For a Canadian website whose premise is to hide the truth, it’s certainly revealed more of it than anyone could have imagined.

Ironically, the biggest deception Ashley Madison purveyed is what it was actually doing to its own customers.

But we’ll get to that. Let’s first review how it all came to light:

Yeah, right.

Accessing the dark web is hardly a dark-alley secret.

Tor home page

That’s where the hackers posted Ashley Madison’s files, and that’s where the real con was discovered:

Among the reporters who hit the dark web was Gizmodo’s Annalee Newitz, who uncovered how Ashley Madison was deploying its deception.

The company is clearly preying on those who want to believe. It’s an incredibly powerful draw that’s been around much longer than cyberspace.

This sordid state of affairs does carry a powerful message, though, for those who wish to enjoy the benefits of the Dot Com lifestyle aside from the obvious morals of transparency and truth.

It’s this: quality communication with your customers is paramount.

Automation in e-commerce is a key element in my mantra for Dot Com success. However, I believe its purpose is to tend to the daily tasks and presentation of my business and not to interact with visitors and customers.

In fact, automation gives me more time to correspond personally.

customer satisfaction

Ashley Madison’s fembots were programmed to provide canned responses to paying customers. It’s an extreme example, but it underscores the folly of ignoring those who are providing life’s blood to your business.

Follow-up and support should always be the top priorities in any business. Besides being the right thing to do, they’re also facilitating repeat business. Far and away, that’s where at least 67% of your revenues should be generated.

Ashley Madison should have known better than to rely on bots. And they can’t say the warning signs weren’t there:

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