If you were careful to stay away from the sections where photos automatically displayed, you could easily browse potential sex partners at work and your coworkers would never suspect a thing. The site's naughty classifieds section contained the sort of ads that used to be the sole domain of alt weeklies' back pages: “*College Girl Gone Wild* (BUSTY SMART BLONDE),” “Sexy & Sweet Asian Here to Please Your Needs,” and “Morning $pecials Daddy Let Me Blow Your Mind.” While ads were free to post, advertisers could opt to pay for premium placement. While the site's most popular forums had names like “Escort 411,” “Street Action,” and “Domination Station,” Red Book also hosted conversations on topics ranging from baseball to bondage, music to massage parlors.
Bruce Boston, a data scientist who works for one of Silicon Valley's major tech companies, initially came to the site to find out which strip clubs had the best dancers.
He ended up sticking around for four years to join what he describes as the intelligent, provocative, and honest conversations on the site's forums. “You could have an open discussion about your beliefs and thoughts.” Boston participated in conversations on Red Book about everything from Libertarian politics to swinger sex parties.
But the most valuable part of the site was its reviews section.
The site brought in revenue from fees paid by Red Book users for access to the site's enhanced features.
It's unclear why the authorities targeted Red Book and not the array of other sites where sex is openly bought and sold.
Its ugly, bare-bones design was straight out of the early 2000s.
It resembled a web page you might use to find a new job or a secondhand bike.
A beat later, the cops are gone, and she continues to hail passersby—just a little more subtly now. “Red Book provided a space to safely negotiate and screen clients that reduced the likelihood of being victimized by predators or cops,” says Kristina Dolgin of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, a national advocacy group.Omuro also added a key functionality—he made it possible for sex workers to advertise their services.Red Book may have been full of racy talk and the promise of erotic assignations, but the site itself was anything but sexy.Both Omuro and Lanoce are due in court in March for sentencing.San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin district is bordered by touristy Union Square on one side and tony Nob Hill on another.Until last summer, pretty much anyone buying or selling sex in the San Francisco Bay Area used my Red For more than a decade, the site commonly referred to as Red Book served as a vast catalog of carnal services, a mashup of Craigslist, Yelp, and Usenet where sex workers and hundreds of thousands of their customers could connect, converse, and make arrangements for commercial sex.That resistance is on full display one afternoon this fall when I take a short walk around the neighborhood. “I used to get Red Book reviews, but they took it down.”Omuro started Redbook so that Bay Area mongers would have a home on the web.I count five women standing on various corners, some actively waving at cars, others more carefully making low-key eye contact with male drivers as they cruise by. She wears a black tank top with spaghetti straps, mommish jeans, and a San Francisco Giants sweatshirt tied around her waist. It succeeded, ultimately attracting so many users that the site became a full-fledged business, with massive profits.Released on bond, they were prohibited from going online or associating with former users of the site.The United States attorney's indictment against Omuro claims he took in more than million.