Category Archives: Ethics

Bits & Bobs Of More Bad Phone Sex Industry News

Just a few quick points…

1) Phone Sex platform site MPS also runs mainstream sites for everything from business consulting to psychic readings — but not sex. However, I’ve discovered that these operator profiles have also been deleted during the so-called MPS 2257 maintenance purge. Why would mainstream professionals need to provide 2257 documentation or otherwise abide by such rules?

Further proof to me that this drama was not about legal adult content.

Yes, I did email MPS about that.

Of course, I’ve received no word yet.

(I also sent another email about use of logo images; still no word on that either.)

2) After seeing numerous promoted tweets from Ringhop, I was intrigued enough to investigate…

On the surface of things, it looks like Ringhop, err, Ringhop Pro, is counting on you, the “Specialist”, to do all the promotion etc. In the TOS, there’s mention of Specialists being in categories… Not sure if this means there will be a directory, of sorts, or if this is just an internal thing… But if Ringhop Specialists are expected to bring their own audiences to the service, I would consider Ringhop Pro to be like Verified Call or Pay Per Call.

While the 50% take is rather steep, I wanted to address the elephant in the room: Is adult talk & nude photo sharing, sexting, etc. allowed on Ringhop Pro?

ringhop rate limits

After that big issue was clarified, I would then proceed to some of the less than ideal terms such as being paid by check, set rate limits, administrative fees on funds in accounts, and other issues — as well as the ambiguity about categories.

ringhop pro takes 50% of calls

Despite the Ringhop website stating that phone contact was available “M-F, 9am-11pm EST” I was unable to reach anyone during those hours.

ringhop contact

Instead, each of the 10 times (over two days — yes, during the days and times specified), I was greeted by a recording, some Muzak, more recorded operator voice, more Muzak… Sometimes I was on hold like this for a few minutes; other times it was less than a minute. But in all cases, I was eventually told no one was available to take my call.

I was then instructed to contact support via email. Upon seeing a number of ignored tweets regarding the very same subject of adult businesses, I was less inclined to waste more time typing a professional email. Besides, this is a telephone communications business — I wanted to use the phone! But I was unable to reach a human being. I’d call that a huge “Fail.” (I did, actually.) And I am not feeling good about using them as a professional service, phone sex or not. Who needs to deal with another company that, frankly, sucks at communicating?

Why Your MPS Account May Suddently Not Be Active Today

Phone sex platform site My Phone Site (MPS) is at it again. And, whatever you think of their communication skills, this latest action is sure to negatively impact your phone sex &/or cam business.

At 11:18 PM (Central Time), I received a “System Feature Update” email from MPS. It was an announcement regarding performer images as they relate to 2257 compliance — which would result, for those not in compliance, in operator profiles being rest to a pause or pending status, i.e. accounts being inactive, on Thursday, March 10, 2016 Noon PST.

MPS 2257 email notice

Yes, they gave operators roughly 12 hours to comply — and, for many PSOs, eight of those 12 hours are spent sleeping.

But that’s not the worst part.

MPS 2257 emailThe email included, supposedly, additional detailed information — most of it unable to be read. (See screenshot of full email at left.)

I presume this was an issue with cut & pasting text full of characters that were not properly encoded (unicode). Whatever the reason, within a minute of receiving the email I replied to MPS stating the issue with merely reading the email. Two hours passed…

While I waited, I tried to decipher the text I could read.

I certainly believe MPS should comply with the law. And I admit I’m no legal expert. (Legal requirements here.) But some of what MPS is requiring seems unnecessary, especially in terms of profile images.

Many sites consider themselves to be a technology service, exempting them from many 2257 issues. And while the sale of photos and videos would likely need such 2257 documentation, profile images (especially as they are not allowed to be nude or explicit) are free from such things.

But then, there’s this confusing line:

The use of custodian content will not be allowed as these do not include the 2257 required documents and even if the content site you purchased them from has these documents, the company needs to have them on file.

I’m not sure if “custodian content” means purchased content… But legally purchased adult content sold for such use absolutely does come with proper 2257 documentation. But, apparently, MPS does not allow you to use such model content as they offer no place to upload it; they only offer a place to download forms for you to use if you are the person in the photos.

And then there’s this:

Each profile MUST have a real person depicted in the photo and show the entire face of the model. No faces cropped, or animated/cartoon pictures or photos with just words

Obviously, this removes me from using MPS. (And don’t think I have not considered this to be their way to rid themselves of me.) But beyond the personal concerns, it is clear that MPS is making huge changes based on more than 2257 concerns. Even if this is all terribly difficult to read, one can read between the (terribly garbled) lines and see that MPS is trying to make all operators use their own photos.

In any case, those of you who are using your own photos — and showing your faces, you now have 10 hours to get MPS your info (even if they don’t state where to send it) and hope they verify the documentation within that window as well — or you account(s) will not be active.

Actually, in rereading the email, it seems that all accounts will be set to pending on Thursday, March 10, 2016 Noon PST. And then the review process will begin. This from a company that admits it is understaffed. So, good luck.

UPDATE: Two and a half hours later, right after I published this (of course!), MPS resent the emailed announcement. This one was legible. Here’s the text:

Phone sex secrets

This email is regarding the Federal Law 18 U.S.C. Section 2257 which imposes name and age verification, recordkeeping and labeling requirements for all pictures shown on adult oriented websites.

Therefore, we are required by law to have these documents on file. A photo ID and signed model release will need to be uploaded for each character profile you have on any of our systems. If you are using your own photos, please click http://myphonesite.com/2257modelrelease.pdf to download a model release for your use.

The most effective way to ensure all active profiles are 2257 compliant will be to set the entire system of operator profiles to a pause/pending status on Thursday, March 10, 2016 Noon PST.

