moving past the backpage shutdown

Welp, that was inevitable.

When I was touring a few months ago, and Carl Ferrer, the CEO of Backpage, was arrested, I had about $800 of credit in my account. I started spending and not replenishing because I knew BP wouldn’t last much longer. As of today, I have less than $200 in my account. I have no way of getting that money back, that I know of, but at least it’s still there and it’s not very much, really.

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verified vs reviewed

The Suzy Hamilton scandal begs tons of comment, mostly about the civilians who can’t wait to wag their tongues on something they know nothing about. If I’ve read the articles and comments correctly, it appears Suzy is insane and not only invented the concept of prostitution, she is the first prostitute in America, the first escort who is a mother and wife, the first American female athlete to be involved in scandal and certainly the first Olympic athlete to make money by using her body…oh wait, nevermind all that.

One thing that did cross my mind was the matter of her reviews. I’m tossing out an idea in the hopes that someone will run with it. Over the years, I’ve been contacted by people wanting to start review/discussion boards or advertising malls. I’ve never been completely enthused with any proposed idea because it’s all been done before. Please, for once, steal this!! (Instead of just posting somewhat-altered excerpts of my books on your site for content.)

verified escorts

This is a very simple concept that requires very little start-up capital, relatively little in the way of operating expenses and will turn a profit because the concept will be embraced. Instead of reviews — which get reprinted in a scandal or used as evidence for arrest — an escort gets verified as legitimate. All that means is the “verifier” (not “reviewer”) checks a few Yes or No questions. The questions would revolve around the concept of paying for time, not sex. Selling time is perfectly legal. Selling sex is not. The only thing being verified is that the escort sold her time as promised. Verification without incrimination.

The concept would attract almost all escorts. Everyone wants to be seen as legit. The problem with reviews is that it cuts out a lot of escorts who are averse to having intimate moments splashed all over the public domain. It’s a very sane concern. Being verified as legitimate without public embarrassment is an idea whose time has come. I haven’t seen anything like this yet, but would certainly like to.

There isn’t any real point to review sites, other than providing circle-jerk fodder for the hobbyists who live and die by what another man says. A lot of escorts don’t enjoy being part of that, even if they allow reviews. They go along with reviews because it supposedly legitimizes their business, while giving up a lot of autonomy to the individual reviewers and the review site itself. The solution is obvious: a site that legitimizes their business without degradation or incrimination. Of course, such a site would get a ton of backlash from hardcore hobbyists because it removes a lot of their power. I imagine a lot of escorts would like the site for that very reason.

But I can also see the site attracting clients who aren’t hobbyists and aren’t enchanted by the review culture either. If they can discreetly verify an escort without having to write a porn-script about their time together, I think they would. Good clients have nothing against helping out the business of an escort they like, they just don’t want to leave an incriminating, embarrassing trail of their own. It’s a very sane concern. There are a lot of those men out there. I know, I’ve met them. So have other escorts.

the site

The site would keep it simple. No forums, no private messaging. Everyone has a public profile, there are no hidden portions of their profiles or anything else on the site (except, of course, personal control panels). The whole point of the site would be simplicity and as much transparency as possible.

A bare bones site would keep administrative costs down. No memberships would be sold; money would be made by selling ad-space (banner or badge ads) to escorts. No ads for sex sites, porn sites, cam sites or sugardaddy sites because these things not only trash the appeal of the verification site but escorts are tired of competing with these other sites for attention on escort-centric sites. (I could see this branching into the sugardaddy territory because that industry needs something like this, desperately. Would be best as a separate site since some of the concerns are different.) Do nothing that requires ID, nothing that requires any sort of 2257 statement, nothing that requires monitoring and censoring text. Make the escort directory extensive but extremely affordable. Make receiving payments simple and as diverse as possible: money orders, Moneypaks, wire transfers, prepaid credit cards, Paypal.

The yearly costs of operating such a site would be low compared to the typical huge review/discussion site, so a profit could probably be turned in the first year. Though the site probably won’t make the money a huge review site does, neither would it get as legally complicated for everyone either. As with anything in life, the more complex something is, the more people involved, the more problems will arise. Keeping it simple cuts a lot of that risk.

Everyone’s public profile would have an automatic running tally of positive vs failed verifications (a No to any question is a fail). The idea of making the profiles public creates transparency and removes finance from the equation. The site makes money from its advertising space, not by skewing the verification game or treading the lines of public incrimination.

Granted, this site would run into the problem of false verifications. But so what? Offering a free membership in exchange for reviews leads to rampant fake reviews. Review boards aren’t perfect and so far, they’ve caused more problems than they seem to solve — usually due to the interactive nature of the boards and the explicit, public nature of the reviews. Take away those issues and what’s left should be a much smoother experience for everyone.

The beauty of simplicity is that the same Yes or No questions could apply to all sorts of adult entertainment providers: social-only escorts, BDSM, massage, private dancers, etc. Every provider’s public profile would link to their main ad or their website, which takes all the guesswork out of how they entertain. It means the site isn’t responsible for deciding who does what based on a set of possibly-incriminating criteria.

