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Holly
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« on: August 17, 2009, 08:44:25 PM »

http://www.sw5.info/cons.htm
(Last modified 23rd Jan 2006)

As far as we know, the businesses named here are not doing anything illegal, but we don't think any of them deserve your money.

Agency or advertising site? As far as we're concerned, an agency
        *  doesn't charge escorts just for having them on their books
        *  makes its money solely from finding them clients
        *  hence it advertises them widely and doesn't put barriers in the way of clients booking them
  
There are lots of 'agencies' out there that are actually advertising sites. These
        *  charge escorts to advertise
        *  get the same money whether or not they find them clients
        *  hence are often more interested in getting people to sign up as escorts than finding clients for them

We don't think there's anything morally wrong with being an advertising site as such. It's when advertising sites pretend to be agencies or are spectacularly bad places to advertise that we don't like them. Such as?

        Only By Invitation
        Starnest.biz
        Solos International
        Network Escorts / Network Employment
        Platinum Select
        Ideal Escorts
        Guys For Ladies & Elegance 4 Her
        Men for All Occasions
        MenRequired.com
        AllMaleServices
        Connections Escorts
        Regal Escorts

If you know of any more, let us know and we'll have a look.
Straight male escorts - a rare breed in need of protection?
Let's be up front about this: while some women do pay for sex, the vast majority of sex workers' clients are men. That doesn't stop the unscrupulous pretending otherwise in an attempt to make money. The most common place to see this used to be in small ads in local newspapers and porn magazines. Now, they're using websites. Such as?

        Network Escorts / Network Employment (again)
        Platinum Select (again)
        Ideal Escorts (again)
        Guys For Ladies & Elegance 4 Her (again)
        Men for All Occasions (again)
        MenRequired.com (again)
        AllMaleServices (again)
        Connections Escorts (again)
        assorted sites using Google AdWords
        Cavendish Knights
        Rebecca's Nationwide Male Escorts
        Regal Escorts (again)

If you know of any more, let us know and we'll have a look.

For more information about straight male escorts, see our page on some of the issues: http://www.sw5.info/straightmen.htm

Only By Invitation

You may have also seen ads in your local paper from an 'escort agency' calling itself onlybyinvitation.com. They're based in Spain and share several details with other agencies such as pets4films and internationalfilmextras.com. In each case, you are asked to hand over several hundred pounds in "membership" fees. But experience suggests that despite the promises, you won't get much in exchange.  

A basic test is to look at their ads, whether online or not, with the eyes of a client: would you contact them? For example, a simple look at the truly staggeringly awful Flash-only website of Only By Invitation suggests that potential clients can't see any details - they are expected to email the 'agency' instead. In fact, one reading of the site suggests that only other 'members' will ever be allowed to see your details. If any escort did get work as a result of this site, we'd be amazed.

Starnest.Biz

Advertising in the Daily Sport, this is another Flash-only site which says it is seeking to recruit male and female escorts. When people call the phone number provided, they are asked for several hundred pounds to advertise on the site, but we can see no way for any potential clients to see the details! In fact, there's no way indicated for anyone to contact Starnest about booking, as opposed to being, an escort. It's such a bad site that it's not at all clear what they actually promising in exchange for your money: there are no terms and conditions. Plus when you click to login, it takes you to..
http://216.122.144.237/onlybyinvitation/login_test.php?site=star
.. so it looks very much like this is either the same people as are behind the awful OnlyByInvitation, or they have some sort of deal with them. Either way, we'd recommend that no-one give them any money.

Solos International

They say they're an agency ("probably the largest escort visiting massage service around", or "possibly the biggest in the country"), but want to charge escorts 65 to advertise on their site for three months, then 5 a month. We doubt anyone gets that far - there is no way to see these ads without paying 15 per month.  Interestingly, although they advertise for male escorts, all but one of the pictures in the gallery to entice viewers to pay to see details are of women. We don't know anyone who's paid to do so, not least because the pictures look a lot more like snapshots or ones used in personal ads than escort ads.

Network Escorts

They say they're an agency supplying male escorts for women.  "Demand dictates how many escorts we have on our books at any one time, however the figure is usually between 300 and 500." - becoming an escort page, Dec 2005. It's possible that they do have that many people on their books. But we don't believe anyone signing up for their services has a hope of making the money they promise. "nor do we make extragavant promises that we are unable to keep" - the front page of their website, Dec 2005. Those promises have changed.

Earlier in 2005, they were "guaranteeing" 26 bookings from women for its male escorts every three months. If this was true and any actually earnt a minimum of 4,290 each in that time, we'd be astounded. Now they say "When we say guarantee we mean the ability to supply at least 2-3 bookings per week once you are established." - becoming an escort page, Dec 2005. Note the weasel words 'once you are established'. People who've complained have told us that the response has been to say that they're not "established" yet, and it will take time for this to happen... or, in other words, 'please send more money.' "Our current charges are 47.50 per month" - becoming an escort page, Dec 2005. "4.1 The price of the service is 37.50 per month" - terms and conditions, Dec 2005. They've become more expensive to join too, even though they haven't remembered to update their terms and conditions yet. Let's say it again: no agency worth working for will charge you money. They should make their money from finding you clients.