Our support team will then review each profile that has submitted the required documents and, if we feel these items match the model being used, the profile will then immediately be set to an active status.

Please note the following items below:

The use of custodian content will not be allowed as these do not include the 2257 required documents and even if the content site you purchased them from has these documents, the company needs to have them on file.

Each profile MUST have a real person depicted in the photo and show the entire face of the model. No faces cropped, or animated/cartoon pictures or photos with just words

There is to be NO nudity or explicit acts shown anywhere on the system. We recommend using a headshot of the model and save the nudity for store items.

The documents you upload MUST also match the following and be free of nudity: free photo galleries, paid store items, embedded images in the about me section, blog and news posts, website banners, etc. Please also do not use excessive gaudy cover-ups as they will not be approved.

If we feel the photo ID does not match the above items, the profile will not be set to active.

Each profile has a REAL NAME section at the top that is NOT visible to the public. Please make sure that the REAL legal first and last name of the provider who takes calls for that character is in this box and that they have a verified MPS bank account that matches this name.

MPS Bank – Every person who takes calls on MyPhoneSite MUST have a verified MPS bank account. We do not allow website owners to pay their providers outside of our system. If you are found to be circumventing the system, you will be terminated immediately.

These rules and the 2257 documents will be required for all profiles listed on the following websites:

MyPhoneSite.com
PhoneMoreSex.com
PhoneSexBook.com + Website Owner White Label Sites

We apologize for any inconvenience.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Support
myphonesite.com

I did reply, asking where we were to send our 2257 documentation.

And then, 20 minute later, I sent another email, asking when we could expect accounts to be made active again, etc.

No, I won’t be holding my breath for any reply.

I hope that those of you who find yourselves suddenly laid-off in this latest MPS move aren’t going to suffer too much.

(Another) UPDATE: An hour after that, Samantha from MPS responded to some of my questions.

  1. You are allowed to use purchased model content, so long as you have the proper 2257 documentation.
  2.  You upload the information in your operator profile page, where you upload your profile image. See image:

screencapture-myphonesite-mps-profile-add-2257-doc

Also, regarding how long this should all take:

Once you upload your documents, we will review the provider accounts that have after the system goes to pause at noon pst. We will be working around the clock to review everything, so it should be less then a few hours for your account to be inactive.

But still no word on what to do if you, as I do, use a logo or non-photo image. (And I specifically mentioned that I do not sell any such images.) I will update if/when I hear anything more.

(Oh, how late I stay up just to help you!)

Yes, I am on Twitter! @PhoneSexSecrets

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose first!

An (Unfortunate) Update About Phone Sex Platform MPS (MFT Services)

This is a difficult post to write… Many of you know that I have long been a fan, even a cheerleader, for phone sex platform site MyPhoneSite (MPS); but as I feel obligated to report on realities in the phone sex industry, I must report when things have changed — including, and perhaps especially so, when they change for the worse. Here we go….

Back at the end of January (2015), I was alerted to a rate percentage change at phone sex site MPS. This alert, came not from MPS proper, but rather in the form of a blog comment.

While waiting for Angelica to reply, I searched all my email accounts for such a notice from MPS. I found none. I logged into my MPS accounts to see if there was an alert or notice there. I found none. On February 8, 2016, I sent emails to MPS owner Gary & assistant Samantha, asking about this issue.

Hello again,

Once again I am hearing rumors that MPS is either A) going under or B) changing the operator split. I’ve received no official emails about either of these things, but some girls have stated they have (especially that the split is now or is going to 50/50?!). Please advise.

Lynn

I wasn’t super hopeful (after all, they had not fully responded to several other emails of mine, resulting in unresolved issues), but I had to try.

I received no reply.

In the weeks that followed, I sent additional emails to both of them. I also left multiple voice mail messages — for each of them. I received no reply of any sort. None. Zip. Nada.

In fact, I received no comment at all from anyone from MPS until February 25, 2016, when I had left one last set of voice mails and emails stating that if they did not respond, I would be writing a post without their input.

Gary’s response was this:

Thanks for sending me an email. To answer your questions. A. MPS is not going under. Actually we are quite busy with our new phone system. B. Yes we notified our active website owners that there is a percentage change due to a new charge back policy. We didn’t send this email to you since you are an affiliate on the system.

If there is anything else, let me know.

Within minutes, I sent the following in reply:

Gary, I have a Super User account & numerous profiles, including with this very email address, and I have checked with other PSOs I know who use MPS and NONE OF US received any notice regarding the rate change. Please explain.

His reply:

We try to avoid sending announcements through the system since it sends an email to each email in the system which results in massive duplicates of emails. We sent this email to our active website owners on payroll. We see the commissions you earn as an affiliate, hence we didn’t send you the email. I will have Samantha forward the email to you. Let me know what operators didn’t get the email so I can reach out to them personally.

Thanks,
Gary

Note, there was still no confirmation of the exact percentage split.

I replied with this:

So operators who were not deemed “active” did not receive any notices?? When you log in, there is no notice either. Which means plenty of us have had our rates changed without notice of any sort. Even the rate calculator & percentage split notices are absent. Does this seem ethical to you?

Nearly 30 minutes passed & no response; our conversation had stalled. I sent this:

See, this is the problem. MPS has issues & communication breaks down when things are difficult. Given my recent issues with this pattern, there is little I can do to make those who ask me feel better about how they are treated, what they read online in rip-off reports, etc. This also includes callers who are not comfortable with MPS’s reputation & refuse to make calls with me there. I really wish we could work through an entire conversation about the issues so they could be clarified.

(More on such history here.)

The proverbial crickets chirped in the silence that followed.

But I tried again:

You leave me no choice but to run with the story presenting this situation as it is with little-to-no information from you. It’s really disappointing. To see where things once were, to where they are now… I wish you would reconsider going silent at times like these. It doesn’t help the rumors surrounding MPS, all of MFT Services, and the overall reputation.

