Noel Biderman: King of Infidelity

Bitter Success Interviews, Lawyer 28 Comments

Name and Current Title?

Noel Biderman, President and COO of Avid Life Media (owners of and And President and CEO of

Law School?

Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, Canada. Class of ’95.

What is Ashley Madison, and what’s it all about all about?

AshleyMadison is a dating service for married/attached people. It works much like a traditional singles-dating service in that you sign up, create a profile and then search for someone who possibly possesses the criteria that you desire.

The only difference is that the majority of people on AshleyMadison are not necessarily seeking a new relationship. Rather, they are seeking the physical intimacy that is lacking from their current relationship. In summary: They are looking for a little something on the side.

Who are your customers?

Our customers come from all walks of life—infidelity crosses all ethnic, socioeconomic and age groups. We do, however, focus our advertising on mediums like television and satellite radio, which allows us to attract a more sophisticated, educated, high-income member base. Lawyers and bankers seem to be our largest professional groups.

The women on the service really fall into three different groups: 1) The soccer mom/desperate housewife who feels totally under-appreciated in her current relationship; 2) the quintessential mistress who is not interested in settling down and getting married; 3) young, attached/married women who either feel that the man they are currently with is not the man they can stay with for the rest of their lives, or that they have made a mistake in getting married, but before they get any deeper, they are seeking what else might be out there waiting for them.

We do, of course, have a large percentage of men who are best described as having the proverbial seven-year itch.

You make infidelity sound frighteningly legitimate, but some people would call AshleyMadison a website for home-wreckers. What do you tell them?

Infidelity has been around a lot longer than (to hear some detractors you would think that we invented infidelity). Infidelity is part of the human condition. We are not going to convince anyone in a 30-second television ad or a 60-second radio spot to have an affair. That is a decision they come to based on their own life circumstances. What we are saying is that if you have decided to step outside of your relationship, don’t have an affair at work and risk losing your job as well, don’t go on a singles-dating site and lie about your marital status, and don’t break the law and seek out a prostitute.

Did your business spike after Eliot Spitzer got busted with an escort?

We published an open email to Eliot Spitzer in the New York Post. As a result, we were all over print, television and radio talking about his “mistake.”

Are you married? How often do people ask you that when they find out what you do?

I invariably get asked that question, and the answer is yes, I am married with two beautiful children. I think it is important for people to understand that this is not some kind of crusade or personal outlet for me. Running Ashleymadison is truly a business enterprise that came about after some great research that indicated that 30 percent of people on traditional singles-dating services were attached and using the anonymity of the web to lie about their marital status.

My feeling is that what we are doing at AshleyMadison is cannibalizing behavior that already takes place (whether that be the workplace affair or some other avenue). Our intent is to migrate that behavior to AshleyMadison where it is most appropriate and better understood.

How did you find yourself in the infidelity business?

It’s a long road to becoming the king of infidelity. Truthfully, I met my partner in crime, Darren Morgenstern, through a real estate venture, and somehow I woke up one morning and found myself in the arms of a very demanding “mistress” called AshleyMadison.

We hear you’re known as the Jerry Maguire of Lebanon from your days at Interperformances. How does one get that title?

That is the title I am most proud of. It stems from my first career (and true love) as a basketball agent. I had the pleasure of working with some incredible people around the world and was able to combine my lifelong passion/love for basketball with my legal training. I would not trade that experience for anything, except for maybe a night with Scarlett Johansson. (Oops, I believe she is married now.)

Judging from the comments on Bitter Lawyer, lawyers seem like an intensely horny, under-sexed bunch, including the married ones. Is there something about the profession that makes it more prone to infidelity?

I think that law is a very challenging field, demanding in so many ways. But the most demanding element may just be the vast amount of time lawyers tend to work. When you work that hard you really want to come home and be appreciated. Your window for enjoyment is so limited before you have to get back at it. If you are coming home and finding that you have a whole new set of hurdles and challenges on the home front to navigate, I think you are going to find that, in short order, you become burnt out.

We tend to rejuvenate ourselves with a two-week vacation, but truthfully, we need much more than that. We need an understanding partner, we need physical intimacy, we need variety and laughter. The bottom line is, if you’re not getting those things at home, and you’re working like a maniac, you are going to find someone else who will make you happy. They call it the law of attraction for a reason.

When you talk about Ashley Madison, it’s almost as if you’re building a case, bringing dispassionate, reasoned analysis to a taboo issue. Has your legal training helped you change the way people think about infidelity?

