It all depends on how much of your dating/affair-having history you want to scrub from the site, explains Ars Technica. One member was confused when he went to delete his profile, and found an option to “hide” it, removing his profile info and photos from the site, or “delete” it for a fee, drubbing even messages he’d sent to other users as well.
The difference is that users who opt to hide their profiles are in essence, just deactivating those profiles. You can always return and resurrect the profile when you’re ready to use it again. In those cases, messages and photos you’ve sent to others act like email, and can’t be taken back.
But if you pay the $19 for a full delete, all those messages can be wiped and your information totally dumped from Ashley Madison’s servers.
“We’ve developed a product where we’ll go back in time and remove photos and conversations that you’ve had,” CEO Noel Biderman told Ars. “We feel it’s more than fair to charge a nominal fee to take that away.”
“I can’t tell you how many people delete their profile and come back and say ‘oh that was a mistake,’” Biderman adds, noting that “almost 30 percent of the people that delete their accounts come back and ask us ‘oh can we reinstate our account?’”
It just goes to show it’s always good to check out all your options — even if there’s one very prominently displayed, red-flagged, pushy message telling you to pay money for something that should be free.