The site, by its low-key nature, would probably attract a slightly more discreet crowd than the average review site, but that’s okay. There’s a market for it, one whose needs are absolutely not being met.

the verifiers

Verifiers could choose the names they have on review boards, if they wished. They would be allowed a public profile page where they could list other boards they’re members of, if any. They would answer a few key Yes or No questions about the provider:

  • Was she as described?
  • Is she who she says she is?
  • Did she screen you?
  • Did she arrive on time?
  • Did you feel safe with her?
  • Did she require tipping or upselling?
  • Is she legit?
  • Would you recommend her to others?

Once positively verified (by a Yes to all the questions), the provider would get a badge she could put anywhere on her site.

To me, the screening question is important. Responsible providers screen (the word itself is open to broad interpretation). A responsible provider is likelier to not only be legit but overall safer and more secure for her clientele. Most clients agree some level of security and risk-minimization is important to them.

If the site wanted to be really simple, it would just ask the “legit” question and leave it at that.

the escorts/providers

Escorts would be allowed to create their own public profile and even enter themselves on a list of those who wish to be verified. Men often get a lot of an escort’s details wrong, so it’s just easier to allow escorts to enter their own info. Naturally, they get to verify the verifiers. Their questions would be similar in nature:

  • Was he as described?
  • Is he who he says he is?
  • Was he on time?
  • Did you feel safe with him?
  • Did he pay as agreed?
  • Would you see him again?
  • Would you recommend him to other escorts?

Once positively verified by an escort (by a Yes to all the questions), he gets a positive verification on his public profile.

The site wouldn’t be a substitute for proper screening, not if the site is kept simple. It helps verify a particular man, that’s all. There would be no way to enter any particular man as a bad client because it doesn’t function as a blacklist either.

can’t wait for someone to run with this idea

No, I’m not interested in doing it myself, I have more than enough on my plate right now. I’ve no doubt there are issues I haven’t thought of yet, though I feel the basic concept and outline I’ve provided here is sound. It’s at least as sound as what’s currently going on, and certainly not any worse!

I like the “less is more” approach because it usually yields the best solutions for an issue. I like the Gordian Knot solution to many problems. This is kind of both. It cuts right to the heart of the matter: legitimacy, without all the extraneous complications that can make everyone’s life miserable. I’m not claiming this site would somehow magically lift Internet escorting to a whole new level, only that it would solve an obvious problem that has existed for a long time and shows no signs of improving.

making escorts do…[whatever]

I need to get back to writing again, so I’m doing a couple posts about online escorts issues.

getting what you really want at a lower rate

I received advertising spam from a combination info-blog/advertising mall except they don’t seem to actually have any escorts signed up with them (they also seem geared toward agencies, not indies). I’m not sure why I got spammed, but the site was entertaining nonetheless. Their stated purpose is to teach clients “learn how to negotiate with escorts the right way to get what you really want. Don’t risk getting ripped off or going to jail.”

Escorts have an adverse reaction to the word negotiate. It’s a business. You pay what the businessperson is charging or seek to engage another businessperson. If you can’t afford Escort A, then there is probably the very-affordable Escort B advertising in Escort A’s city — all you have to do is reach out and email. Don’t haggle with Escort A because that won’t get you anywhere except possibly a complaint on a ladies’ board; just email Escort B and arrange a booking with the escort you can afford.

As for teaching male clients how to “get what they really want” I would highly suggest finding an escort whose personality turns you on, go in without heavy expectations and let the experienced professional do her job without getting in her way (she’s going to try to make you very happy). See her again and again and pretty soon you have exactly the experience you want — quite possibly surpassing your original expectations. (I touch on this subject a bit more here.)

Or…you could send an escort a detailed letter of every little thing you expect from her and every little thing you want her to do — and never see her. She may post this letter on a national ladies’ board for the laughs (or you could live in infamy online as a time-waster), which could mean you don’t see any escort in her city. Or you send copies of this letter to every escort in a single city, effectively screwing yourself out of seeing any escort in that city.

That’s how “getting what you really want” really works in really real life.

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what are you really paying for? 2

Another online advertiser that’s been around for years has never changed one highly offensive paragraph on their site. They offered me a free ad a long time ago but when I read through their site, I decided they weren’t for me. They’re still in business, so they must be doing something right. I’ve just wanted to write about this one for a few years.

Though they give some basic common-sense advice to potential advertisers, they offer to re-write your ad to appeal to “upscale clientele”. Fair enough. But do “upscale” clients visit this site? I question this because…they immediately follow the mini-advertising lesson with making sure a girl understands to price herself “reasonably” because clients aren’t going to pay good money to take her out on (movie, yachting, dinner, etc.) dates if she expects to be well-compensated for every hour even if she doesn’t “have to take her clothes off.” They think an escort should only charge a lot per hour if she’s entertaining a bachelor party of 30+ guys (and I guess a smaller bachelor party doesn’t count). Which every escort I know does every weekend (rolling my eyes).

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