Nearly an hour later, Gary responded:

Thank you for bringing up these issues. Due to the issues with the internal mass notification system, we chose to email individual active providers who are actively on payroll. If there are certain operators that need to be contacted, please let me know so I can do so immediately.

We are aware there are issues with support and are looking to resolve those by the end of the 1st quarter. We are looking into setting up a new proactive support system with a support team since Samantha and myself are often swamped with operating issues. If there is any other issues that need to be clarified please let me know.

From my phone, I replied:

This is a continuation of your defense of a poor situation, but is not info requested which is needed to clarify the realities for operators now.

Gary replied:

What info do you feel that is not clarified for the realities for operators? I don’t feel I am in defense when I am just providing our acknowledgement of the communication issues and our plan to resolve issues of lack of support.

I have requested Samantha to forward you the new charge-back information.

You haven’t provided the operators that need to be contacted as well, I am more then willing to reach out and communicate to the providers, but I need to know whom first.

Finally, the information from Samantha arrived. (This would be nearly three hours since Gary had stated he’d requested Samantha to send it to me; nearly 3 weeks since originally requested.) This is supposed to be an (undated) copy of what MPS sent to so-called “active” operators:

Dear Valued MPS Website Owner:

We would like to inform you of a change that will take effect next week.

The Bad News:

Due to ever increasing site-wide operational costs, the numerous customer charge-backs and the extremely high fees that go along with these charge-backs, we will be adjusting all web owner percentage rates to an even 50/50 starting on February 1, 2016.

Operational costs include such things as website hosting fees, website maintenance and upgrades, credit card processing and merchant bank fees, phone system and connection fees, and customer charge-backs and fees.

——————————————————————————————–

The Good News!

When the web owner percentage rates changes on February 1, 2016, ALL calls taken from this point forward, will NOT be subject to charge-backs. This means that NO funds will be removed from ANY provider payouts ever again!

Please note that customers are able to charge-back up to 6 months of transactions. So, if a customer charges backANY calls taken BEFORE February 1, 2016, providers will still be held responsible. But, on August 1, 2016, which is 6 months after the new rate change, no provider will be held responsible for ANY customer charge-backs!

*Exception: Providers will only be held responsible for charge-backs that have resulted from provider/customer fraud*

——————————————————————————————–

Please keep in mind that it does costs a great deal of money to run this entire pay-per-minute phone system and everything that goes on behind the scenes of which you are most likely not aware. Also, remember that you are working on this platform, receiving your MPS websites and own adult business at NO cost to you!

All adult-related businesses are considered high risk and there is no way to prevent customers from doing charge-backs. However, we do the best we can, but unfortunately, this is the cost of doing business in the high risk adult industry.

Warmly,

Samantha

Unhappily noting the rate change had taken effect weeks ago, I took on the task of responding to Gary’s email, collecting the specific questions I had asked (via email and telephone), which neither he nor Samantha had addressed. (Thankfully, I am a very experienced and professional PSO who takes very detailed notes on any and all phone contact I have, including the MPS voicemail messages I’d left.) This is what I sent in response:

Questions which still remain:

You mentioned a “new phone system” – what is it? And is this new system for MPS only, or the other MFT sites?

Related, do the rate percent changes affect the other sites/programs as well?

I *still* do not have proper information on these other sites. After nearly a year of stating you’d get back to me, you referred me to Samantha, who bailed on our appointment; so I have no idea about each of them or their differences. Would anyone care to actually address those? If so, reply with the following (for each site):

URL:
What is special about it, how it differs from MPS:

Are there any plans to notify operators/website owners/super users of these changes, either with an alert when they login, resuming the rate calculators, or anything at all?

I did receive the email from Samantha, thank you. But this is 3 weeks after initial inquiry. For years now you have been mentioning when communication & support issues will be resolved; clearly it is not a priority & it shows. And if I am hearing so much about this, you can bet it is costing MPS business, both on the operator & caller sides. I really, really wish this would be a priority & corrected. It was once what separated MPS from the other platforms in a positive way; now it is being discussed in terms of MPS being, and I quote, “the worst.”

This communication issue when combined with the rate change is very troubling. While the notice mentioned costs of chargebacks, hosting, etc., this is no different than what other platforms offer and they are not changing rates like this. Anything you’d like to state about that?

I have contacted the operators which have contacted me, but so far, none of them have given me permission to send you their contact info. (About half have replied, stating they are more comfortable reading when I post at my site.) If/when I receive permission, I will send you their information.

What do you think the response was?

If you guessed “Nothing,” then you are correct. There was no response.

This despite clearly articulated questions (all which would be within the parameters of either #1 being a registered PSO on their system or, #2 as someone with whom they have done official business with, including interviews, assisting MPS regarding issues with other PSOs & clients, etc.). This silence also in spite of my expressing my own frustration regarding aborted problem solving and other communication issues.

An hour later, I sent an email stating that I was still awaiting word on this.

Still no reply.

The next day, February 26, 2016, I tried one last time. I sent a “Last call” email, noting I would be making my post without any additional information or input from them if they did not respond with the info requested — an outcome they must be more than happy with as I have heard nothing from them whatsoever, and today is February 29, 2016.

To ReCap, Here’s What You Really Need To Know:

* If you are a phone sex operator, “master operator”, website owner, or “super web owner” at MyPhoneSite, your earnings have been cut. As of February 1, 2016, you only receive 50% of calls & store sales. Yes, this is true even if you never received any such email notice, no alert when you logged in, nor other notification of any type.

