“I had booked hundreds of calls for other people. I had hundreds of conversations with sex workers about what to say, what not say, how to stay out of jail and how to keep themselves safe. All that flew right out of my head, and I did everything all wrong.”
I was minding my own Twitter business when it popped into my stream, Eros Guide announced they were coming to my city, Washington DC for a photo event. I clicked the link. Seems Eros is getting into the escort photoshoot business and they are doing it in DC. I was pretty irritated right away but not for the reason you might think. What bothered me about this was that Eros Guide was selling these photoshoots for outrageous amounts of money 1200-1500 dollars of hard earned escort cash thats 3/4 times the going rate and marketing it towards “new escorts” The package they were offering was a shoot with a photographer with a minimal portfolio that had a grand total of 1 adult photo, one location for everyone just to make sure your pictures looked like all the other girls shooting, a make up artist, a “social media blast” whatever the fuck thats suposed to mean and of course an ad on their site. You’d also get a cookie cutter website of some kind as if online escorts don’t overwhelmingly have those already. If you opted for the higher shoot price you would also get a totally unnecessary video which they would give you the embed link to or put it up on YouTube or Vimeo for you where it would surly violate TOS and get your account deleted. Ask me how I know that.
Lets break this down…
Photoshoot: I’ve done shoots with multiple girls in one day and i’ve always offered a discount on them. I used to call them “shootouts” back in the day and it was mainly used by ladies who just needed a few current photos to add to their existing galleries. Why did I offer a discount on them? Because when you have one location and multiple girls you run the risk of having your photos look similar. You don’t have time to reset lights 5,6,7 times when you are pushing though that many models a day. You only have time to pose a girl in the same 4 poses as the girl before and move on to the next. Thats just a fact and anyone who tells you different either hasn’t done a shoot like that before or is flat out lying to you about what they can achieve.
The Eros shoot information was vague, never telling you how long you’d get to shoot or how many photos you’d get and if they’d be retouched or not. All the details you’d want to know and information you should have before making a decision on any shoot let alone a shoot that expensive. For that kind of money you should be shooting with a photographer with a name and reputation or you should be getting a fair amount of shoot time, like a half day or a full day. You will get neither with this Eros Guide Photoshoot event. Its just logistically impossible.
So why is Eros getting into the photo business?
It seems to me Eros is trying to compete with Backpage. Backpage is kinda kicking their ass in some markets and i’m sure they would like a slice of those profits. Instead of buffing up their 2nd or third tier markets and getting those markets to recognize Eros as the go to site, it looks like like Eros is trying to peel off Backpage customers in hopes that the eyeballs with come with them. The implication is Eros thinks those customers don’t know how to market themselves or doesn’t have photos up to Eros’ standards. All that would all fair and good if thats how they were framing these little photoshoot events. But thats not what they are doing. They framing as if they are helping providers. To further add to that perception they are offering a free lunch (no such thing as a free lunch!) where they will have “speakers” who will offer escorts services. Let me rephrase that. Where escorts will be captive audiences to people who want to sell them stuff.
The frame is, come to our one stop shop and walk with everything you need to market yourself as a high end hooker. I.E. Advertise with us and not with them. With us you’re high class with them you’re just a whore. And thats what pissed me off most about this. This whole thing is being marketed to girls who wouldn’t know any better because they might be new to the business or who have little resources which is why they are advertising where they currently are and Eros is taking advantage of that to the tune of 1200-1500 bucks.
Real Talk: how many dicks does a escort have to suck to pay for a 1500 dollar photoshoot? Because when you start thinking like that then it becomes crystal clear what a rip off this is. Is Eros luring ladies with the promise of getting more money per hour because she has an ad on Eros and some assembly line photos? Really thats all it takes? Who knew! Oh i know anyone who’s been around the block a few times and has been in the business for more then a hot minute. If it was that easy everyone would a high end hooker.
