The hackers who broke into AshleyMadison.com, a meeting place for people seeking extra-marital affairs, recently made good on their threat, exposing their first hostage-victim, a Massachusetts man.
There are 37 million more quivering masses of flesh where he came from, and the people behind the compromise have vowed to release all of their customer information -- including sexual fantasies -- unless Avid Life Entertainment kills Ashley Madison and Established Men (a site where women can find wealthy sex partners that has been likened to an escort service), taking both sites "offline permanently in all forms."
According to the DCist, a private investigation app called Trustify is an early comer to the post-Ashley Madison hack bonanza. "We've been inundated with new customers since Ashley Madison came out," Trustify founder Danny Boice told the DCist. There are other industries that may well get a rise in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack. Here are 10 of the tragic winners.
1. Class-Action Lawyers
With a reported 37 million Ashley Madison users compromised, Avid Life Entertainment can expect a tsunami of complaints and plenty of lawsuits from newly divorced victims if the hackers make good on their threats to publish the pilfered records.
2. Divorce Lawyers
Even using the low end of the average cost of divorce, $15,000, this hack could prove a shot in the arm for divorce lawyers everywhere. A 2013 study found that 15% of marriages end because of an extramarital affair. A completely unscientific analysis would therefore mean that if 15% of Ashley Madison users were to get divorced, there would be about $83 billion in legal fees.
3. Criminal Lawyers
Adultery is illegal in 20 states. Here's a map to find out if you're going to need a criminal defense attorney.
4. Private Investigators
In addition to the uptick at Trustify, private investigators are going to have to work overtime finding out the who and the where of many a wayward spouse's misadventures.
5. Psychological Services
The situations that could result from the Ashley Madison exposure will put a premium on believable excuses, which is why psychiatrists and psychologists will be in high demand. Getting caught cheating is traumatic.... maybe not as traumatic as finding out someone you love has cheated on you. Either way, both parties could very likely benefit from some counseling - apart or together.
6. Restaurants & Bars
Your local eatery is the ideal place to "have the conversation" about an extramarital affair with your long-suffering spouse since they will be less likely to harm you in front of witnesses. Make sure you have a stiff drink before you sit down with your significant other.
For some people, nothing says "I'm sorry" like a giant rock. Millions of outed Ashley Madisonians might just be buying jewelry by the pound if and when they are exposed.
8. Real Estate
No one says "Get out and stay out" quite like a betrayed spouse. If the Ashley Madison user list goes public a whole lot of real estate brokers may just see a major payday.
9. New Car Sales
The newly relocated (or homeless) Ashley Madison user will likely find their spouse unwilling to share the family vehicle. Beyond that, cheaters may come home one day to find their prized Beemer with a shattered windshield. So car salespeople may well be seeing some nice commissions.
It's no secret that flowers are the international equivalent of a white flag in marriage. And if they don't work, they can easily be sent to a hospital or funeral home. Speaking of which... as angry and aggrieved as anyone caught up in this may be, let's please remember that violence will solve nothing here.
Let's hope that for the compromised Ashley Madison users, the site's "Life is short. Have an affair" motto doesn't become, "Be careful. Life may be shorter than you think."