While cleaning out my Hushmail account (I’m going to my own .com address for the foreseeable future), I came across an e-mail I had sent to the Webmaster of a particular site requesting that he remove my unauthorized ad from a site. Curious about things, I re-checked that site and some of his other sites.

The point of this post is really simple: good or bad, karma will find you. The story concerns adult sites that steal content from escorts advertising online.

a little background on the matter

There are numerous escort “advertising” sites that steal escort’s ads from legitimate advertising sites. This fluffs up the content level of the illegal site in an attempt to look more appealing to pay to advertise on (if you’re an escort). I don’t like this practice and would contact a site as soon as I discovered myself somewhere I didn’t want to be. (Sometimes the sites brought me really great exposure for free, so I left the ads up.) Annoying, but not terrible. A lot of people have problems with the concept of copyrights on the Internet, not just adult Webmasters.

The sites that really get under my skin are the sites who take the escort’s contact information and pictures from her site or ad (I watermarked the hell out of my website photos but my ad photos weren’t marked), then sell memberships on their site in order for potential clients to access the information and/or extra pictures. Usually these sites charged $20 a month.

This is infuriating. Like most escorts, my contact information was free on my site and my legitimate ads. Like most escorts, I had a free picture gallery on my site. (Some escorts also have a paid-membership-only photo gallery.) These Webmasters see all this “free” content lying around (never mind that it is legally copyrighted by the original creators of said content), take it and use it to make money for themselves. I’ve never heard of them offering any escort a kickback. I know I was never offered a chance to enjoy the proceeds they earned from the unauthorized use of my information and pictures.

Adding insult to injury, they never got my wording correct. They would change the wording to suit them and it was always poorly edited. Sometimes they would give out my phone number too.

I discovered how much I hated answering the phone just a couple months into escorting. So I removed my phone number from all ads and had it posted only on the Contact page of my site. It was mainly there for existing clients, but I still received more calls than I liked dealing with. Please note: this aversion to phone calls is very unusual for mid-range escorts. Just one of my quirks. (I still don’t like doing business on the phone.)

When I discovered myself on an illegal site, I’d request to be removed by sending an e-mail. I’d remind them that I did not authorize my ad to be on their site. It always worked. Sometimes I’d make a public discussion board post as well because I would see other escorts on these sites, escorts that I knew didn’t authorize their information to be on there either.

now that you have the background

A particular ring of sites came to my attention after I made a trip to St. Louis and discovered that I was getting phone calls referring to two Web sites I’d never heard of. I checked them out and they were terrible, junk sites with a patched-together profile of me, along with a blurb at the bottom of my ad “See more photos of Amanda! Join today!” (The sites were run by the same people and were almost identical.)

I dispatched an e-mail as soon as I found an address on one of the crappy Web sites. Then another. I wasn’t getting any responses. So I tracked down the Whois info of the site owner. There was a name, address and phone number. I first tried the site administrator e-mail and got nowhere. Then I made a phone call and talked to a surprised-sounding man. My ad was removed. (I was still getting phone calls from their damn ads and I was only a couple weeks away from retirement at this point.)

I did some Googling. They had simply moved my profile from their St. Louis sites to a Texas one. I started with the e-mails again. I made an angry public post about this site. I wanted to smear them so that they couldn’t make any more money. Before I could get to the phone call stage, my ad was removed. I think it was the public board post that did the trick.

Since then, I’ve Googled variations of my advertising information and have watched the pages disappear. I don’t believe anything is left except public board posts that I’ve made. But when I saw this e-mail sitting in my Sent folder, I couldn’t resist checking those three sites to make sure my photos weren’t being used under another name.

here comes the karma

The Texas site is still up and running but I couldn’t find myself there. The two St. Louis sites that I was on are gone. In their place is a message that the sites were shut down due to a Federal court order.

After doing what checking I could, I can only assume that it was due to USC section 2257 being enforced. In other words, they got in trouble for either posting pictures of someone under 18 or because they did not have model releases (and proof of age) on file. Because their sites were almost completely populated with stolen photos, they could not have had a single model release on file. (The main site has several pages about USC 2257 so I can only assume they got slapped pretty hard with it.)

Almost a year ago USC 2257 started being used to shut down legitimate sites (like erotic story sites). I wanted to blog about the sudden crackdown but never finished my research. However, I’m very happy to see the law doing what it was intended to do. This doesn’t mean that USC 2257 still isn’t being used in ways that I don’t agree with.

I have to wonder how the authorities became aware of this site. Was it an irate escort? A parent? A cyber-police officer? I couldn’t find any news about the incident, however, I’m sure that the site owners are going to remember it well!

I’m dancing on their Web-grave.

15 thoughts on “proof of karma

  1. I completely understand your frustrations!

    I had a similar problem to deal with a few months ago when I came across some of my photos being used on an escort advertisement by a completely different person under a different name. Luckily, it was not hard having the false advertisement removed.

    I’m a firm believer in karma and am sure that such poor business practices by some individuals will eventually catch up to them, sooner probably than later.

