According to AVG’s Q3 report on Android app performance, not only has normal activity been restored to the Ashley Madison cheating site in the wake of the theft and distribution of 32 million of its members’ email addresses and other confidential details, but the publicity afforded to the existence of cheating-specific dating sites seems to have given the entire ‘digital infidelity’ sector a notable boost.

The fall and rise of Ashley Madison in 2015

The fall and rise of Ashley Madison in 2015

The report’s statistics on the Ashley Madison user base shows a fairly constant decline for the cheat-site’s Android user base from the new year down to the critical hacking event in July, with figures climbing back up towards Christmas season 2015 (though of course this may well be related to the higher incidence of cheating at Yuletide).

More interesting is that even though Ashley Madison’s figures seem to have recovered to normal levels in spite of the revelations about the massive gender imbalance among its members and the unexpectedly high robot count, subsequent increased take-up of rival services such as MiuMeet and AnastasiaDate has risen notably – beyond the point where the rise could be accounted for as ship-jumping from terrified AM users.

MiuMeet, saw an uplift in usage from 50% (before July) to 73% (August an onwards); and AnastasiaDate even went from 11% to 60% in October. Bottom line: most users have returned to AshleyMadison or even switched to other similar platforms.’

In effect not only does the Ashley Madison PR disaster seem not to have hurt the site’s traffic, but rather to actually have benefited the field of digital cheating in general. The only logical explanation seems to be that many potential customers who had been unaware of the existence of cheating sites were ‘activated’ by exposure to the scandal – and possibly also by the earlier Adult Friendfinder breach – and have gone on to swell the market in this, its busiest time of year.

AVG calculates activity based on statistics about whether an installed app is actually being used, as well as general installation stats.

The report shows a few other variations on Q2 2015, increased showings from the Asian messaging scene and a strong new entry from Microsoft’s Outlook app, which storms the top 10 on no less than two counts, as a significant contributor to both battery drain and phone performance.