* If you never received any email notice of the above changes, you are likely not considered to be “active.” (I was not considered “active” in January, 2016, when the notice went out, even though as an operator I had calls at MPS in October, 2015, and had store sales in January of 2016!) This means you are not likely to receive any notices about changes in rate, policy, TOS, etc. going forward.

* Whatever you think of my communications with MPS, or even my personal communication style, it’s clear that MPS is suffering from some major communication issues — primarily that of not caring about communication with members (at least PSOs, anyway). This is a continuing negative trend as documented here. Regarding these communication issues, Gary states they “will resolve those by the end of the 1st quarter.” That would be by the end of March, 2016.

* Phone sex callers who use MPS, if you see your PSOs raising their rates, this is why. Their earnings for services provided have been cut by 10-20 percent.

* The matter of MFT’s other sites/programs dates back to May, 2014, when Gary promised an interview/update regarding all of MPS and other sites belonging to parent company MFT Services (which also has PhoneSexBook.com, PhoneMoreSex.com, and a premium white label service; there may be more, but… well, you’ll see). Roughly eight months later, Gary passed me along to Samantha. We corresponded briefly before that talk too was abandoned; it was restarted in July of 2015, culminating in scheduling an appointment for a telephone conference/meeting which Samantha simply bailed on. Neither she nor Gary expressed any interest in contacting me “when things settle down and you have a working system, can keep appointments, maintain communications, etc.” Which is likely a sign bunch of signs unto themselves.

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose first!

Yes, I am on Twitter! @PhoneSexSecrets

Don’t Give Into Stupid Demands

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose first!

Every few months or so I get emails from consult clients about whether or not they should accept PayPal for calls or other services. So when Emma Evans posted this tweet, I was reminded that I should make a post about this I can send folks to as a reference.

As Evans states, making such moves puts you at risk of being booted from the platform site(s) you use. I’m not joking. Even mentioning at NiteFlirt, for example, other platform sites you use can get you banned for going against Terms Of Service (TOS). So even if your client, however softly, threatens that you’ll lose them if you don’t accommodate their request, you have to ask yourself if being blacklisted at the platform you work at is worth the discussion.

Aside from this practicality, there are other issues.

Even if the offer comes to you via another source, say direct email, contact off your website, Twitter, etc., there’s just no reason to take payments for services outside the phone sex platform site. (This includes clips sites, cam sites, etc.)

One of the number one “requested payment option” sites is PayPal. This should never, ever, be considered. It’s not safe (for either party) as A) no adult services or products are allowed to be sold there, B) personal info is shared, and C) PayPal is not a bank, so they can – and do – freeze accounts and pull funds. (Even if there is, as I tweeted, a class-action lawsuit settlement offering some compensation for those who have suffered through this, it is not commensurate with what all can be lost.) Much of this is true for other online payment processing options. Here I refer you to Sex Work Helpfuls who does a good job of staying up to date on payment options. (See also.)

However, there is much more to consider.

From an ethical and legal point of view, none of these options provides the protection that you are working with a legal adult. It is not worth risking all the potential woes of talking about mature subject matter with minors. Part of what your fees at the platform sites cover is making sure callers and clients are of legal age to participate in such things. Leave those platforms, and you risk much more than your banking problems.

Last, but certainly not least, why would you consider switching platforms? What is the upside, really?

Oh, sure, some of the clients suggesting other options will kindly tell you how they are thinking of you — how you won’t be “giving away” such a large percentage of your money via platform fees. But then these same callers will begin to suggest or even demand that you lower rates because of that. They did you a favor; now do them one. And then they have a million other requests or demands…

Once you acquiesce to one request or demand, how can you stand firm on the next?

Clients who whine, bully, and threaten are not worth keeping. There is always the next boundary they wish to pass.

It doesn’t matter if the client’s request or demand is against TOS or your own personal boundaries, you have the right to refuse. Breaking the rules includes breaking your own rules.

How do you best handle clients who wish to break the rules? Femdommes often have it easier, of course, as they can simply order subs to stop. But here are the five steps I employ with renegade clients:

1) Redirect. Like small children, many clients can easily be brought back to the proper path of behavior with a simple redirect. With toddlers you can jangle a ring of keys or swing a shiny or bright toy; with callers, verbally dangle your breasts, mention their fetish, etc.

2) Gently remind. A simple, but firm, “That’s not allowed!” or “Oh, I don’t think so!” combined with a giggle often works wonders. Then feel free to resume the story or conversation as it was before the inappropriate interruption.

3) Remind more strongly. Firmly state, “No, I’m not going to do that.” Pushier clients may need a, “We’ve discussed that before, and that’s not an option.” If you’d like, think of this as a courtroom scene and you’re the lawyer saying, “Asked and answered. We’re moving on.” Once the message has been received, resume play.

4) Put your foot down. Firmly state that their request is making you uncomfortable — and that if they persist you will be ending the call or communication.  If/when they accept the rules, get back on track with a, “Now, where were we…”

5) Protect yourself. Hang up, block, and even report the caller as you deem appropriate.

If there’s one thing you can count on in phone sex (or any sex work, for that matter) is that sooner or later you’re going to run into clients who want to get discounted or free services, or otherwise push your limits. It’s rather a small percentage of clients; but the longer you are in business, the more likely you are to run into these guys. Know your own boundaries. Firmly set them. And don’t let anyone push past them.

Phone Sex Is Sex Work – It’s In The News, & You Can Learn From It

If you’re following me on Twitter, you’ve likely seen my tweets about Margaret Cho’s recent championing of sex workers & their rights. Cho knows what she’s talking about. Before her comedy career took off, she, like Whoopi Goldberg, paid the bills working first as a phone sex operator. After her PSO work, Cho worked as a dominatrix. While Cho doesn’t elaborate on why she left phone sex, she does say why she gave up being a femdom:

“I was lazy,” she said. “I lacked empathy, and,” referencing the job’s requirement for administering floggings and other forms of corporal punishment that a client might request, “I had a bad arm.”