I’m extremely disappointed in The Eros Guide. I have been critical of them in the past but they spent a long time building up good will, trust and reaching out to members of the escort community. That effort was reflected in my continued support of them over resent years and my personal efforts to try to always answer questions when i was asked to help them understand sex workers and their needs better. But this…. this is a huge miss step. Add to that fact that after i tweeted my utter disgust over this whole debacle i got chiding text messages from a Eros staff member i’m friendly with who attempted to tell me how wrong i was but in the end only solidified my opinion that they are being totally and completely tone deaf at best and have a hidden agenda at worst. Years of trust crumbled in just a few hours. How fucking sad is that.
I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now a sex worker was arrested for the murder of a Google executive. The man died back in November but the arrest was recent. The media is loving this story because the sex worker in question is rather interesting. Hes got wild hair and tattoos, shes a sugar baby and just in case you were wondering, yes, sugar babies are sex workers too. Though the media cant help but call her a hooker. She advertised on seeking arrangement.com Which any bonifide hooker will tell you is where cheap ass mother needy fuckers go to look for paid sex all the while fooling themselves into thinking is not really a pay for play situation. Its often a starting point for baby hos thinking “hey i can meet nice men spend sometime and have them pay my bills etc” only they come to find its often the guys who are too cheap to pay by they hour, or too needy to understand the “arrangement” part of the seeking arrangement and they move on to straight ahead escorting and put the sugar daddy bullshit behind them. I have friends who started in the biz that way.
It seems the women in question used the site as her main advertising source. She was arrested after a sting operation and she was lured back to silicon valley on a fake date and they slapped a pair of bracelets on her and are holding her on a bazillion dollars bail. Released to the media s that theres some kinda surveillance footage of her on the mans yacht finishing a glass of wine, stepping over his prone body and closing the curtains. They are saying she was the one who administered the heroin (did John Belushi’s death teach us nothing?!) of which he died of an over dose and that she didn’t call for help when she new he was either dead or dying. Thats the story. The media of course is calling her a high priced hooker because there was a grand involved. Though thats a good amount of cash if you are getting paid by the hour but this was likely for the date. Who knows how long that was supposed to be. Commenter’s to media story’s are all about her. Her worth, her hair, her tattoos, her past, her looks. High priced hooker who shoots heroin into client and left him for dead. How the poor man left behind a a wife and several children. How he worked for Google and what a tragedy it is.. for him.
No one and i mean no one media story that ive seen is talking about a Google executive with a yacht who likes to pay for sex and slam junk on his boat away from his wife and children for a good time. As if she forced him to do it. He didn’t have a choice. He didn’t decide to take his life into his hands and shoot junk. I’m really getting tied of the often predicable trend of these stories. How the evil hooker did this or that. What a whore she is, always with the subtext that she didn’t deserve whatever she was being paid to be their. While the man is always some tragic figure. Some hapless man who had no control over his own actions and no responsibility for his part in them.
I think they real story is why do these midlife criss dudes find it necessary to hire hookers and shoot heroin while their wives and children at home waiting for them. Seriously why? Rich white motherfuckers are the worst. I saw it over and over again when i was escorting man after man who was miserable in his life but refused to do anything to change it. He would do risky things in risky ways one of which was see escorts and many didn’t cover their tracks very well. Yeah, that was fun for me.
Instead we focus on her, the evil whore. I’m over it, so so over it.
The indictment is out and you can see by looking at it the feds ( FBI and IRS) are totally following the money trail. They have all the money transfers listed and all the assets. Seems you can make millions of dollars off escort advertising, but i already knew that. The people arrested had cash in banks, a couple of cars but no real property at least if they do it hasn’t been found yet.
I cant express enough how important it is to pay your taxes. If you deposit 10K or more into a bank, the bank will report that money to the IRS and eventually you will have to account for that money and if it doesn’t match your income then you are in it deep with the government.though it might take them a few years to find you ans seize everything you have. In this case i’m guessing The Redbook people will lose it all and lets face it an ad site is a legal business. So it is all unnecessary and short sighted. They really screwed the pooch on this one and a lot of people are scrambling because of it.
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.