“I don’t think that you need to be an insider or a person of great insight or intelligence to arrive at the opinion that AM cares a lot more about profits than about people, including its own members.” Ashley Madison disputes that characterization, of course; in an interview with The Post, a company executive insisted that its advertised user numbers were genuine, and suggested that the hackers had released only selective records that, when taken together, threw off the gender averages.

(When The Post sampled 3,600 verified records belonging to Ashley Madison users in D. and Northern Virginia, it also found that women represented 15.6 percent of users.) He declined to elaborate on the fake-profile issue — which the company has previously blamed on outside spammers and scammers — or to provide any further data on Ashley Madison’s gender ratio, refusing even to confirm whether the company’s most recently announced gender statistics were still accurate.

Ashley Madison has long claimed, in triumphant news releases and slick, Web-ready graphics, that it is one of the few dating sites that really clicks with women.

“These numbers are being taken out of context,” the executive said, repeatedly.

“These criminals have no idea how our business works.

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Some of that has to do with openly misogynist marketing; some of it relates to women’s well-conditioned social and sexual roles; much of it has to do with the fact that being a rare woman on a site full of desperate, oversexed, uninhibited dudes is objectively terrible. And so he and a 28-person team, working in Global Personals’ vaguely named “admin” department, spent their work hours crafting very sexy, very fictional profiles and messaging users from them.

Profile-writers made roughly ,000 a year, with bonuses for hitting certain monthly subscription targets.

Hackers say they have posted the personal details of millions of people registered with the adultery website Ashley Madison.

But this massive data breach could have widespread implications on how we all use the Internet. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post) “There is, undoubtedly, widespread pseudo profiling and fake messages still going on in the industry,” Pitcher said.

Meanwhile, if you’re peddling run-of-the-mill, straight-laced dating, a la Match or e Harmony, you can just buy Facebook ads and run 10-second spots on TV.