Well, the self-described laziness may be why she left phone sex… Or the bad arm? (Phones back then were heavier!) Whatever the case, I’m thrilled that Cho is putting a positive spotlight on the needs of sex workers.

But still, Cho’s story illustrates that even when you are open to sex work, you may not be well-suited for it. And even when you are good at one form of sex work, you may not be happy with another.

Which brings me to another news story…

Before Lea Grover became a “mommy blogger” (or even a mom), she helped put herself through college by working as a phone sex operator. While she seemed to enjoy the work, found it within her skill set, was challenged and even amused by it, loved the casual way she could work from home, felt shameless enough about it to confess her work to her parents, and even felt it was a safer alternative to other jobs, Grover eventually left the work because she found it depressing.

In the original article at Cosmo, Grover confesses:

But after a few months, I started to feel depressed each time I logged my phone onto the call network. I dreaded the phone ringing, and I went from eating healthy as I worked to binging on ice cream and cookies, pretending to find strangers’ masturbation fascinating.

It took a long time to figure out what was bothering me about my job, but after listening to some restaurant industry friends complain about their patrons, it struck me. Nobody, not a single caller, had ever said, “Thank you.”

And none of them had ever said, “Goodbye.”

They were so thoroughly wrapped up in their exhibitionism, in themselves, that I might as well have been a pre-recorded moaning device. And while I didn’t exactly expect callers to care about me as a human being, night after night filled with dozens of people hanging up on me mid-sentence as though I didn’t exist started to really hurt my self esteem and self confidence.

So I stopped doing phone sex and got a job working retail, like a “normal” college student.

In case you skimmed that — or missed the irony — let me point something out: Grover finally put a finger on just what was bothering her about her work as a PSO after hearing the complaints of others working in another service occupation, the restaurant industry. (And then she left for yet another service industry, retail, which I can tell you, isn’t any better.)

On any give day, any given shift, any person working in a restaurant (front of the house or the back) goes without the expressed thankful recognition of the work that they do for the people they serve. And if there’s no appreciation for those working in the noble profession of feeding someone — arguably some of the most nurturing work a person can do — how can you expect it to be any different in sex work where the “work” aspect is largely denied?

It is a sad fact that few people bother to acknowledge, let alone thank, those who serve them. If this pervasive cultural attitude offends or hurts you, you should not be working in any sector of the service industry, period. And this definitely includes phone sex and other forms of sex work, as sex workers are , sadly (stupidly!), largely disrespected the world over.

Since sex work is such a personal, intimate service, I can fully understand Grover’s depression over the lack of recognition of her as a person. Good for her for leaving! As my consultant clients can tell you, I’m aware of how taxing the specialized nurturing work of sex work can be and that I take great pains to address the potential personal and emotional impacts of this work upfront.

But even as I do not in any way blame or condemn Grover (or others) who feel this way about being a phone sex operator (or any form of sex work), I feel it’s important to point out a few things…

Honestly, in all my years of being a sex worker (from escorting to phone sex work), I can count the number of times I’ve endured a departure without a “Thank you,” on one hand. …OK, as it has been decades now, perhaps two hands. Even if it at times it sounds more obligatory than heart-felt, I’m used to being thanked for my services.

And the only times I’ve been hung up on while speaking on the phone was when a caller was shockingly interrupted by a coworker, family member, etc.. He may have hung up in a frightened hurry; but generally he’ll contact with apologies later, often with a tribute. (And if there’s no apology, I do not hesitate to block.)

Why do I believe my experiences have been better than Grover’s or others with similar stories?

It’s all about how you handle your business.

Grover’s use of “call network” indicates to me that Grover was not an independent phone sex operator, but rather was at the mercy of a phone sex company; she just took the calls sent to her. Whether or not this was true for Grover, there are things indie PSOs can do to avoid such terrible callers and clients.

Primarily, it’s all about how you position yourself in the market. Present yourself (via photos, descriptions, blog posts, tweets, rate, etc.) as an easy, quick, and cheap thrill — in cheap publications and at classless sites — and “easy, quick, and cheap” is all you’ll be to prospective callers and clients. They’ll treat you as such, with all the rudeness it implies.

However, if you present yourself as a quality service provider, placing your ads and performing your marketing in more pedigreed places, you’ll attract a higher quality clientele. Live up to those high standards and not only will clients thank you for it, but you’ll keep those classier clients. Phone sex is, after all, a luxury purchase; express how true that is for your individual services and you’ll avoid the many of the rude, bargain-basement, one-minute wankers. The few asshats you do run into won’t burn you out or upset you because you’ll be treated well overall.

(Oh, and avoid working traditional “after bar” hours, when cheap drunks call for quickies too.)

Of course, there are plenty of PSOs who happily bank on short, cheap calls. Rude or not, they take the money and run.

I’m not one of them. I’d rather spend two hours with one caller than try to corral and accommodate dozens of others in the same time-frame. But, hey, that’s me.

Fundamentally, it’s up to you to decide. First, whether or not this line of work is a good fit for you. And then, if you think it is, decide what you can tolerate, what you enjoy, and how to get the callers and business you want. If you need my help with that, I’m available for consultations; rates & info here.

Is this your first time here? You may wish to read this post and my Statement Of Purpose.

Today’s Phone Sex Marketing Tip: Watch Your Ps

Have you evaluated the seven Ps in your service marketing mix?

Most people have heard of the Four Ps in marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion. But did you even know that when it comes to services (which phone sex definitely is!) there are an additional three Ps?

The additional P’s for service providers are: People, Process, and Physical Evidence.

