Every morning, the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews sift through the a.m. drive-time chatter to bring you the best interviews with coaches, players, and personalities across the sports landscape. Today: Noel Biderman, AshleyMadison.com founder.
Biderman joined Gambo & Ash on KTAR in Phoenix to talk about the genesis of his business, his background as a sports attorney and how that exposure to athletes helped inspire him to create the site, how the changing media climate has made it extremely risky for athletes to philander, how an environment like Ashley Madison is safer for athletes than the other avenues they typically pursue, and other interesting topics that only an entrepreneurial former sports attorney could speak so convincingly about. God Bless America.
On how the idea for the website came about and on how he didn't get in loads of trouble—ethically, if not legally-–for it:
You mean in trouble with my wife? No, listen, it was a business decision. 30 percent of people going onto singles dating sites and a ton that still go on to social networks, they're already attached and they're using these as playgrounds. And it seemed to me like there could be a marketplace for a community of like-minded people. That was the genesis behind Ashley Madison.
On his background as a sports attorney and how being in contact with unfaithful athletes was part of the inspiration behind starting the site:
Yeah, what a lot of people have speculated was that it was some sort of personal playground. I've never seen any guy have to spend millions of dollars to create that kind of connection with women so I hope that I'm not that desperate. But really, I do think part of the inspiration was, I don't know if you guys know but I was a sports attorney before I was running Ashley Madison, and maybe on some level knowing that just about every one of my clients was a philanderer. Not to spill the beans like that agent who just did a tell all for Sports Illustrated. That was my experience too. It was just part of the sports culture – these guys were just not able to be faithful.
On just how much things have changed for athletes in terms of their privacy in the digital media landscape:
And I think you're industry has changed. It used to be very consolidated. Now there's the Deadspins of the world, TMZ's, that's what they're all about. So the opportunity for them to go and publish these pictures, even if it's speculative, it's going to happen. A more quote-unquote organization wouldn't have taken that risk. So now you have non-risk averse media out there willing to take a risk saying hey we think this could be this guy, and are willing to circulate it. And I think Deadspin had three million people read that article the first day it was out.
On how it's no longer safe for athletes to even hook up with strippers and call girl types who once were thought of as safe cheating partners that were highly unlikely to rat you out:
Of course it's not. Gloria Allred who's an incredibly powerful attorney out there and is happy to help these women get what she feels they deserve, and so you have to be crazy to go down that route. Again, the success of my service, or what I can relate to, is there's almost a mutually assured destruction element to it. Here's two married people connecting; you've got stuff to lose, I've got stuff to lose, let's keep this on the down-low.
That's part of it. I find it hard to believe that these athletes in this day and age really think they're going to get away with it. I'm not saying they're justified in doing it. I think Barkley had a good point in the interviews he's been doing in saying how is this even news, athletes have been cheating left, right and center. That's between him and his partner. But it is. We're curious about it. I don't think we should be aghast it happens so frequently. But the bottom line is these guys are away from their families, they're under extreme pressure to succeed, and is it any wonder that in that environment this thing happens all the time? No, I think you've got to be crazy to think otherwise."
On how it's absurd to think that the rash of athletes being exposed recently will convince some, or even any, athletes to reconsider their behavior:
Of course not! It seems like Tiger Woods needs to get back to cheating if he wants to get his mojo back. On some level, high performance athletes need to believe in themselves beyond belief. They really do. I think we've seen it. Any fan, you guys are fans. They really believe it. The Kobe Bryant's, they believe in themselves so intensely it's unbelievable.
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