One of the biggest escort platforms has under-radar flow
- Eros.com is one of the most popular online platforms for escorts.
- Despite government regulations targeting adjacent sex work platforms, Eros has gone under the radar.
- The sex workers discussed how they use the platform with Insider.
Over the past year, OnlyFans has dramatically increased the visibility of online sex work. But for many veterans in the field, the platform’s policies that discourage in-person sex work make it unappealing. For many sex workers, the little-discussed site Eros.com has become the go-to platform for selling sex online, although it receives little media attention.
Three sex workers who spoke to Insider said the site was preferred for its simplicity and discretion and explained how it works.
Eros is an advertising platform used by escorts
Eros acts as an advertising platform where many female sex workers sell their services, but unlike OnlyFans, the company does not handle transactions for the workers. Users can scroll page after page of escorts who can meet almost any niche interest imaginable – from the girlfriend experience to the sharpest, kinkiest part of the spectrum.
The website has listings in almost all fifty states, as well as Canada, Italy, and the UK. At the top of the homepage, Eros offers main categories like Escorts, BDSM, and Massage, but also includes a search feature that allows more specific queries.
Escorts will often list their hourly rates on their page, without explicitly indicating what services would be rendered. Sometimes they’ll personalize them – for example, “Relax and Unwind 2hrs” or “The Jewelry Experience 3hrs” – and often they’ll include an overnight or travel rate as well.
Sex workers need to enter their credit card information to purchase an ad on the platform, but beyond that Eros has no financial involvement in the transactions that take place between workers and clients. Eros provides the ability to link to social media and encourages users to place banner ads that link to their Eros pages on other personal websites. They do not provide the means to link directly to external websites from Eros profiles, however, which could potentially contain incriminating information.
For users, contacting an escort is simple and free, the mode of communication being left to the discretion of the service provider, often SMS or email.
Sex workers say they use Eros because of its simplicity, discretion and personalization
Two sex workers told Insider they liked Eros for his simplicity and discretion. A Toronto-based escort who calls herself Ella Blaire professionally told Insider she created an OnlyFans during the pandemic in an effort to maintain ties with existing customers and replace lost revenue, but didn’t has never felt comfortable posting explicit content online, as she returns to more in-person work, she “prioritizes OnlyFans less and less”.
“Some people think that working in person is safer because there is more discretion, because you don’t post things online,” she explained in an interview with Insider, “while some people think online is safer because you don’t have the risk of running into dangerous customers. “
To maintain confidentiality, some sex workers will blur their faces in their public photos. Some use screening procedures in an attempt to stay safe. For example, Blaire requires valid ID, recent reference from a previous supplier with contact information, employment verification, and a good reputation on the P411 website, a tracking and testing platform. verification for sex workers.
New York-based escort Justine * loves Eros and the escort in person as she doesn’t have to use the content strategies employed by OnlyFans influencers.
“It’s just a lot more work than just ‘one hour for x amount of money’,” she said.
Eros and other platforms that host sex workers operate in a delicate legal landscape
Eros, OnlyFans, and other platforms that host sex worker content and ads operate in difficult legal territory. SESTA / FOSTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act), was enacted into US law in 2018 to fight human trafficking, but sex workers and the platforms that host their content and ads say the laws are harmful because they target safer online spaces where sex workers can connect and control clients.
The law has used vague language to prohibit “assisting” or “facilitating” human trafficking, and made websites liable when third parties use a platform to engage in human trafficking. The law has been used to suppress huge online sex work platforms like Rentboy, Backpage, and Craiglist.
Eros uses a strict identity verification system in an apparent attempt to avoid adverse legal action, and clearly states that they “assume no responsibility for any content on any of our websites”. They say they have a zero tolerance policy for prostitution or other illegal activities. A representative from Eros.com declined to comment for this article.
While Eros describes itself as the “Ultimate Guide to Escorts and Erotic Entertainment” trademarked at the bottom of the page, it is very clear upon entering the site that this is not an escort. agency, which means that it does not act as an intermediary between the supplier and the consumer. Given the demise of similar websites, it is unclear how Eros managed to escape a similar fate, despite their explicit hands-off approach to liability for content posted on the site, such as hourly and daily rates. the day.
There is little writing on Eros except for a handful of articles detailing a raid on their North Carolina headquarters by the Department of Homeland Security in 2017 (before SESTA / FOSTA). According to these 2017 articles, Eros was affiliated with a company called Bolma Star Services, based in Youngsville, North Carolina. But the site itself lists a contact address in Lucerne, Switzerland.
According to a source close to Eros, the company was founded in the Bay Area in the late 90s, out of the BDSM community. The source said the owners sold Eros due to the hostile legal environment in the United States which ultimately led to SESTA / FOSTA. A source close to Eros said federal agents asked about the company’s finances and said they had been investigating Eros for about seven years before the raid. The justice and homeland security ministries did not respond to requests for comment.
At the time of the raid, the company was in transition after being sold to a European company, according to the source, and contracted the North Carolina company as a customer service call center. Ahead of the sale, the source said Eros was proud to have hired an alternative, often queer, team with a deep empathy for the day-to-day details of sex work. Sex workers who spoke to Insider said the business had recently become much more opaque. Two escorts we spoke to said it was impossible to have a real person on the phone.
NYCLU (New York Civil Liberties Union) attorney Jared Trujillo said the increasingly mysterious approach could fall to SESTA / FOSTA. “The reason people say they’re not up to it, they’re just a platform doing anything, they don’t want to be involved in anything, is because no one knows how widely SESTA / FOSTA will be used, ”he said. Explain. “And no one wants to be this test case.”