So we'd class Network Escorts as an advertising site, not an agency. "6.1 You acknowledge that female clients will be able to view your profile." - terms and conditions, Dec 2005. Yet incredibly, potential clients can't view on the website any profiles or other details that escorts have paid to advertise! Even more unbelievably, Network Escorts once charged women 30 just for requesting a booking, regardless of whether or not any suitable match was found. (How many women do you think did that?) Now the process is free, but it still doesn't involve them seeing any profiles. Instead they're expected to email with their requests in a few areas such as 'age', 'build', 'brief facial description' etc and wait for an email back. Would you book an escort in this way? "4.1 [..] If paying by standing order payment will only be taken provided you have received a booking or bookings" - terms and conditions, Dec 2005.

Does this protect you? No! Everyone we've spoken to says that on or shortly after joining, they were told they had a booking... in over a month's time. Consequently, their first month's fees were taken. Everyone has also said that when they attended the booking, the 'client' never showed up. When they reported this to Network Escorts, they were told that this does sometimes happen, but they have another booking... again in over a month's time. Anyone who's stuck with them will then have paid two month's fees and tells us that the second booking is a 'no show' or cancelled too.
While Network Escorts may get some real bookings, we don't believe most of these were ever genuine. "All payments will be made to you in cash by the client at the end of the booking." - becoming an escort page, Dec 2005. We strongly recommend that anyone working as an escort get the money first. "The general age guidelines that we tend to stick to are between 20 and 70 years of age." - becoming an escort page, Dec 2005. Got a pulse? They'll take your money. (Actually, we're not sure if they're fussy about the pulse.)

In reality, while we do know of successful older escorts, the market for male escorts is very heavily biased towards youth. Network Escorts also don't seem to mind about your location. If they were honest, they would say that the chances of finding work as an escort for women outside the biggest cities is very very slim. Even just being outside London cuts your chances dramatically. "We have been supplying male escorts in the UK for more than three years, [..] prior to this we operated in the US market for more than seven years" - becoming an escort FAQ's page, Dec 2005 "Network Male Escorts (Network Employment) are a Nationwide supplier of straight Male Escorts. We are based in Soho Square, Central London and have over ten years experience in the male Escort Industry" - about networkescorts.co.uk page, Dec 2005

Their domain name was registered in April 2005. The address given is indeed in Soho Square, but appears to be an 'accommodation address', the business equivalent of a Post Office box, rather than somewhere they actually operate from. No company called 'Network Escorts' or 'Network Male Escorts' or similar exists, but one called 'Network Employment Limited' was dissolved in July 2004, having failed to file any accounts in its two years.

"3.6 You acknowledge that you do not rely on any representation and/or warranty that has not been made in accordance with these terms and conditions." - terms and conditions, Dec 2005

The "guarantees" of bookings don't appear in their terms and conditions... which do say that you can't rely on anything that's not in there. "At Network we are contactable 24 hrs a day 7 days a week." - becoming an escort page, Dec 2005 "you can e-mail us and usually get a response within the hour" - becoming an escort FAQ's page, Dec 2005 We've asked them a variety of questions over the past few months, using various email addresses not connected with here in any way, without getting any responses. The questions included asking for their VAT registration number - if they have as many escorts as they claim, the resulting income would mean they must be VAT registered. Responding to an email about this should take seconds, but they've never bothered. We don't think you should bother with Network Escorts. They advertise using Google Adwords, not least because Google searches for 'male escorts' or even 'network escorts' do not show their website on the first page of results. This means that anyone clicking on their 'Sponsored Links' costs them money...

Platinum Select

Another site more interested in getting people to sign up as escorts than finding clients for their escorts. "the number one introduction service that has been operating since 1998" - the awful (and noisy) Flash intro to their site, Dec 2005 We can't find any records of them going back that far. Their main platinumselect.com domain was registered in 2000, the .co.uk in November 1999. Again, they don't appear to be registered as a company. "The Worlds (sic) Largest Escort Agency" - uk_escort_agency.asp, Dec 2005 Again, we regard them as an advertising site rather than an agency. They want between 9.99 (for one month) or 49.99 (for one year) to advertise you. How many people will see your ad? "No. of Visitors:" - uk_escort_agency.asp, Dec 2005 The number isn't of unique visitors, but how many times the page has been requested - press 'refresh' on your web browser ten times and the number increases by ten. "Apparently, I'm his first client" - woman writing about her date with a male escort, newwomen.asp, Dec 2005 This doesn't surprise us. Incredibly, Platinum Select expect potential clients to pay at least 9.99 before they can see any of the profiles that escorts have paid to advertise on the website! (That fee only covers one week's access - for a year's access, clients are expected to pay 99.99, twice what escorts are charged.) Curiously, this fact isn't mentioned in the pitch to join the site as an escort.