Good marketing is often about building a case for your product. In this instance, our product is very controversial, and so you have to begin your “argument” in a staged approach. For a lot of important social issues there is compelling and worthwhile research that needs the proper dissemination, and truthfully the creators of the research are not always the best people to articulate their findings. Nor is the media, or (even worse) a politician, an appropriate champion.

Often times you find that businesses, whose motivations are the most transparent, are the ones best suited and most heavily invested in messaging a paradigm change (which often equals a business opportunity). I may not convince those who believe infidelity is “wrong” to start believing that it is “right,” but I am positive that I have helped people accept that it is part of the human condition, and that if we start asking the question “why” people cheat, we might find some interesting answers.

Do you get a lot of hate mail?

I get a much greater show of support than I do detractors. I am positive that a number of your readers out there truly love and care deeply for their partners, but they are miserably unhappy with their sex lives. Their children, their home, their friends and extended family life are way too important for them to even consider altering (let alone abandoning), and so they continue to be unhappy. But I am not so sure that is at all fair, and in our opinion, they should not have to suffer anymore. That is what Ashleymadison is for.

We can’t let this slide. Your name is Noel Biderman. Did you ever consider yourself a bitter lawyer?

I’m 100 percent as bitter as they come. What I like to jokingly tell people critical of my current role is that my mother is finally proud of her son’s career. After all, I used to be a lawyer.

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  • Alex Hump

    Here’s an enterprising lawyer who figured out that we lawyers bust our ass @ work all day, and deserve top shelf babes when we come home, and if we can’t get that top shelf beef at home (or if our beef has turned), he’s got a website to hook us up.  Good move, mahn!.  It is good to find a site without clinging skanks.  Most want a relationship after they spread or offer up, and for married men, that is the last thing that they want.  This is the first interview with a person who is not a douche.

  • BL1Y

    Advertising on television allows the to attract a sophisticated, educated, high-income member base?  Who knew watching Top Chef and Gossip Girl said so much about me!

  • Alma Federer

    BL1Y, I know of no TV show highlighting a man like you.  The 2 shows you reference do not relate in any way to a sloppy young lawyer interested in plugging any honey hole willing to spread.  The guys in Gossip Girl are either rich or 16 year old.  Which are you?

  • BL1Y

    Alma: With reading comprehension skills like that, I can assume that you must either be a) a secretary, or b) a rain-making partner.  The article states that the company advertises on TV to attract a sophisticated, educated, high-income member base.  I was simply pointing out that your average TV viewer is not sophisticated, educated, or high-income.  At what point did I ever compare myself to anyone on a show I watch?  And since when am I sloppy?  Horn dog, yes (though, again, if you worked on your reading, you’d have realized I have a girlfriend and am not out looking for another), but sloppy?  Come on.  Let’s stick to legitimate and accurate criticisms from now on.  There’s still plenty of material to work with.

  • Anonymous

    LOL@”we lawyers bust our ass @ work all day, and deserve top shelf babes”
    Are you high?

  • Bill Dugan

    I agree with Mr. Hump.  What bitter lawyer doesn’t work hard and after a hard day, shouldn’t he/she come home looking for something that is top shelf?  Why should any one of us (male or female) settle for mediocrity in the sack after being expected to turn out perfect work all day?  I say we should NOT, and agree that if we can’t get it at home, maybe this is not a bad place to find it.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, please–most lawyers are busted, out of shape, and above all, grade A tools who don’t deserve any ass at all, let alone “top shelf ass.” Stop living in a fantasy world–no one cares how many hours you billed last year.

  • DantheMan

    wow he was a bitter lawyer too!

    this guy ROCKS

  • Bill Dugan

    I respectfully dissent.  As a former college athlete, I have tried to maintain myself, and still turn a fair number of heads.  I now work on complex transactions, and believe me, could well go to pot with the late nites and take-out food brought in.  So on those occasions when I get home @ a reasonable hour (i.e. 8:30 pm), I’d like to see someone attractive, not some lazy-ass beeotch whose been doing nothing other than watching Oprah all day and supervising the au pair while eating everything the au pair went shopping for.  Therefore, if any of us are in such a situation, this guy has put a website up that addresses the issue.  Good for him.  Remember, I do not want to settle for mediocre women, and I would think that a hard-working good looking woman lawyer would not want a fat-lazy assed balding spouse who did nothing other than watch football with a beer gut and a wife beater undershirt on to gawk at her when she came home.  She wants better dick than that, too.

