Would you invest in a website that encourages infidelity?

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As a dating service meant specifically for infidelity, AshleyMadison is certainly one of the more dubious websites out there, which is probably why the company itself has named its founder, Noel Biderman, the most hated man on the Internet. Indeed, Biderman has received his fair share of criticism over the website, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been successful. In fact, things are going so well that the company may be going public in the near future, but will people actually want to invest in it? 

Everyone told Noel Biderman not to start his company, AshleyMadison, an internet dating site for infidelity. His parents, friends, lawyers he’d worked with— all of them said no. Then his wife finally asked if he was serious about the idea. When he said yes, she gave him the go ahead. “If you want to test the validity of your relationship, ask your significant other about getting into the infidelity space,” Biderman says. “If she stands by you.. you probably have a really solid partnership on your hands.” Nearly 15 years ago, Biderman launched AshleyMadison. Since then he has succeeded in building up a large business and reputation. BusinessWeek once described him as “possibly evil” and Biderman’s own company has (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) billed him as “the most hated man on the Internet.” In reality, Biderman, 43, is a mess of contradictions: He is a happily married man from a family of happily married couples running a website to help married people cheat because he believes some societal change is coming.

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