Oct 26, 2013

Social media campaign to block Ashley Madison website

Social media campaign to block Ashley Madison website. Ashely Madison, the dating website that facilitates hook-ups between married couples, is not welcome in Singapore, Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said Friday.

In a Facebook post, Chan said, "I’m against any company or website that harms marriage. Promoting infidelity undermines trust and commitment between a husband and wife, which are core to marriage."

His comments come soon after a local Facebook group calling itself Block Ashley Madison was formed in response to the news on Wednesday that Ashely Madison was planning to expand into Singapore.

"I’m heartened by the responses of many Singaporeans who also spoke up against such website. This reflects the significance we all place in commitment and fidelity in marriage," Chan said.

The Block Ashley Madison page attracted more than 3,000 likes in less than 48 hours, with an overwhelming majority of the commenters calling for it to be blocked or banned.

The aim of the page is to "gather sound-minded people to express our objection to the establishment of the shameless company -- Ashley Madison -- that thrives on shattered marriages".

The launch of the controversial site, which works like a match-making site except it is targeted at married couples, was reported by My Paper on Wednesday.

Ashley Madison boasts users from all over the world, from countries such as Mexico, Hong Kong, Brazil and Spain. The site is ranked among the top 2,000 sites in the US.

The Canada-based site has courted controversy since its founding in 2001 with its colourful and bold advertising campaigns. The slogan on its main page is 'Life is short. Have an affair.'

Its marketing efforts have often hit road blocks, mostly because of the nature of the site.

In 2009, Ashley Madison tried to buy $200,000 CAD worth of advertising on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) streetcars. If it had been approved, the streetcars would have ads on them featuring the site's slogan.

The offer was shot down after five of the six TTC commissioners sitting on the advertising committee voted to reject it.

In 2010, the site made an US $25 million offer to buy the naming rights of New Meadowlands stadium in New Jersey, US. The stadium's proposed new name was AshleyMadison.com stadium. The naming rights eventually went to an insurance company, MetLife, in 2011.

Despite the bad publicity — or lack of — the site is still expanding. It launched in Japan in July and in Hong Kong in August. It is now continuing its push in Asia, targeting Singapore as its next market. It was very well received in Japan, with 70,000 members signing up within four days of the site's launch.

In an interview with My Paper, Mr Brian Liu, a member of Singapore’s National Family Council, said that the site had the potential to ruin "the foundations of a family".