disgust her. You’re just a pimp, after all!

With more than 30 million members, Ashley Madison looked on top of the world earlier this year. Biderman even suggested he might look to IPO parent company Avid Life Media on the London Stock Exchange.
According to one leaked document, dating from January, Avid Life Media reached 46 countries and 28 different languages.

noelbiderman14The CEO reveled in this notoriety: Ashley Madison became known for its provocative stunts, and Biderman describes himself on his personal website as “the most hated man on the internet.”

A slide from a leaked Avid Life Media document.noelbiderman13
At one point Ashley Madison was even sued by the Queen of Spain, over a photoshopped photo of her in one their adverts. Newt Gingrich, Bill Clinton, and Prince Charles have all also appeared in its provocative ads.


But on July 12, Avid Life Media employees arrived at work to find a message from a hacker or hackers going by the name of The Impact Team waiting for them. It demanded the company close down Ashley Madison immediately.
Bizarrely, the song “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC played over the message on employee computers.

Avid Life Media didn’t comply. So on August 18, The Impact Team dumped internal company documents online, along with compromising personal data about more than 30 million customers.

Avid Life Media
Avid Life Media’s Articles Of Incorporation — just one of the documents leaked online.


The user data contains email addresses, financial details, physical descriptions, and sexual preferences of Ashley Madison customers. There have already been reports of blackmail, divorces, and even (unconfirmed) suicides as a result of the leak.
A blackmail demand received by an Ashley Madison customer.

This was then followed by a second, even larger leak. This included more confidential internal documents — and hundreds of thousands of Noel Biderman’s emails, dating back years.


Included in these emails are some deeply embarrassing revelations about Biderman, including the fact that he once instructed someone to build an app called “What’s Your Wife Worth?” that let men submit their wives to be rated by other users, based on how much they would pay to have sex with them …
Included in these emails are some deeply embarrassing revelations about Biderman, including the fact that he once instructed someone to build an app called “What’s Your Wife Worth?” that let men submit their wives to be rated by other users, based on how much they would pay to have sex with them …


The Daily Dot

… and that he once apparently discussed hacking into a competitor’s database with another executive …
Bill Hinton/Getty Images

… and that, despite his public claims, he has apparently had multiple illicit affairs.
Avid Life Media

Throughout all of this, Biderman has been totally silent, refusing all media requests.

But on Friday, August 28, Avid Life Media released a new statement. Biderman, “in mutual agreement with the company,” was stepping down and leaving the company. The senior management team is to take control until a replacement is found.

With his professional reputation in tatters, it’s now not clear what lies ahead for Noel Biderman — or Avid Life Media itself.

Noel Biderman/Instagram

The company is facing lawsuits for hundreds of millions of dollars from furious customers. Even with Biderman gone, it may be too late to save.


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