Do you know what would come up in a Google search of your name? Try it sometime, you may be surprised. Imagine if you were ***** or Zac *****. Never heard of these people? That’s understandable – they really haven’t done anything newsworthy. If you were a prospective employer or maybe a prospective partner and you Googled either of them, you find both of these individuals tagged as cheaters on Cheaterville.
Cheaterville is the brainchild of former Marine James McGibney. McGibney first got the idea while serving overseas in the Marines. He wanted a way to help his fellow soldiers whose spouses or partners were cheating on them while the men were deployed. The site, launched on February 14, 2011 – yes, Valentine’s Day.
“Valentines Day is not a happy occasion for everyone in this world,” McGibney said. “Some people are reminded of someone who cheated on them and betrayed their trust.”
Here’s how it all works. You first sign up and certify that you are at least 18 years old. You then enter the full name and city of the cheater. This information is required. You then title the story and share the specifics. You have the ability to upload a picture of the cheater, and other information like age, marital status, eye and hair color, height, weight and tattoos. You then enter a security code, press the submit button and you’ve just outed a cheater. This is all done anonymously.
“When the alleged cheater is posted on Cheaterville, they usually find out within 24 hours,” McGibney said. “One of three things happens when they find out. They send us an email threatening to sue us if we don’t remove it immediately. They respond directly to the post and admit that they cheated and explain why they cheated. They respond directly to the post defending themselves…”
Besides outing cheaters, the website offers articles on various topics related to marriage and relationships. Titles such as “How important is Sex to a Marriage?, “E-motional affairs: How Facebook leads to infidelity,” and “Happy Couples Talk about Money” populate a list of over 130 articles available.
While visiting the site, you can view videos of various interviews, read press updates, purchase Cheaterville wear, take a cheater poll and play some stress-relieving games like “Sheen Shoot Out,” and “Whack a Cheat.” “Whack a Cheat” features the heads of Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, Brad Pitt and others. The object is just like the arcade game – hit as many in the head with the mallet as possible in the time allotted. Quite therapeutic.
Speaking of therapy, James McGibney says that everyday he feels like he’s providing a counseling service. He sees posts “go up in the morning, the cheater responding and apologizing in the afternoon, and the original poster taking down the post later that night.”
“It’s clear from reading enough of the posts on Cheaterville.com that some people never get over being cheated on,” McGibney said. “It’s the ultimate betrayal and will always bring out the raw emotion of the person posting the story.”
While you may expect to see an abundance of men being outed on the site, the majority are women. According to McGibney, about 76 percent of the cheaters posted on the site are women.
“What’s even more fascinating,” McGibney said, “is that women are posting other women as cheaters and then emailing the link anonymously to their husbands!”
Cheaterville.com is meant to promote fidelity and loyalty in a relationship. Approximately 26 states still have adultery laws on the books, with consequences ranging from fines to a felony. Most states don’t bother prosecuting because the laws are so outdated. The military, however, still prosecutes soldiers under Article 134. If found guilty of the offense, the soldier may receive a court-martial. It remains to be seen whether Cheaterville.comreinvigorates prosecutions for adultery.
But that doesn’t appear to be how many people view the website. It has been referred to as “a Jerry Springer train wreck that collided with JerseyShore.” Time magazine recently ran a story on Cheaterville.com that said the site is “angled as a sort of public service for the overly paranoid,” and “there’s always the mean-spirited entertainment factor of the site…” But, according to McGibney, most of the posts come from “middle to upper class people with an average age of 24 – 34.”
Whether you view Cheaterville.com as a site to warn others of cheaters, as an outlet for the betrayed to vent, or as trash-TV-meets-the-Internet, the site is sure to captivate and entertain – and maybe someday, save you from some heartache.
“We receive thousands of emails every day from people who have clearly stated that because of Cheaterville.com’s popularity, and the fear of being blasted for millions to see, that it’s actually made people think twice before cheating,” McGibney said.
Tammy Hansen is employed in the field of higher education, and will receive her degree in History/Journalism from Illinois State University in the spring of 2012. Aside from her career, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs and three grandchildren.