As the success of the online dating industry continues to expand exponentially, affiliate marketers are determining which dating sponsors have the best program to monetize their traffic. AshleyMadison.com has earned a solid reputation over the last seven years among consumers and affiliates alike. Some webmasters may be unaware that Ashley Madison was acquired two years ago by Internet marketing powerhouse Avid Dating Life, a company many people have never heard of with a portfolio that now includes some of the best-known sites on the Internet.
“The Ashley Madison website has changed quite slowly over the years, but we have recently rolled out a new look and feel that has gotten great results,” said Tela Andrews, vice president of sales for AshleyMadison.com. “Ashley Madison launched in 2002 and was acquired in 2007 by Avid Dating Life. We have since acquired a number of marquee dating sites including HotOrNot.com in 2008 and most recently Swappernet.com and Eroticy.com.”
The AshleyMadison.com affiliate program includes industry-leading payouts of up to $200 per sign-up with no minimum number of joins, or 70 percent on any first time purchase. For webmasters with female traffic the program offers a $25 bonus for each new female member in addition to the standard rates offered for male sign-ups! The Ashley Madison dating site uses a free-to-join business model for consumers and requires members to buy “tokens” through the site, which can be used to purchase premium services such as Chat, Member E-mail, and Gifting.
Walking the fine line between mainstream and adult has become a key element of the success of most dating sites. The private urges of the public to find discreet methods for cultivating clandestine romances have always existed, but coupling those urges with an easy-to-use interface and the global reach of the Internet has spawned a multi-billion dollar digital industry.
“The biggest challenge that we have faced is marketing our program to affiliates,” said Andrews. “AshleyMadison.com plays in a gray area. We are a mainstream brand with frequent appearances on shows such as Dr. Phil, Tyra Banks, and Good Morning America, as well as our Super Bowl ads, which got a lot of attention, but affiliates in the adult business are generally unaware of us. We are a great consumer brand and now we need to become an equally powerful B2B brand.”
Allowing consumers to enjoy a guilt-free environment where they can meet other like-minded adults without public social pressures has proven to be an exceptional lure for online commerce. In an age when affiliate marketers and site owners are constantly dealing with issues of content piracy and free-video tube sites, the fact that dating communities are inherently unique makes them difficult or impossible to replicate — which allows the luster of a brand name like AshleyMadison.com to remain intact nearly a decade after it was created while video paysites are struggling to maintain exclusivity of their own content.
When asked about the B2B side of the business, Mr. Andrews mentioned that, “The affiliate program has remained relatively unchanged over the years. We have recently added webmaster referral capabilities to let webmasters make money by recruiting their friends into the program. Also, we are working on a master affiliate program that will allow webmasters to promote AshleyMadison.com and all of our other dating sites from a single program. This should be completed before the end of the year.”
With dozens of dating sites on the market these days ranging from mainstream options with frequently televised ads to decidedly adult dating services with an eye toward the kinkier end of the market, AshleyMadison.com remains positioned almost perfectly at the center of the spectrum.
The age of the site, existing portfolio of 3,775,000 “like-minded members” according to their index page, and ability to cross-market the site through both mainstream and adult affiliate channels suggests that it is one Web property destined to not only survive tough economic times, but to prosper in spite of them. The slogan on the site is simple (“Life Is Short. Have An Affair.”), and the affiliate program affords webmasters the opportunity to monetize the affairs of others. If ever there was a safe bet to make in online adult marketing, AshleyMadison.com is trying to prove that extramarital infidelity is it.
This article originally appeared in the July 2009 issue of AVN Online. To subscribe, visit AVNMediaNetwork.com/subscribe.