“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.”
New adult services pop up all the time. Most are fly by night. They think, look at all the free sex worker money! Then they find out how much work is involved and fold. Sex workers actually work their asses off (some literally) to make a living. They can fade away pretty fast. Escort directories linger on the web with no paid ads because they cant bring in the customers, clip sites do little or no business and barely stay a float then shut down. Some take the time to get sex worker allies on their side so that they can show they are legitimate and not there just to make money off them but want to be a member of the community and support them with their new business (see https://www.slixa.com and the now defunct clippette) But they too have trouble navigating the difficult waters of how to make money in an often flooded adult market. As much as people think its free money its not its hard work, very hard work.
Enter Call Siren.
It was brought to my attention by a sex worker pal Pinky Galore. “Hey do you know who Call Siren is? They are re-tweeting all my tweets from NiteFlirt” I had never heard of them before. They had a web page up but it was a squeeze page. (hello 2004 called they want their marketing back) the site had no information about who they were, how the money would work,what personal info they would need, what the split was, what they were offering other then some kinda phone sex and sex chat phone app that would launch “soon” but they sure wanted your email address. Whois says they have been in existence for only a month.
The first thought is why would anyone RT auto tweets from NiteFlirt? My colleague asked them via twitter if they were affiliated with Niteflirt?
What ensued next was nothing short of both hilarious and infuriating. Call Siren spent a good amount of time trying to convince sex workers on twitter that they didn’t need to give them info that said sex workers should just sign up with them no questions asked. Just sign up bitchez and find out later you dumb whores! Okay i’m paraphrasing but thats how it was taken by many including me.
That didn’t go over very well as sex workers (especially the vocal ones on twitter) don’t really like it when they are patronized and treated like they are dumb whores. They even “LOL’d” at me in response to a serious question. They might as well called me sweetie cuz theres nothing more professional then calling a prospective customer “sweetie” or LOLing at them in response to questions.
This went on for a while, until yours truly got frustrated with them and did a little digging. Their trademark that they have a ™ on their twitter profile is not registered with TESS. I pointed that out to them and they not so veiled threated to sue me for slander. Clearly geniuses who don’t know the difference between slander and libel and what cause is in a legal case. Lucky for them i do, so i pointed it out to them.
It spiraled down hill from there. With Call Siren tweeting that the sex workers questioning them and at this point laughing at their ineptitude, poor business practices and stated that all the bad press they were getting somehow was good PR for them. Yes, they trotted out that old dog.
Plenty f people had seen all this and it was re-tweeted far and wide. They did plenty of damage to themselves because they just couldn’t stop. They couldn’t stop responding and every time they made themselves look worse and more unprofessional. They refused to answer any questions which made them look shady. Its all out there. I thought it was done they slinked away hopefully to re-think their approach. Until this morning when 4:30 AM San Francisco time, where they say they are located.. Hello crack-heads! I get this…
Their twitter count had jumped from only 25 on the first day of the exchange, to over 4K. Thats 3 days and an amazing return wow who knew my bad PR reach was so long! Oh wait… they bought followers in an attempt to somehow smite the people questioning them. Thats just plain old sad. When you look at their followers list you see dead accounts, bible thumpers, bots. its a plethora of bought followers! The most concise and to the point response to them was one by Fiona Foremost.
And thats really the bottom line. All the shenanigans aside, when you are dealing with a sex worker support service you need them to be above board, professional and legit. They will be handling your money, they will have your personal information such as an ID and social security number, they will be able to connect your real identity to your working one. They need to be not just trustworthy but super trust worthy. If they are easily baited into petty arguments, watch out! If they are not upfront in their business practices watch out, if they wont tell you anything about WHO is running the site really watch out. Sex workers need to be very careful about who they trust with sensitive information. Many live double lives, many can reap heavy repercussions in their lives if ex husbands, clergy, parents, neighborhood busy bodies, the sheriff in Polk county FL find out they are sex workers.
The people that stay in business do support sex workers but are not all perfect. Most if not all protect your information are professional and trustworthy thats WHY they sick around to make money. Call Siren is not one of those business. Call Siren is not trustworthy. I’m going to guess they either never launch and will sell their email list to try to make some money back or when they do they flop. Or they just screw over people royally. Mark …My … Words.
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 was lucky enough to be invited to answer a few questions for the PSO spotlight feature on Sarah Does Phonesex. It was a lot of fun and Sarah is a cool chick who is not only a fun loving PSO but also very passionate about social justice. As a sex worker who often isn’t shy about voicing her political beliefs, i love that Sarah is vocal about her own beliefs and shares them along with all kinds of naughtiness. Sex workers be they PSOs, Escorts, Dommes or Cam girls are full people and i personally love when they interject a touch of real life into their websites, twitter streams, tumblrs and whatnot. Thanks Sarah for the write up… you rock!