Sometimes a traffic spike comes for all the wrong reasons.
Hackers followed through with their threat last week and released the data of 33 million Ashley Madison users, including emails, street addresses and partial credit card information. The story spiraled out of control for the Canadian-based company, where internal emails leak showed “security was an afterthought.”
Police are now linking two suicides to the hack. D-list celebrities are being busted and U.S. users are planning to sue the company. Despite all of that, interest in the website is still growing, according to exclusive data from SimilarWeb.
Whether it’s intent of using the site to coordinate an extramarital hookup or simply curiosity, the data shows an increase in traffic and increase of advertising.
Here’s what we learned:
Desktop visits leaped 2 million within just one day.
Between Saturday (Aug. 22) and Sunday (Aug. 23), desktop visits jumped 100 percent. On Sunday, SimiliarWeb measured 4.2 million visits, an increase from roughly 2 million visits the day prior. In July, the site averaged a whopping 74.9 million visits, although the company says traffic is actually down 20 percent this month.
Lots more people are visiting it.
Not only did visits to the website increase, but so did time spent. Between Aug. 19 and 23, when the news of the hack garnered worldwide headlines, visits jumped 300 percent. Also, time spent on August 19 averaged just :57 seconds and increased to 2:50 four days later.
Usage of pay-per-click ads jumped 85 percent.
When it’s not taking out pricey billboards, Ashley Madison typically advertises using ads on other websites. For example, searching “Ashley Madison” on Google brings up an ad as the top result. The data shows that the company has increased pay-per-click spending on these type of ads by 85 percent since the beginning of the month compared to all of last July. Paid search traffic now accounts for 26.6 percent of traffic — an increase from 14.37 percent last month. (Ashley Madison has not returned Digiday’s request for comment about this.)
Other websites benefitted from the hack.
Sites scraping the seedy data for cheaters’ information also recorded high amounts of traffic after the news broke. Cynica.al, Trustify.info, HaveIBeenPwned.com saw their traffic increase from basically nothing to roughly a half of a million visits. Trustify.info racked up 736,000 visits, Cynic.al garnered 646,000 visits and HaveIBeenPwned.com collected 442,000 visits.