Saturday, April 4, 2009

More on recommender systems for escorts

Scott Cunningham of Baylor writes:

"I saw today your post on the screening sites that prostitutes use ["Problem customer" registries for prostitutes]. I just wanted to pass along to you a paper I'm currently working on with Todd Kendall called "Prostitution 2.0: Estimating the Effect of the Internet on the Market for Commercial Sex in the US."
"We have been surveying online prostitutes for the last 10 months using data collected from The Erotic Review, which is a large "mall" that clients use to record detailed information about prostitutes in various cities. In the course of the surveys, we have been studying the way in which the Internet has facilitated improved screening, and even in some cases, signaling between clients and prostitutes. One of the more ingenious things that we have found is a case of signaling from clients to prostitutes wherein they send letters of recommendation to prostitutes, usually in the form of sending along information [from] another prostitute with whom they've already visited. This, we argue, has enabled prostitutes to update their beliefs that a new client is not a cop (or a violent client) because these letters are relatively more expensive for cops to send. A case in point - see this story about two police officers who were sleeping with prostitutes in Beaumont, Texas allegedly in order to make a case on a drug trafficker. When the public learned, the men were fired, and the officers are now suing the Beaumont, Texas police department for wrongful termination. (It's suggestive that indeed the private costs of using these kinds of methods are prohibitively high for cops, which we argue is evidence that the costs of signaling type to prostitutes is such that the separating equilibria and not the pooling equilibria is more likely to be happening). "

Here is The Erotic Review, and here is what they say about customers getting recommendations from escorts:

"TER White List
If you have a good reputation with the ladies, encourage them to visit the TER White List and submit a referral for you. The TER White List is an easy way for providers to give positive references about members they have seen. "

1 comment:

michael webster said...

Can I make a small suggestion, given that this is a public blog?

Many people who might read this paper will be unfamiliar with the notion of separating versus pooling equilibrium. So a small explanation might be in order.