People is primarily you, dear. But, whether you work for a dispatch company or are an independent PSO using a platform service, your clients may encounter other people along the way. Even if only in an occasional customer service sort of a way. Yet those people reflect your business too. Because most of us are using some sort of platform service, the “People” part may also fall under another P — “Process.”

Process refers to business processes and systems which are part of how the services themselves are delivered or executed. This means not only how calls are connected, but other aspects of communication between you and your clients, you and your prospective clients, such as messaging and how the billing is handled. Again, this is typically part of the phone sex platform service — and why it is vital that you consider (and occasionally reconsider) how well they work for all parties involved.

But the Process is not only limited to the platforms.

Consider your email service provider, your website and its contact forms. Are they up to snuff? What’s more, evaluate your physical systems — everything from the telephone you take your phone sex calls on to your laptop, tablets, and other work devices. Don’t forget the batteries, headsets, cords, etc. And remember things such as software updates, Internet connections, and mobile phone plans too; they are all part of the Process. Are these tools providing the best quality for your business? Or are they inefficient, low quality, or otherwise getting in the way?

I once advocated for evaluating such things annually. But now, with the speed of tech — and the fact that such leaps in technological advances seem to be resulting in companies producing nearly ephemeral products with short lifespans, it’s best to do this sort of evaluation several times a year.

Physical Evidence is admittedly trickier in our virtual sex service world… In traditional service professions, Physical Evidence often begins with the physical space in which the service takes place, a meeting is held, or a client otherwise visits. Think of the ambiance in a restaurant, a hospital, or an accountant’s office. Such settings are part of the service businesses brand. In other cases, the service may result in a physical thing, such as a report or a customized object. In those cases, Physical Evidence includes not only the “thing” but packaging which signals the service’s brand.

But what in the world would the “Physical Evidence” of phone sex be?

Here we must take some cues from the medical world.

In many cases, it’s the cure for what ails you. Your fever or pain goes away; your nose is smaller or your bust is bigger. According to Wikipedia, it also includes the “scar left by a surgeon, [as this] reminds or reassures the consumer that the service took place, positively or negatively.”

Seen this way, the Physical Evidence of a phone sex call would be, err, shall we say “the orgasmic residue” — cum and any tissues or wipes used to clean it up. Or, if you’re into the tease and denial, then the raging hard-on. But these too are rather temporary and ephemeral things. (For health’s sake, we hope so!)

This is why some PSOs sell intimate things, such as worn panties, and offer other more lasting or tangible items. Even digital photos, audio recordings, texts, and emails offer something more lasting they can refer to and (hopefully) be pleasantly reminded of your services by. Yes, such things can be sold and boost your bottom line too; but consider gifting your callers and clients with a little something now and then. See if that sort of thing, a sense of Physical Evidence to your services, just doesn’t make a positive impact on your business.

In many ways, evaluating the marketing mix of your phone sex or virtual sex service business is simply a matter of good manners. Eliminating difficulties in communication is really just the polite thing to do. Sending a photo or text message may be taking care of your business’ Physical Evidence — but it’s also a nice way of saying “Please” and “Thank you” too. When you think about it, dedication to your service marketing Ps is an awful lot like minding your Ps & Qs. So please don’t forget or overlook your manners. Thank you.

Misleading Phone Sex Numbers

In an article about education in the UK, Students and phone sex: “Why not work as a phone sex operator and pay your way through University”, the author’s premise is “Why not work as a phone sex operator and pay your way through University to scale down the amount of debt you are left with at the end?” However, there are some misleading numbers or connections about the money to be made as a phone sex operator:

Despite the lack of adverts and official publicity, a report published by Durex revealed the 45% of the population have tried phone sex before, with 56% researching companies on the internet.

The report mentioned was condom company Durex’s 2009 British Sex Survey, of which little information is known (and likely bears the same concerns as their Global Sex Survey). Regardless of whether or not the survey results are accurate enough to provide any statistical data worthy of counting on, the author of the article, Nicole Froio, misuses the survey results.

First, while it is true that 45% of the respondents stated that they had participated in phone sex, the following “with 56% researching companies on the internet” is an unrelated matter. The survey question was “If you wanted to know about sex, where would you get the information?” It had nothing to do with phone sex. So, while 56% percent of survey participants stated they would go “online” to get information, it was to get “sex information.” Which sounds more like those answering the survey were talking about looking for “sex ed” information online, not necessarily performing research regarding phone sex companies or even shopping for phone sex services.

That leads us to the other issue.

Of the 45% who said that they had participated in phone sex, there’s no indication that they had ever paid for any of their phone sex. Just as roughly 40% also stated that they had participated in spanking, there’s no indication whether they had ever paid to participate in a spanking session (or if they were the spankee or the spanker). There is simply no data on whether any of these sexual activities were paid for.

The survey (amazingly!) did include “paid for sex” as an option for the “Do you own or have you tried any of the following…” question; and 5% of the survey participants said they had. But as for whether any of the 5% of people responding had ever paid for phone sex is unknown.

But that’s not the way the Froio presents the survey results. (In fact, omitting the paid for sex info entirely is also a problem.) And that’s a shame.

There is money to be made in phone sex; but we shouldn’t mislead people with numbers.

TalkToMe’s Unfair & Unethical Attack On NiteFlirt

Clearly trying to capitalize on NiteFlirt’s latest policy announcement , TalkToMe (TTM) sent an email alert of their own members, or at least to their PSOs (called “Talkers”), entitled Your Voice, Your Choice!

talk-to-me-email

[Normally, I modify the font — but since they sent their email in comic sans (which is a much mocked and even hated font), I kinda felt like I needed to preserve it!]

Talkers, no one has the right to tell you how to make your money — not your phone company, not your customers and certainly not your billing & marketing service.

