“Escorting is not illegal. Prostitution is. By keeping that distinction, we’ll stay out of trouble by obeying the law.” ~RentBoys.us
How the RentBoy.com raid happened has been well documented. Why it happened in the first place is still a mystery. The owners of the RentBoys.us are confident they will not be next and reached out to The Sword to explain why.
RentBoys.us has not been around long but is rapidly expanding around the globe and already boasting profiles from some famous names in the gay porn world including some advertising for the first time. Rocco Steele, Brian Bonds, Armando De Armas, David Benjamin, Austin Wolf, Alessio Romero, JJ Knight, Vadim Black, Tegan Zayne, Johnny V, Joey D, Theo Ford, Jessie Coulter, Billy Santoro, Jacob Peterson, and Mike De Marko are among them.
The Sword: Thank you for reaching out to us. When and why did RentBoys.us come about?
RentBoys.us: We’re glad for the chance to speak early and speak for ourselves. RentBoys.us came about three days after the dot.com was shut down, so since October. But I had wanted to do this before that. As a former escort, I was frustrated by the lack of choice ever during the RentBoy.com days.
You said that simplicity is the key behind the site. Can you elaborate on that?
Sure, I wanted a simpler alternative to fill the void. A place where everything is on one page to make a decision. It has a singular focus on getting the job done with as few clicks as possible. Someone can do a quick search by name or do partial lookups with parts of phones numbers and email addresses. It’s a fast way to know that an email or text they received is exactly who they think it’s from.
You mentioned you have been both an escort as well as hired them. How did that impact how you built the site?
There are plenty of escort review sites out there, but nothing for the service providers to get information on their potential clients. I have a hidden blacklist that only the providers can access. If things like non-payment, sudden renegotiating, fakers, bad/disrespectful behaviour, and the two biggest issues, time wasters and no-shows have been reported one or more times, the potential provider is now forewarned.
Safety for everyone is a primary concern?
Very much so, especially for the younger, more petite escorts who legitimately may not be able to defend themselves from a hater or a crazy person. This also will cut down on escorts’ time being wasted by looky-Lou’s. I understand that will not make everyone happy – but the overall function is to help keep marketplace safer for all parties concerned. Safety is the main issue.
Speaking of safety, what about your safety? How will you not become the next target for legal action?
I’m so glad you asked that. RentBoys.us does not promote nor condone prostitution nor is the website set up to encourage such activities via cheeky drop-down boxes etc. Dick size, sexual activities, etc. are not details on the site. This is about escorts and their most valuable commodity, their time
But you do have nude photos?
Yes. Nude photos are allowed. That’s nothing that most people don’t exchange anyway for many reasons.
People looking to hire are likely to be extra gun shy now. How are you addressing that?
Ahh, I’m so glad you asked that too. There is no client registration and therefore, there is no information stored. The only communication anyone might ever receive is a weekly newsletter with whatever email address they provide and a very clear opt-in process. But I repeat, those looking to hire won’t even have a username or profile or anything like that,
Your single revenue stream is those that advertise on the site?
Exactly, the only money accepted is for the ads themselves. If models want to pay to be closer to the front, it is a sign of how seriously they value their time and someone’s potential business. The “Blue” section is the priciest, then “red,” then “premium.” The “premium” is the most basic. We’re giving away 90 days for free for initial advertisers to make sure it works for them too.
There are 200 plus ads on the site now. How are you getting the word out?
By harnessing the power of social media and our extensive network of existing contacts on all sides of the equation. In addition to select interviews and controlled media exposure like this one.
Social media is built into the site then?
Yes. Part of the “all-on-one-page” approach includes in addition to the pics and other information the service provider offers up; we link to their social media on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr – whatever they have. We want to empower the buying decision by offering access for someone to see what an escort puts out there to the rest of the world. Doing so allows them to get a better idea of their personality, and more images, without leaving the page.
You can also contact the service provider right on their profile via email if you don’t want to text initially without even having to go to another page or open your email program. The design is intentionally simple to keep the focus on the potential service provider’s pictures and details. It’s a little “web 2.0” looking for that reason.
Rephrasing an earlier question, what makes your core business fundamentally different so you can operate within the law and not become the target of a raid?
We had extensive counsel from the best lawyers in the field from the outset. We are an escort site. Escorting is not illegal. Prostitution is. By keeping that distinction, we’ll stay out of trouble by obeying the law.
And to those who say you’re kidding yourself and that’s just a semantic difference, not a legal one?
We’re sticking to our disclaimer as policy. To us, it’s not just words. Outside of the nude pictures, there’s nothing sexual to be found on our site. This is about the commodity of time for those who seek it and those that provide it. That’s the fundamental difference. We realise this a small niche business in a small, but important aspect of some men’s lives. We are not trying to become a lifestyle brand or household name. There will be no award ceremonies, pride floats or YouTube videos.
Thank you so much for your time. Before we go, we have to take care of the pink elephant in the room. What would you say to Jeffrey Hurrant?
Like most of the community, I don’t understand the real impetus on why it happened to him in the first place. But specifically to Jeffrey Hurrant, I say that this couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy and it shouldn’t have. I would consider it a personal achievement if I can carry the baton as well as he did.
I’m not a lawyer not do I play one on the internet. One of those who thought RentBoys.us was kidding themselves with a semantic argument, not a legal one, was me. They seem very confident, however, and especially in the counsel they received. Time will tell if that confidence was well placed.