According to leaked emails, to create the bots, the staff utilized photos from what they described as "abandoned profiles" that were at least two years old.They also generated 10,000 lines of profile descriptions and captions."They're not the only ones using fake profiles," says Marc Lesnick, organizer of i Date, the industry's largest trade show. in mechanical engineering design from Stanford, Conru is among the smartest and most respected people in the online dating business.

For AFF, bots are a cop out, though the appeal of building them is obvious enough to Conru.

"If I wanted to boost our revenue and move to the Cayman Islands, we could probably double our revenue simply by using bots," he says.

In 2012, Doriana Silva, a former Ashley Madison employee in Toronto, sued Avid Life Media for $20 million complaining that she suffered from repetitive strain injury while creating over 1,000 sexbots — known within the company as "Ashley's Angels" — for the site.

The company countersued Silva, alleging that she absconded with confidential "work product and training materials," and posted pictures of her on a jet ski to suggest she wasn't so injured after all.

"And our bots would kick ass."he fact that AI con artists are up to such tricks isn't surprising or new.

But what's truly phenomenal is the durability of this online hustle, and the millions of saps still falling for it.

D., boot up the site of a top competitor, Fling, and demonstrate how, shortly after registering, they are wooed by what appear to be bots. "We doubt it really is Megan Summers."In an email, Fling owner Abe Smilowitz writes, "We absolutely don't use fake profiles and bots…Us and AFF are pretty much the only guys that don't." This could be true. "We still think they do."To keep out the bots of spammers and hackers on AFF, Conru, who launched the site shortly after getting his doctorate as a means to meet women, codes his own countermeasures and frequently checks user names and IP addresses for veracity.

With a Google image search, one of the women turns out to be pornstar Megan Summers. Any number of spammers and hackers might have created the profile with Summers' photo; it could be a housewife using the likeness to boost her appeal or conceal her identity. "It's a daily slog, going through hundreds of accounts every day evaluating them and deactivating them," he says.

(Both sides agreed to drop the suits early last year.) Despite the controversy, the company subsequently attempted to streamline its bot-creation process.