Adult Entertainment websites banning their “Flirts” from listing multiple links on their own personal websites and social media is UNFAIR and UNETHICAL. If these companies truly wanted their agents to succeed, they’d recognize every Talent’s right to promote themselves as they wish, and support their freedom to engage fully in social media. Companies who try to prohibit things like this are afraid of competition. We are not.  We believe in our site and our service. 

TalkToMe.com welcomes all Talkers, from every competing platform. Please try us and compare us! With over 20 solid years of experience in Adult Entertainment, we created our website with YOU in mind. We truly believe it is the best way to earn money talking on the phone — and we continue to customize our features according to Talker needs and preferences.

TalkToMe.com would NEVER ban our Talkers for listing with multiple companies, nor for promoting more than one listing in your personal accounts. To the competition, we say:  Bring it on!

For years now, there’s only been one decent option for independent Talkers — that’s never been good for an industry.  Whether it’s automobiles, airlines, or long distance service, giving consumers a choice has always led to better prices & better product. We’re confident we’ve created the next level in virtual, interactive Adult Entertainment (plus fantastic customer service), and we’re thrilled to welcome you to our adventure!

Don’t worry, we won’t try to tell you what you can & can’t put on your personal social media (we’re too busy integrating over a million high-traffic phone lines to spy on you anyway). Remember:  You deserve to make the most money possible, period. No matter how much traffic a company sends you, they have no right to mess with your ability to fill downtime.

Thank you being a TalkToMe.com Talker, we appreciate your efforts and wish you the best luck and the highest earnings no matter what website you’re on.

May the best platform win!

It’s fair — and often a great idea — to capitalize on a competitor’s weakness or exploit a competitor’s perceived weakness. But if you travel that path, you also expose yourself to risks. In other  words, you’d better do it right. And TTM did it wrong. All wrong.

Aside from reading more like a sales pitch to join TTM rather than an update for members, there are even bigger problems with this message. Let’s deal with the misleading and downright false information first.

False Statements TTM Makes About NF:

1) NiteFlirt is not “banning their ‘Flirts’ from listing multiple links on their own personal websites and social media.” Their policy is about links from NF’s site, phone sex operator profiles and listings, to personal websites and social media accounts. Lots of websites, phone sex platform sites included, have similar policies to prevent traffic leaks (as well as passing along SEO & PR juice) to competing companies.

2) TTM’s claim that NF is prohibiting PSOs from “listing with multiple companies” and “promoting more than one listing” is equally untrue. Even if NF wished for that, they have no control over such things. But they can, and are, taking steps to protect their members from leaving NF and taking their money to other companies.

3) NF is not trying to “tell you what you can & can’t put on your personal social media”; NF is merely stating their terms for what can & cannot be linked from their own site.

But there are even more problems with TTM’s email.

Along with misrepresenting their competitor’s weakness, TTM is also misrepresenting their own policies.

Facts About TTM’s Policies:

1) According to TTM’s own Talker Policy, “You will not use any banner advertisements or “pop up” windows or create or include links to sites which involve e-commerce, marketing, solicitation or sale of any items of any kind, whether related to or outside the scope of your Talker listing.”

talk-to-me-linking-policy

How many PSO websites, social profiles, blogs, etc., refrain from solicitation or marketing? Isn’t that rather the overall point of them? And even if you employ a very soft touch form of marketing, how many of us review and link to sex toys that are for sale — that’s ecommerce. And so are listings for competing sites and services.

Doesn’t it then seem rather appalling for TTM to say that “no one has the right to tell you how to make your money”?.

2) TTM’s policy also states that Talkers “will not place any link or other contact information on our Site to facilitate communication outside of our Site.”

talktome-contact-policy

Any decent website or blog has a means of contact — be it a form or an email address listed. And any social media account has private chats, direct messaging, and the like. That’s the whole point of social media: To. Be. Social. To communicate. So, according to TTM’s own policy, Talkers may not link to their own social media accounts and personal websites.

So much for TTM recognizing “every Talent’s right to promote themselves as they wish, and support their freedom to engage fully in social media,” right?

3) The above rules, and many others, are all placed beneath TTM’s primary policy for their PSOs:

talktome-talker-policy

1. In addition to the Terms and Conditions, you agree to comply with the following requirements in your use of our Site.
Without limiting any other remedies TalkToMe.com may have, TalkToMe.com may, in its sole discretion for any reason or for no reason and without notice, immediately modify or terminate your access to, membership in and use of the Site especially if you have violated any of the following requirements each of which you must agree to as a condition to your use of our Site

That means that breaking any of the other linking rules means you are in danger of being tossed or banned from the TTM platform.

Since TTM opted to not only use the words “unfair” and “unethical” but to type them in all caps too, it seems only fair and ethical to call them on their flagrant misrepresentation of NF’s policies and the denial of their own prohibiting policies.

And I have to ask them, “Just who is prohibiting things out of fear of the competition now?”

 

Why Spam Is Bad For Your Business

This past week I’ve been hit with a lot of spam — comment spam here at Phone Sex Secrets, to be precise. Because it is my business to help those in the phone sex industry, I contacted those phone sex operators and phone sex business owners who left the inappropriate comments and quickly discovered that many of them did not know that leaving comments for the sole purpose of leaving link or links behind is spam.

Now, you might think that anyone with a blog or website would know how inappropriate and annoying spam comments are, but a few of them sincerely seemed unaware that what they’d done was poor form. So here’s my quick attempt to educate folks on the subject.

Leaving spam comments isn’t just poor form — it’s a poor thing to do for many reasons.

First of all, despite what some poor &/or ignorant marketing folks will tell — and sell — you, spam links are not good for SEO: Google doesn’t like it. In fact, Google is working hard with it’s latest algorithm updates, to severely penalize spammers.

