**To see current testimonials that folks have been kind enough to write, head here.**
Welcome back, those of you who make it this far to begin with.
Some of you may have noticed that I decided to delist from The Erotic Review (TER) during the last part of January 2018. This was definitely not a spur of the moment, fly-by-night decision. I’d been ruminating about my “participation” within the review community that exists on TER for quite some time. I’ve always had two main issues concerning TER, those being:
1. The experiences that I have with folks who see me are by nature super intimate, super private, and based on mutual chemistry. These experiences are by their very nature completely subjective, and asking people to “rate” these experiences within a clearly bias system is unfair. I’ll extrapolate on this later, but this view was one I even held when I first began as a pro-domme, and I made mention of it on my very first website.
2. The original owner of TER is a misogynist, and went to prison for hiring a hitman (that was actually an FBI agent) to murder an escort who would not be listed on TER. I could forgive divulging intimate details of my personal life under the guise of “erotica,” but this? How could I rectify this kind of atrocity towards a fellow worker? If the then-owner of TER would go to such lengths, what kind of membership is it attracting?
Despite those two very strong reasons to delist, I kept on. Why, you ask?
TER was beneficial to me for a very long time. TER made me very good money for a very long time, and helped me to establish myself as a well-known and respected provider both with clients and with my peers. I exchanged control of my work narrative in return for money, clients, and reputation. And you know what? It worked. It worked really well for me, honestly.
Until it didn’t.
Here’s the long-form list of reasons why I ultimately delisted from TER, in chronological order.
1. The Erotic Review is a misogynistic entity who’s sole purpose is to create revenue for itself. It has no actual interest in making sure providers are treated fairly and safely, and it has no interest in making sure clients get “the most bang for their buck.” They do not care about how providers wish to market themselves or control their own narratives; it’s not their job to do so.
In April of 2016, I was met with my first completely false and erroneous review from a client in New York that I had flatly denied to see. Apparently, he felt it necessary to write a review detailing activities that I didn’t participate in, along with shaming my body. I was furious, and I took it to TER. The review stood until the day I had my profile pulled down, and future clients continued to ask me for services that I clearly state I don’t offer. It was maddening.
You see, with TER, the onus of proof is always on the provider. The provider is taxed with turning over identifying emails and exchanges that prove that we didn’t see someone who wrote a false review. The problem with this? Many who have false reviews have never, ever hand contact with the person who wrote the review. TER requires that you initiate contact with the reviewer via their private messaging system to get them to provide information, and TER will take any response from the reviewer as proof that you had seen the person.
Last I checked, that’s not how deductive reasoning works.
That review was the first time my narrative was seriously fucked with, and it put a really bad taste in my mouth. I’d known women who had dealt with a plethora of fake reviews— some were removed, but most were left standing, and those reviews effected their business. The idea that anyone with an axe to grind, or free VIP days to gain (TER provides free “VIP” days for writing reviews, which grants those people access to reading full reviews instead of just previews) could effect my business in such a way was honestly beyond me. I was mad. I felt violated. But still, TER brought me web hits and clients, so I kept on.
Then, one fateful website and scoring system revamp happened; not only were providers disgusted with the new guidelines, but so were those clients who used the system to vet providers for potential dates.
To be frank and honest, those that griped about the change in the scoring system just finally caught on to how unfair the scoring system was to begin with. Firstly, TER prioritizes certain “acts.” Those that don’t provide certain acts can never achieve a 10 score for performance. This could have been the single most amazing experience in your life, but if the provider you saw didn’t allow certain acts (it matters not if you wanted them in the first place), you as a reviewer could not score her performance as a 10. TER has also been known to dock appearance scores for women who are BBW, WOC, disabled women, and women who generally fall outside of the White Euro-centric Standard of Beauty ™. I’ve seen it myself—clients would score me a 9 or 10 in looks, only to have the review be posted as a 7 or 8. For the most part, this scoring system didn’t play too greatly into my overall standing there; the content of my reviews was always stellar.
Which leads me to the next reason I decided to delist from TER:
2. TER forces reviewers to admit that an illegal transaction has happened between the provider and the client. With our current legal atmosphere in the US where most forms of in-person sex work are illegal, TER is an indictment of the provider and this is a risk I’m no longer willing to take.