Interestingly, once again that pitch seems to be aimed mostly at men looking to be escorts for women, while the pitch for joining as a 'member' able to see the profiles seems to be aimed mostly... at men looking for female escorts. (Feedback suggests that the listings they are offered when they have paid are not genuine - one of their sample listings uses the name of a famous escort whose fees are considerably higher than Platinum Select suggest, and we've had email from someone who still receives calls from men who've seen her on the site, despite repeatedly telling them that she is not escorting.) When we tried, as a test, to sign up as a new escort on the site, it crashed with an unhelpful error message. Various other sections of the site also crashed, revealing at least one potential security hole in the process - if you register, it is possible that your details may not be secure. Platinum Select also use Google Adwords, and they have a freepost address and an 0800 number, all of which cost them money every time someone uses them.

Ideal Escorts

 Another client of Google Adwords, for which they also use the domain 'male-escorts-wanted.co.uk'. This lot no longer charge people to browse ads (it looks as if they used to do so, at similar rates to Platinum), but they still expect you to register before you can contact the escorts who pay to advertise with them - or even see how much they charge! "There is a particular shortage of male escorts in the current market" - register1.jsp, Dec 2005 We don't believe this for a second. A glance at the weekly free gay press will reveal pages and pages of male escort ads. Even a glance at the rest of their site shows plenty of men paying them to advertise. "FHM's amazing article reveals what its (sic) like to be a Male Escort with us!" - media_fhm.jsp, Dec 2005

Amusingly, Platinum Select also use exactly the same article to entice men to pay them money, even though it makes it clear that the journalist used Ideal Escorts to advertise his services. Perhaps that's why Platinum Select include these bits that Ideal Escorts don't:

        ".. why am I covered in puke? Why are there only 46 pounds and a few pence scattered on the floor of a Holiday Inn in rain-swept Leeds?"

        "Like the fateful final voyage of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986, this had all started well enough, but ended very, very badly indeed..."

        "Next stop: the FHM lawyers. Dear well-paid clever people will I go to jail if I agree to this? When their report returns it is memorable for several reasons, not least because it's as thick as the Bible, contains the phrase a common prostitute in relation to me"

    (As readers of this site may know, that cannot have been accurate - it only applies to people physically soliciting in public places, not the internet...)

        "Only an idiot would do this without proper research, so I track down a seasoned escort and pump him for advice."
 He ignores it.

"the machinery is suddenly set in motion after yet another unsuccessful Friday night when I stagger home, fire up the computer and suddenly find myself, signing up. Incredibly, there's no interview procedure or face-to-face meeting; you just stick up your details and wait for the phone to ring."

Again, Ideal Escorts, like the other ones here, is an advertising site, not an agency. They'll take anyone's money:
"A rag-bag assortment of men litter the website, many of them looking like the council has just laid them off. On second thoughts, an absence of background checks may mean they're fresh out of Wandsworth clink."

"And then... nothing. All's quiet for a full month, but I keep up hope and finally I strike lucky."

As Ideal Escorts say: "If you are sceptical as to how real male escorting is then this article is a revelation of what is happening every night of the week to other guys who have taken the plunge".
As we said at the start, the vast majority of sex workers' clients are men. He's lucky to have had one client in that time. One of the other articles they quote admits that the escort being interviewed had no calls for two months before getting one. He travels (probably two hundred miles) and meets the client.

"I'm talking utter shite and am not exactly at ease myself: the fear of asking her for 300 has been steadily creeping over me all morning. What do you say? 'Hi, give me the money or I'm going home'? The thing is, I can't honestly say I'd turn down sex with this woman if she didn't pay. I can't charge her for what I'd do willingly for free, surely?"

"I'm drunk, horny and reckless."

"What happens is this: we roll drunkenly over each other, tug at awkward buttons and clash teeth while trying to kiss. [..] Mid-thrusting, we sort of pass out, knackered. She really deserves a refund. We try again a few times, but the momentum's lost. Still there's always the morning.
"Except there isn't, because Too Much Booze + Strenuous Exercise = Puke. Wrapped in the duvet, she walks in on me with my head resting on the porcelain. I'm green of face and sweating like an Aussie binman. I certainly can't talk to her; every time I open my mouth a shot of bile shoots out. I'm in too much pain to be embarrassed and just want her to leave so I can die in peace.
"And leave she does. It's only 8.10am, and she scurries off, clearly humiliated. My whoring days are over."


As Ideal say, "If you think this sounds good then we look forward to welcoming you and helping you have a similar adventure as [sic] our FHM man!

"I've learnt not to knock masturbation. At least you don't have to dress up for it, and it's sex with someone you love." Ah, the old Woody Allen quotes are the best. When he was funny...

Guys For Ladies and Elegance 4 Her

We're not sure that these two have the same owners, but they're registered at the same address and have many similarities.  Again, they want lots of money off escorts to advertise with them but clients have to pay them to see (more than a small sample of) the ads.

See Part Two Here:
http://conciergedumonde.com/forum/index.php?topic=151.0
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 08:56:53 PM by Holly » Logged
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