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Ashley Madison insists it’s not a scam

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Ashley Madison says that women do in fact use its website and are even continuing to sign up, rejecting an analysis last week that said only a few thousand women ever used the site to send a message. It says that during the first half of 2015, the ratio of paying male members to active female members was 1.2 to 1 (men have to pay to send messages on the site; women can use it for free), which suggests a much more vibrant network. Ashley Madison also says that women sent 2.8 million messages during the last week alone. While that figure doesn't refute Gizmodo's analysis, you'd expect those millions of messages to represent more than a few thousand people.

Last week's activity may well be an anomaly

Over the past week, Ashely Madison says it's seen "hundreds of thousands" of new sign ups, including almost 87,600 women. That's surprising for a few reasons, not the least of which being that hackers the other week exposed private information on the site's existing 37 million users, and you'd expect no one to trust the site after that to properly facilitate discreet affairs. There has also been some talk of Ashley Madison misrepresenting its usage and making it seem like far more women use the site than are actually present, something that it's clearly seeking to refute with today's statement.

Of course, when considering the 2.8 million messages sent last week, it's worth remembering that this could be an anomaly. It isn't every week that Ashley Madison users are subject to a massive hack that very publicly exposes their presence on the site, and that could have easily driven usage. Likewise, it's possible that people signing up are doing so out of curiosity or research after the hack — perhaps even to view the profile of someone who they discovered was on it — so there's a big difference between new signups and active users. Even if Gizmodo's analysis is off, these figures don't prove that Ashley Madison is alive and well after the hack, just that it's still alive.