One of the remarkable achievements of Howard Stern is how he built his career despite being shunned by many mainstream advertisers. Coke, McDonalds—all the family brands shunned him (though, as he has pointed out, they do more to poison America than he ever did). On terrestrial radio he attracted mostly B level advertisers—jewelers, credit companies, etc. (Sit n Sleep is A Level—because they advertise in The Jewish Journal too). On satellite, with its smaller audience, he’s had to go to level C: back hair shavers, a product that deoderizes your nether regions, and the latest, Ashley Madison, an online service that allows married men and women to meet up for discreet affairs.
Howard has done some great interviews with the founder of Ashley Madison, Noel Biederman, really digging into how it works, the morality of it, Biderman’s own family life. And it turns out the company, perhaps due to its Stern advertising, has been a phenomenal success. Our singles logger Ilana Angel read a Bloomberg Business Week story on it., and then went online under an alias to learn more about the men who populate the site. She writes:
I was intrigued and decided to take a look. I registered an account using false information. The only good thing to came out of my snooping around is that for 48 hours, I was 5’6”, 120 pounds, had long blonde hair, green eyes, lived in New York City, and was married. Good times.
I filled out the basic information needed to get started and began to look around. Oh. My. God. Within 10 minutes I was bombarded with messages. By messages of course I mean men offered to “make me feel like I have never felt in my life, with the light touch only they could give me”.
The most fascinating thing was that half of the men included full frontal naked photos of themselves. Important to note these were not just Polaroid’s people took for fun. There were some in positions that clearly required a yoga background, and someone else to take the photo.
Who took these pictures? If most of the men on this site are in relationships, then did they ask their partners or wives to take the photo? Are there women out there who feel so safe in their intimate relationships that they can take these types of pictures of their men?
Ilana isn’t shy. She has opinions. She finds the whole thing loathesome. Howard himself seems a bit skeeved by the whole thing. Despite his reputation among non-listeners, he preaches loyalty and monogamy in his relationships on the show. I don’t doubt, at the end of the day, where he stands on this, but I do admire that throughout his career, Howard has made the best of the advertising he has been able to get, and has been fiercely loyal to them—a good lesson on how to succeed in the media business.
Read Ilana’s piece here.