Dec 22, 2012 Adult Industry
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.)
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 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 site, 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 experiences 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.
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.
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 in 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.