June 18, 2008

The Internet and Innovation [8:04 am]

Sex Trade Monitors a Key Figure’s Woes

Books have Amazon, and classified advertisements have Craigslist. Prostitutes have The Erotic Review.

In a little-known success story, TheEroticReview.com has come to dominate the country’s prostitution scene, which is increasingly migrating from the street corner to the Internet.

But now the site’s founder, David Elms, is in jail awaiting trial in Los Angeles in a case unrelated to the site, leaving the fate of his influential underground world uncertain. In dozens of conversations and in postings on the Internet in recent weeks, prostitutes have expressed concern that if The Erotic Review goes offline it could hurt business. But in the same breath, many are rejoicing about the potential downfall of Mr. Elms.

[...] The Web site, which is still in operation, allows visitors to rank their experiences with prostitutes on a scale of 1 to 10, as well as to leave comments. It gets 500,000 to 1 million unique visitors each month, according to companies that track Web traffic.

“He is the most influential man in the prostitution business in America,” said Jason Itzler, the former head of NY Confidential, an escort ring. Mr. Itzler was released from prison last year after serving 30 months for the attempted promotion of prostitution.

See also Amazon.com for prostitutes (a metaphor that I’m sure Jeff Bezos is not thrilled with)

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