  2. Kate,

    Ah, yes! The old mix-n-match method of stealing. I had some problems with that as well. I’m glad you got the issue resolved with little fuss.

    By the way, have liked your site for some time now.

    XX
    Amanda

  3. It is frustrating when you have a single account which you can manage. You hope that after you remove your content calls and emails will go away. But they keep coming and it’s not the site that you initially started using. How does it get out so quickly?

  4. Crystal,

    Well, that what this post was about. Your information gets out because others steal it for use on their own site. It seems to happen more quickly if you advertise on a major site like Eros. But any site can be trolled for content, unfortunately.

    XX
    Amanda

  5. If you’re using someone to advertise for you or if you’re not reading terms properly then you can pretty much be sure that your ads are going to end up everywhere.

    Then you can blame webmasters all you want. Maybe they have no idea that stolen photos are going in their site…

    The point is, you are getting into this kind of thing, so it’s a good idea to keep a low profile. Use a phone number that you can change, use a random email that is not your personal best one, so that this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

    I’m one of the webmasters and I consider myself fair since I don’t charge much and I don’t have anything shady going. And, “all the time” I get legal threat emails me to put their ads down. I can understand the frustration, but little creepy, dont you think…

  6. Mark,

    Yes, we’re all aware that no matter what we do, anything we put online will likely end up somewhere else. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize not to take anything from anyone else online without getting their written permission first — or asking for them to submit said info. A lot of people online are proving they aren’t even that polite (and this is all over the Internet, not just escort-related stuff).

    If you’re an adult webmaster it’s really easy to make sure that your advertisers are legit: have them submit their ad info to you. If you only accept submissions and/or payment, chances are very good your advertisers are there because they want to be there. Which is why I don’t understand why you get threatening emails. Unless they forget that they posted an ad on your site.

    On the other hand, I have had other advertisers steal my photos and use them on their ads. I don’t threaten the website displaying my stolen photos (if I know the site itself did not take my photos), I simply show the site my website with original photos and info. That will do the trick and the false ad in another name gets taken down.

    Changing your email constantly is not something I’d recommend for escorts. It makes establishing your online identity a little harder. It’s best to have one public work email that is used for everything (having a private, spam-free work email might be neccessary). In this economy, keeping a low profile is kind of the opposite of what most escorts want.

    XX

  7. OMG This is so frustrating! I have to change my number tomorrow because http://www.eroticmugshots.com have me blasted on their site under three different ads that link to adultfinder. I only advertise on backpage and like control over when I put them up and take them down. Now when I get a new number I won’t post it on the ad anymore. I tried contated the idiot of this ite bt theres only a email addresss and NO REPLY! This is really irritating

  8. Tamara — Love how they call themselves “mugshots”. Yeah, that’s erotic all right. Especially when the site makes sure to say that the women listed are advertising for massage and sex. I think they WANT to get ladies busted. (The regular pix lead to the text that the lady posted on BP.)

    LOTS of sites scrape Backpage content.

    Only thing I would do if I HAD to post a number online is get a throwaway number. Either something like GoogleVoice (and forward it to your phone) or just a Tracfone.

    XX

  9. Thats what I did I’ve been using a disposable number,family and friends don’t have.

    I finally got them to take it down after doing some more research and fond the right perspn,after they replied I reemed him! In one of these ads they said I do anal for $15 and for 30 minutes of my time it’s $60,not only could this get us in trouble but put us in danger! I told him what a piece of crap he is for pttting the ladies in jeapardy. I have a very discreet ad on backpage and these sites just ad whatever they want to say. He actually wrote me back saying it wan’t stealing. LOL I wrote yes it is stealing when you take somones ad without their permission and ad your own words.What if we ran into a nut job that wanted what the ad said? I screen calls very well and if they sound at all off I wouldn’t see them. I certainly don’t want false info on it.Thanks for writing about this I had to vent!

  10. I am having the exact same problem with some information I once posted. Unfortunately, my emails are not working. Where did you post your public blogs because I would love to have those illegal websites to remove my information. The websites I am having trouble with are www. eroticmugshots.com (which is attached to adult friend finder) and http://www.cityxguide.com. Any advice on how I can get these websites to remove the stolen information?

  11. Tamara,
    Since you were able to get the eroticmugshot webpage they had on you down, do you remember who you contacted so that I can remove mine? I have tried contacting Adult Friend Finder as well as the email on the eroticmugshot page but I get no response or “We are investigating the issue” and now they blocked my email address so I can not email them anymore. I could definitely use some help on this one.

  12. Lexy — Start by Googling the domain name to find out info, as well as going to Network Solutions and using their WHOIS function to get info (I like the amount of info they give). You can also find out who their host is and their contact info. After you collect as much info as you can on the domain/host: start calling and emailing. No ranting, just make sure they understand you know which laws they are breaking and they need to remove your stuff. Make sure to give them direct links to the pages you want removed.

    It’s a start. Then you might consider getting a lawyer involved.

    XX

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