Hookup potential: 4/5 Features: 3/5 Design: 5/5 Content: 4/5
- Straight-up dating agency for people looking for affairs and casual relationships
- Direct and to the point. You get a slew of profiles when you search according to proximity, and none of them seem fake.
- Simple, functional design. Just what you need and nothing else.
The Full Story:
This is a nice, easy website for people looking to hook up locally, particularly if it’s for an extra-marital tryst. Ashley Madison’s concept is “a dating agency online”. After logging in, the main options presented are to: open your mail, update your profile, or search for profiles. There are no bothersome ads, no link to this and that. There isn’t even any of the harping cams and videos upsell advertising that many adult dating websites have.
What you see is what you get. Take the search for example. You can do a simple or advanced search. With advanced search, you can filter for fields. You can remove the “attached” people from your results page, if you are only looking for singles, or you can search for them exclusively, if you’re after the thrill of a fling.
Your search results in a list of profiles. You will see the basics elements of the profiles there, such as picture, location, age, what they’re looking for, and their current relationship status. For each result, you’ll see if the person’s online or not. You have an option to immediately chat with those online, if the person isn’t online you can message her or send her an online gift using credit points, which you purchase—a slightly different model than the subscription one used by most site. (A good model, we think—you only pay for what you use.) Profiles also have a private “showcase” link; you will only see the photos in here if you have permission from the showcase owner.
And that’s it. That’s basically the website.
Ashley Madison boasts a higher success rate in terms of hookups and affairs instigated than most other sites; the lack of community chat, webcams, and porn may be the main reasons why. Contact here is one-on-one, focused, personal, and direct. People here know what they want and are determined to get it.
For example, when you send a gift, there’s a standard flirty note there, and a field where you can add your own message. You are discouraged from sending random gifts to random people, because every gift you send costs you credits. When you “wink” at someone, you need to let them know what your wink means. There’s practically no way to avoid getting straight to the point. When you find someone and contact them you’re almost forced to let them know right away what you’re after. To me, that’s how an adult dating site should work. No games.
As for the design, the website is easy to navigate. Your standard links are those to your email, the profile search, and the links to update your profile or account. There’s no confusion as to where you’d need to go.
When you need to contact someone on your search results, you just go into their profiles, and chat, message, or give a gift. These are the only interaction allowed within this dating service, and it’s enough.
Like the site itself, the design is functional, straightforward, and clean – the only thing that bugged me visually was the “100% Affair Guaranteed” banner.
This banner promotes a paid service of the site (it’s an upsell). For almost $300, Ashley Madison Agency guarantees that you’ll hook up with someone when you use their website – so long as you undertake to chat with someone, message someone, and give gifts to someone a certain number of times per month for three months. Failure to do so voids the guarantee. You don’t get anything extra with this – it’s just a guarantee. Unless you’re a real troglodyte I’m pretty sure you’d be able to achieve the same result without the guarantee.
The thing is the banner is shoved in your face every time you load a page. Literally, they show the banner every time they get a chance. And it’s not like you can just click on the banner to close it, or choose to hide it. It stays there until you move to another page. It starts to feel irritating and intrusive.