It finally happened, Redbook (as it was known) was seized by the feds and shit down. Redbook was a local the the bay area escort ad mall and review site, though it did have some places to place ads for LA and LV though it wasn’t popular in those sections and putting up a RB ad in an area not SF/Bay was an exercise in futility. It was a big reason why other sites ( Eros/ter etc) couldn’t get a foot hold in the SF/Bay area. It was popular.
Redbook allowed to to post up ads for free, though you could pay for a sponsored ad to get more visibility. They had a review component and they had forums. They had forms everyone could participate in and they had secret forums. As you might guess the forums could be brutal. Women were regularly trolled, denigrated, harassed, insulted and the derogatory list goes on and on. Rebook was used to price control escorts. I remember i once asked early on in my escorting life on an escorts only forum for thoughts on Redbook and if i should post an ad there and i was warned by many a veteran Ho that my price point (at the time was 300) would draw attention and scorn. That the men on that site were big on keeping prices low and using any perceived power they had via reviews or web presence to keep prices in line of what they though they should be which was in my options extremely low. It was also rumored to be owned by “Red” hence the name, who was a pimp who got into the Internet game early. I have no idea of that was true but it never sat well with me and i skipped Redbook for along time but eventually i did put up ads there which got me zero play and were generally a waste of time because i was in Los Angeles not the SF bay area.
Skip ahead to yesterday and Rebook’s domain name was seized by the feds in a joint investigation between the FBI and the IRS. This tells me a few things. Someone didn’t host outside the USA and someone didn’t report their earnings to the IRS. Remember how they got Capone? Thats how they take down many an escort support service. You have got to report your income. Also if you are hosting a escort review site, hosting outside of the US’s jurisdiction is imperative. Hosting with Amazon might be a bad move. Which is who Redbook was hosting with. It boggles my mind and i have to chalk it up to the phenomenon which i see over and over in sex work, you get so comfortable in your own sex work bubble with your own sex work friendly self made circle that you forget that there are forces out there just waiting for you to fuck up so they can shut you down. Be you an ad site, review site, a forum, escort or escort agency. Especially with the advent of the trafficking hysteria thats popped up in the last few years. The rescue industry is a monster of fundraising and they want to keep their fancy store front address and high “non profit” salaries. Shutting down anything only bolsters their fundrasing efforts. Redbook apparently made it easy but not doing their due diligence. People have been arrested and will likely do some time. Monies and property will be seized and the escort world in in a tizzy. Now just because you host outside of the US or pay your taxes doest mean your exempt from investigation but it sure makes things harder for the powers to be to shut you down and reek havoc with your life.
So Redbook is gone and people are panicking because it was a free advertising venue and it was so ingrained in the geographical area. This will have an effect on peoples bottoms lines but its not the end of the world. Shutting down one website doesn’t end prostitution and it doesn’t send people out to walk track. Just put up an on another website like Eros, Lovings, Silxa, etc. Yeah i know those ads are expensive, time to step up your game. Scrape together the cash and invest in your business. Wanna do it on the cheap put up a back-page ad. It also might be a good time to plan a tour as SF/Bay area is going to ‘feel” hot even if it isn’t.
Am i sad Redbook is down? Nope not really, I didn’t like the adverse nature of that site. The reviews were very often fake or used to manipulate and price fix. It was an open secret how corrupt that site was. It was often called a cease pool by women who felt forced to use it because there were little other options in the area as it dominated. A necessary evil. You just kept your head down and hoped you didn’t become a target for scorn, ridicule or harassment. Now maybe another site will step up and women will have a better experience. Once the dust settles of course.