Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How the internet is changing the worlds oldest profession

WARNING: We rarely feel the need to alert readers to explicit content. But our discussion of the online sex trade requires frank language, and some may find the topic distasteful.

The Economist has an article on how the Internet has changed the worlds oldest profession.
Now specialist websites and apps are allowing information to flow between buyer and seller, making it easier to strike mutually satisfactory deals. The sex trade is becoming easier to enter and safer to work in: prostitutes can warn each other about violent clients, and do background and health checks before taking a booking. Personal web pages allow them to advertise and arrange meetings online; their clients’ feedback on review sites helps others to proceed with confidence.

Labor mobility is discouraging price fixing:
Twenty years ago most prostitutes in Norway were locals who all aimed to charge about the same, says May-Len Skilbrei, a sociologist at Oslo University. Today, with growing numbers of sex workers from the Baltic states and central Europe, as well as Nigerians and Thais, such unofficial price controls are harder to sustain.

The wealth of online data allows industry participants to make better pricing and investment decisions:
going from flat-chested to a D-cup increases hourly rates by approximately $40, meaning that at a typical price of $3,700, surgery could pay for itself after around 90 hours. 


  1. I think that it is horrible that prostitution is being made easy. The sale of sex or sexual performances is illegal and should not be encouraged. "Even in places such as America, where prostitution and its facilitation are illegal everywhere except Nevada, the marketing and arrangement of commercial sex is moving online. To get round the laws, web servers are placed abroad; site-owners and users hide behind pseudonyms; and prominently placed legalese frames the purpose of sites as “entertainment” and their content as “fiction”." What type of message is this for children and teenagers of our society. Teenagers and children are extremely influential and these applications that are being used to set up encounters is making it easier for young people to enter into. There needs to be a full force investigation and there needs to be more attention given to this situation. The internet is being used as a gateway into a dangerous situation. The amount of information you can obtain about future encounters is endless. This is outrageous in a country where prostitution is illegal except for in one state. We live in a world where too often women are being abducted, killed, raped and tormented. Why would any women want to potentially put her self in a situation where any of the above mentioned can happen?


  2. First of all let me say this….I, personally, disagree with the whole idea of prostitution. BUT, it really is the world’s oldest profession and it is not going to be stopped any time soon. So, if we cannot stop it, I do support the attempt at making it safer, not only for the “buyer” but also the “seller”.

    According to Jon Berkely, today’s advancements in technology has played an important role in making this traditionally risky profession slightly safer for both the “buyer” and the “seller”. With the advertisement capability that the internet offers, there is less of a need for a traditional pimp therefore, the rate of violence has decreased (although it is hard to confirm since most crimes go unreported). There is also the use of social media where “sellers” can share warnings of specific clients as well as the ability to access medical records quickly and easily. (Berkeley, 2014)

    Berkely also noted that the use of technology while “shopping” for the product allows the fashion industry to collect data based on the “buyer’s” preferences. The data supports that blondes really are preferred over brunettes as well as curvier body types are preferred over the gaunt model like appearance. (Berkeley, 2014)

    The internet has also helped calculate the suggested price of the “product” in comparison to what the competition is charging – helping both the “buyer” and the “seller”. From an economics perspective, comparison pricing is very important when shopping for any product. Product research helps determine what the “seller” is willing to sell the product for as well as the what the “buyer” is willing to purchase the product for. In effect technology is assisting in the negotiation of sellers surplus as well as buyers surplus.

    So, even though I 100% disagree with prostitution, the use of technology to promote/maintain this profession will help keep the both parties safer in what is widely known as a dangerous transaction.

    Berkeley, J. (2014). Prostitution: A personal choice | The Economist. Retrieved February 11, 2015, from http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21611063-internet-making-buying-and-selling-sex-easier-and-safer-governments-should-stop

  3. Internet has changed many things and best of them all is business, it has really changed the way we look at any businesses now days, it is far easier to work on any business because of this. I am doing Forex trading where I can trade online, it’s all too simple and also thanks to my broker OctaFX, it has made things better with their mobile platform where I can trade easily from any corner of the world without any trouble at all.

  4. In many senses, I agree with what AFrame has discussed regarding prostitution and its evolution through internet use.

    And as we all know, prostitution is not the occupation that has changed drastically due to the rise of the internet. One prime example is that of the US Postal service. The increasing ease and prevalence of online correspondence has nearly wiped out the need for snail mail. On top of that, USPS still has to compete with other delivery companies, such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx, to name a few. It’s no wonder that the USPS is struggling to hold its head above water. Paperless billing, emailing, texting, and online shopping have decreased the need for the postal service. Communication can be sent immediately and often without fee, some aspects that the USPS just can’t keep up with.

  5. Wow rough subject but it seems to be in the news more and more often; I guess there is a real business model in this seedy profession. I have noticed an uptick in stories involving celebrities and their prostitution habits; they are very obviously high valued customers. Competing brothels must play some type of strategic game to attract these high value customers and to ensure their repeat business. If the news articles are any indication, I would have to say price discrimination is common. It seems that once the celebrity decides on a brothel he is charged a specific price for what he is willing to pay for, but how do they get him there? Brothels are not super markets, there are no coupons and owners can’t rely on adds; they must be cut throat. Brothel owners have to compete at 200 MPH, they have to go head to head until one loses. My best guess is that this is all just a game of chicken as described in the readings (Froeb et. all, 2014), where in this scenario the brothel owners drive straight at each other until one swerves and loses the celebrity customer. They must continually up their offered services until one chickens out. Take Lamar Odom for instance. I won’t rehash his service request, but they were extreme and I am sure were not industry standard. I would guess he shopped around and chose the brothel that did not chicken out.
    Froeb, L.M., McCann, B.T., Ward, M.R. & Shor, M. (2014). Managerial Economics: A Problem Solving Approach. Mason, Ohio: Southwestern Cengage Learning.

  6. Like with any of someone’s sexual preference, I don’t have an opinion on it. Neither my opinion nor others will change whether someone engages in prostitution. The internet is changing a portion, if not a bit of every profession or service or the way things are done altogether. Over the past couple of decades the process of applying for jobs, attending college, reporting and selling merchandise or services are made efficient by way of the internet.
    The use of apps and online review makes prostitution safer but not completely safe. With online reviews comes the fact that they could be manipulated or false. There are added security concerns once someone makes it past the online reviews. When you’re face to face with someone that can harm you, the reviews and background checks are pointless. It happens in relationships that have been going on for years, all of a sudden they turn violent or someone is killed, and no one saw it coming.
    Advertising online saves time not only for prostitutions but for businesses also. During holiday season online advertising is the go to method to reach millions simultaneously. Prostitution is a business as is gambling and millions participate around the world daily. Many shun them both, but they make a fortune online sometimes eluding certain laws by doing so.
    Online prostitution falls in line with the debate of whether parents should offer their children condoms. They know they’ll eventually start having sex but do they want to encourage safety or they rather their children sneak and do it anyway and run the risk of them not using a condom at all. Again, it’s all based on personal preferences and situations.