Here’s the caveat for having stellar review content though- TER requires quite explicit language in their reviews, and sends back reviews that aren’t explicit enough for their readership. Here’s my theory on it. Most of TER’s membership comes from countries where porn and other explicit material is banned or blocked via their country’s nationalized Internet. Because TER doesn’t contain anything that would constitute pornography, folks in those countries can work around and obtain TER memberships in order to access “erotica.” In order to keep those memberships high and keep money rolling in, TER had to make reviews super-explicit. They’d lose membership money otherwise. This is also why TER is hard-pressed to delete fake reviews; any and all reviews ultimately make TER money. Now, I don’t have any proof of this, but through conversations with other folks in this business, this seems to be the most reasonable explanation outside of TER being a misogynistic entity.
Honestly though, I’m just not willing to take the risk any longer for many reasons—not least of all, the protection of those I work with and those I see, along with family and friends.
There are a few more pragmatic reasons that I’ve also delisted from TER, too.
3. With the advent of social media (Twitter), TER is becoming less and less pertinent, and has been sending me less and less web traffic over time.
You can see this simply by heading over to TER and seeing what kind of action is taking place. On my local board, it’s a bunch of ISOs that simply don’t apply to me, questions that squick me out, and very little other activity. On the general boards, its a hot mess of misogyny and misinformation. I’d much rather be on Twitter and interact with my cohort in that way.
Because TER is sending me less and less ad traffic, that tells me that folks are finding me other places. Even when I would post ads, I wouldn’t see the return in hits that I used to. Granted, interpreting analytics is kind-of a dark art; people find you any number of places and get to your website in any number of ways. In my case and observation however, TER crept lower and lower down that referral list until most weeks, it wasn’t even listed. Yet another sign that delisting might not be a bad idea.
4. TER is real hard to find via a Google search.
I’m not sure who’s heading up TER’s SEO department, but right now it’s slim to none. Sure, you can find TER pages when you search actual escorts by name, but you’re not going to find a list of *enter city here* escorts via TER entry for Google searching. I’m personally trying to eliminate the middleman as much as possible, and delisting from TER helps with that.
5. The plain ol’ fear that whenever I’d meet a new playmate, I’d be scrutinized to death and constantly wonder if I’d have a new review to contend with later.
This is such a bummer, honestly. There’s nothing worse than the pressure of meeting someone new and having to wonder if this person is going to tear you limb from limb or divulge your private proclivities from behind a computer screen three months later. TER reviews don’t take the reviewer into consideration; chemistry is after all a two-way street, and it simply isn’t possible to have the same chemistry with every guest. The worry of a new (bad) review that could impact my business until the next (good) review went up became kind-of overwhelming. I decided I didn’t want to play anymore.
Really though, it was just time to put my money where my mouth is. I’ve been at this for 6 years (which qualifies me as a “veteran” in an industry where most folks last an average of 2 years), have built myself a solid business and reputation, and I’m going to hold with that. I’m unafraid. I’ve watched numerous women delist over the last few years, including women whom I call my nearest and dearest friends.
Now, if you happen to be a provider and are considering delisting from TER, I would ask you to consider it fully and not to take delisting lightly. Delisting is not for everyone, and I don’t believe that everyone should do it. Some would call me bold and foolish to delist while living in Chicago, and most of them wouldn’t be wrong. Some cities absolutely thrive on review board culture, and everyone I’ve talked to concerning delisting did lose income at the start. If you can’t afford to lose income, even if just for a small period of time, don’t delist. It’s not your time to do so. I would also tell folks who tour heavily or are just starting to tour heavily not to delist either. Different folks have different business models, and I am not the one to tell people to do something that could potentially mess with their money.
Delisting is a deeply personal choice.
My hope is that if review culture remains, it will shift dramatically and become as objective as possible. Does the online photo match the real-life person? Was she a charming and wonderful person that you would spend time with again? There really isn’t too much more information that should sway your decision-making, really. You should be able to create your own story with the provider of your choosing, not set up false expectations based on an explicit review.
I’ll be following up this entry with one about my recent hiatus—another reason why my delisting came at this particular time.