While some webmasters will allow your spam comments to be posted at their site (in the hope that Google will severely punish them with negative rankings for their bad behavior), many bloggers, like myself, work to make sure such spam comments won’t make it onto the site (or remain on the site, if they snuck through the defenses). We don’t like those spammy comments for multiple reasons, including possible traffic leaks. But the main reason we remove them is because we are protective of our readers’ reactions. We want them to have positive reactions to our site. But when spam comments are around, it looks like we are too lazy to remove them or like our site may be “dead” and abandoned. Neither of those things is positive.

This leads me to the second bad thing about spamming blogs: you alienate bloggers.

If your intention was to pitch a blogger the idea of featuring you or your business, you’ve been going about this all wrong. You’ve not only tried to steal traffic, put their site’s ranking at risk, and made extra work for the blogger, but you’ve shown the blogger that you have no regard for proper business channels.

Most bloggers and webmasters who are open to being pitched ideas for interviews, article features, advertising, or other options to promote your business will have directions (forms, contact or “about” pages with email addresses, etc.) for how to do business with them. When you ignore their directions, you show yourself to be rude, ignorant, or disrespectful — maybe all those things. As a result, they will have little interest in helping you. You may just have lost a potential ally, maybe even burned a bridge.

(So even if those I emailed about their spam links at this site feel that I was rude, they are, in fact, lucky to have heard from me at all — and should feel grateful that I have taken the time to educate them. Most bloggers will just delete the submitted comments; perhaps add the spammers’ email addresses, ISPs, and/or URLs to blacklists. Others, as mentioned, will allow the comments be posted so that their sites can be punished by the search engines. I’ve been kind and generous with my time.)

Third, don’t think that readers — potential customers — are immune to feeling icky about your spam links either. Many readers are aware of what spam is and they don’t like it. It reminds them of all the spam in their inboxes. It makes them mad. Is that really how you want clients and potential clients to think of you and your phone sex business?

In short, traipsing around the Internet leaving spam links behind you is bad for your SEO and your reputation. Don’t do it.

MyPhoneSite Notices For PSOs

Early this morning, phone sex platform MPS sent out two messages regarding site services.

First message: Pending System Wide Review

We are doing a system wide review to ensure that customers who visit our site have a consistent, high quality experience. The support team at myphonesite.com will be doing this review starting Thursday, March 7th at 10 AM EST.

Before we do the system review Thursday, please take a moment to update your provider profiles and websites to include photos listed in your profile as well as profile text. Any profiles that do not have photos and written legible profile text will be paused until the provider can update the profile.

The second message: Loss Prevention Notification

It has been brought to the support team’s attention from multiple customers that there is a great deal of STEALING occurring on the system. Anytime you do not use the system to complete pay per minute phone conversations will result in immediate deactivation and funds in the provider account will be lost. We have ZERO tolerance for stealing. Stealing is a crime. Redirecting customers to other platforms, arranging payments through other means, having customers call you on your cell/home phone is not permitted. In addition you may also be liable for civil or criminal charges. We have a support team in place to review the system 24 hours a day to prevent theft from occurring on myphonesite.com.

The first message from MPS arrived in my email inbox at 2:22 AM; at 2:24 AM I had no less than seven emails from panicked PSOs who use the site to conduct their phone sex business. While I was rather certain that I understood the notices from MPS to be professional notices warning those who are abusing the MPS platform that they are about to be busted — and not actually about any new policy changes, so many frantic emails had me concerned that I’d better be correct and not pass-along incorrect information. So I quickly contacted MPS. (Before my reply was sent, another dozen or so emails from worried PSOs had arrived.)

I have questions regarding the following emails (below) which are worded more frighteningly than I’d imagine one needs to use… I’d like clarification on these asap so as to avoid any problems. I thank you in advance for the professional courtesy of your reply.

One, regarding the photos: Are images such as logos and icons acceptable? I [use] the image/avatar I have used for years as that is far more recognizable online than my photo.

Two, regarding the “stealing” issue: Many PSOs and other professionals use multiple services for their work. Sometimes it is a competing site, such as NiteFlirt; other times it is for a service not offered by MPS (such as paid chat time, providing design services, etc.). I can understand that it would be stealing if a PSO (or MPS member) uses the MPS platform in any way (be it a link in a profile, a message on the MPS system, during a call, etc.) to lead a client to other payment options; but to say that “Anytime you do not use the system to complete pay per minute phone conversations” is not really a legal thing to say. We are not employees, we are not contracted to *only* use MPS. We are independent contractors paying to use the MPS platform services. To clarify my point, a PSO/MPS member may have options for payment on her website which includes MPS among others — but if that website is *not* linked to from MPS, it is not “stealing”. I would like clarification — clear definition — on this issue of stealing asap.

Just minutes after I sent my email to MPS, I had an official reply from Samantha — and minutes after that, I had her permission to share it with you.

The email was referencing providers not stealing on the MPS network, not telling the providers where they can work. We are aware providers use other services. However there has been an increasing amount of providers using MPS to find customers to pay them directly through Western Union, Paypal, etc. It’s crucial to stop the “bleeding” of loss prevention to keep the company viable.

It is acceptable to use logos and icons. We have been requested by providers that use the system as well as customers to review the system and remove items of concern as well as low quality listings. We hope it will help the providers that have fantastic sites/listings such as yourself with obtaining more traffic.

So, to repeat, things are as I thought. One, the matter of stealing was in reference to MPS policing policies already in place. Two, MPS is going about ridding the site of spam accounts. Both of which are better for all of us, really.

(It is also worth noting, again, that MPS has excellent support communication with PSOs.)

As is so often the case, the innocent worry they’ve done something wrong while the guilty folks just ignore the warnings. Most of you are likely doing nothing wrong, so you needn’t worry. Those of you who are cheating, abusing the MPS phone sex platform, you know who you are — and soon MPS will too and you’ll be gone.