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Ashley Madison's $19 'full delete' option made the company millions

And it may not have even worked

Ashley Madison's hackers have already claimed that the site's "delete everything" service, which charged its affair-seeking users $19 to remove any trace of their presence on the site, wasn't entirely effective. And now internal documents leaked as part of the massive breach have shown that the company profited heavily thanks to the disingenuous promise of "full delete." According to BuzzFeed News, one memo points to Ashley Madison having made $1.7M in incremental revenue in 2014. Ignoring taxes and other potential costs, the numbers indicate nearly 90,000 users turned to the feature in hopes of erasing their entire history and activity on the site.

Data from the hack is now easily searchable, so those people don't need go far to confirm whether Ashley Madison followed through on permanent account deletion — or if the company instead pocketed the $19 and profited from a false promise. In total, the Ashley Madison data dump covers 36 million accounts. "It was ALM that failed you and lied to you," the group behind the attack has told Ashley Madison's users. "Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you'll get over it."

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