  • BL1Y

    There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.

  • Hot and Sophisticated

    Is this guy and site for real?  People really need a website to cheat?  Isn’t it easier to just smile a cute guy in the lobby of the Four Seasons?

  • Anonymous

    Only if you’re really hot.  If youre a pig, even if you wear lipstick, you are still a pig.  Our President Elect gave us this truism, Hot and Sophisticated.

  • Bittersweet

    I know it’s unreal that there is a site for cheating!!

  • Disgusted

    I think it is pretty hilarious that people who have spent their entire lives developing their intellect believe that the merit of their significant other can be reduced to appearance.  Even the most attractive person could succumb to illness, be disfigured in a car accident or become otherwise unworthy of love and affection according to the readers of this website.  The level of discourse on this site is absolutely appalling considering that its audience is allegedly composed of intelligent people.  You can buy all the degrees that universities offer, but apparently my mother was right when she said that you could not buy class… Now, let the comments about how horribly unattractive I must be begin…

  • BL1Y

    There’s a site full of pictures of cats with only mildly amusing captions and you’re surprised there’s a site for cheating?

  • Ex-BigLaw

    I’m not saying monogamy makes any sense for humans to begin with, but assuming you DO get married and believe in honoring your word and commitments, this guy’s rationalization for being a part of something pernicious is hilarious. 
    It’s like manufacturing bombs and saying “War has been around forever, people do it anyway, so I’m just producing more efficient weapons for people who would wage war even without me.”
    Maybe so, but you are certainly participating in, fostering, and profiting from evil.  The fact that people do evil even without you doesn’t absolve you of all responsibility for helping them do it.

  • Anonymous

    “I respectfully dissent”=toolish response that perfectly illustrates the point that lawyers don’t deserve choice tail unless, like Eliot Spitzer, they pay for it. Let me guess–you drive a 3-series BMW/Porsche Cayenne and talk loudly in restaurants about your taste in Mont Blanc pens?

  • Skeptical

    Why are the regular mysogynistic posters (e.g. Bill Dugan, BL1Y, Alex Hump, Al Dickman) readily assuming that this site offers “top shelf tail”? The guy only said the women who frequent the site are (1) soccer moms/desperate housewives, (2) career mistresses, and (3) young, attached/married women. If you really think those categories automatically equate to hot young things, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you … And if it’s anything like any other dating site, how can you assume that the subset of “top shelf tail” within those three categories will choose YOU among the myriad male “lawyers and bankers” also lookin’ for a date? Boy oh boy

  • BL1Y

    Skeptical: What have I said that is misogynistic?  And where did I say the site offers “top self tail”?  Thanks.

  • Skeptical

    BL1Y: You’re right. You never said anything about “top shelf tail,” and for lumping in you in with the rest, I apologize. As for being a mysoginist d-bag, I’ll reserve judgment after you explain to me what you meant by your comment #10. Thanks,

  • BL1Y

    Skeptical: Please learn how comment numbering on here works.  Also, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones,” is a pretty famous saying.  I’m surprised you’ve never encountered it before.  The message is that any woman who exercises, puts on make up, does her hair, and wears something nice will be (somewhat) attractive.  Please explain how this is degrading to women.  “All women have the potential to be attractive” is bad?

  • Anonymous

    What difference does it make?  Once you turn ‘em upside down, they all look alike!

  • BL1Y

    Please do some follow-up research on that.

  • SusieJ

    This guy made quite a unique departure from being a lawyer.  Interesting to hear that lawyers made up a big portion of the users. I am a lawyer but sure glad that I am not married to one.

  • AshleyMadison

    Ashley & Madison = Does this guy have two girls? Snort…


    WHINERS…I’m not in love, I thought marriage would be different, he/she is not the same person…please!!!


  • Anon

    Agree with AM below why even get married just stay single and have one unattached fling after another!!!!

  • Hannah Palindrome

    I checked out your site. LOL!

    Why do people attach their photos? If you’re going to cheat…HIDE YOUR FACE!


    First Rule! Learn to Cheat Correctly!

  • SeriouslyWTF

    it is so funny that this guy is completely unapologetic for facilitating cheating. Yeah cheating was around before you and it will be around long after you die but that doesn’t justify you making a safe haven for cheaters. That is like saying, hey just because I sold crack to that guy doesn’t mean I did anything wrong, I didn’t invent crack and if I didn’t sell it to him he would have gotten it somewhere else anyways. Bottom line is you are making money by helping people walk all over another person.