Do you know Ashley Madison? How about Noel Biderman? Not ringing any bells? Okay, I’ll give you a hint: they’re kind of the same person. You see Noel Biderman is the dude that went and founded a website to help folks cheat on their spouses. He named this “service” AshleyMadison.com. The story goes that in choosing the name, Noel took the two most popular girls names in the US at the time – Ashley and Madison – and then simply put them together. Pretty smart, huh? I’m fairly certain the main reason was that a girl’s name is a lot better at drawing in the ever important chick quotient an overloaded sausage-site like AshleyMadison so desperately needs. I mean, come on, what girl in her right mind would even log on to naughtyhookupswithNoelBiderman.com? And so it goes. Noel does his level best to collect a vig on the baseline depravities of horny men and women without having to slap anyone around. He’s sort of like a pimp without the bling. But he could still wear bling if he wants to. Maybe he does. Who would know?
Anyway, of late, ashleymadison.com has been quite aggressive at practicing a growing, and increasingly pervasive, form of advertising that I have dubbed leechvertising. Now, while I doubt I’ll be acquiring any Marshall McLuhan-like fame anytime soon (or even Doug Coupland for that matter) I will nonetheless hereby state unequivocally that I and I alone officially coined said term and that anyone else using it from here on out can suck it – it’s mine! All mine! So, leechvertising (patent pending) is where an individual or business of marginal and/or limited popularity “leeches” onto another entity of exponentially greater popularity in order to garner increased attention. It’s kind of like seeing Brad Pitt in a bar and running over to dump your beer on him in hopes that others will notice you. Think sloppy seconds for the corporate class.
The latest bit of leechvertising practiced by AshleyMadison.com is their “offer” of $1 million dollars (insert Dr. Evil pinky by side of mouth if you’re playing along at home) for anyone providing proof of having taken NFL quarterback Tim Tebow’s virginity. Classy, no?
Oddly enough, it’s become well known that sports star Tebow is one of most famous “virgins” in the USA. Now I don’t really know if the rest of us having that knowledge is more Tebow’s fault or that of an increasingly irrelevant press mopping up and then broadcasting whatever sordid details they can get their greasy hands on for web hits but either way, one man’s sexual status has become another’s entrepreneurial exercise.
According to the The Daily Caller , Mr. Biderman believes it’s only natural that Tebow should give up such a thing as virginity: “Sports and sex (and of course, infidelity) go hand in hand. If Mr. Tebow is indeed abstaining from adult relationships, I would encourage him to find a nice lady or two and enjoy his youth and fame as much as possible.” Gee, thanks Noel. What a mensch.
He continues, “We are beyond the days where pre-marital sex has a social stigma, and it is my hope that soon we will also feel the same about infidelity. I guarantee that no man of Tim Tebow’s stature could survive a season in New York without succumbing to the temptations of the city.”
So, basically the deal is that any enterprising young woman who feels like a cool million bucks only has prove she or someone she knows did the deed with the athletic Christian. I assume this means provable photos, samples (for the record, ewww!) or perhaps getting oneself pregnant in some appropriately verifiable way. Now, when you get down to it, AshleyMadison has about as much chance of ever having to pay off on this challenge as Newt Gingrich did of becoming president (for the record, ewwww again....) so it’s a win-win for them. They know that every journalistically handicapped news outlet loves a manufactured story to drive traffic and they need the gobs of free attention. Hello leechvertising. It’s too perfect to ignore – at least it used to be.
Personally, I’m growing really tired of this stuff. Every time I turn around it seems like some brand or person is starting some BS public feud or squawk-fest for no other reason than to force me to look at them. (see Trump, Donald - a particularly egregious offender). It’s just so schoolyard pathetic to keep using such ridiculous means to get attention. Why not do something on your own instead of spending your life sucking on everyone else’s? Doesn’t karma mean anything to these drooling idiots?
To be fair, I guess when you start a site like Ashley Madison you’re not worrying a whole helluva lot about things ever coming back on you. You’re truly living for the moment. Nothing more than what you can get out of today. In itself, that really is kind of sad. Isn’t life at least a little more sacred than that? What I just can’t figure out though is if it’s the attitude that leads to the leechvertising or if the leechvertising leads to the attitude. Maybe the boys at TMZ could do a documentary on Biderman and get the bottom of it. I’m sure it will be tasteful.