AS OF LATE JULY 2018, TER HAS CHANGED MANY ASPECTS OF THEIR SITE, SO THE TIPS BELOW REGARDING CONTINUED USEAGE OF TER ARE MOSTLY RENDERED IRRELEVANT. BUT TIPS ON SURFING THE WEB SAFELY ARE STILL PERTINENT, SO READ ON!
Don’t be a slave to the new rules and regulations online! For those of you who loved The Erotic Review (TER) and used it regularly, I share your pain- TER was the most trusted and established review board in our community. The great thing about TER was the fact that clients could read provider reviews, but providers could also read the reviews clients left; the screening went both ways. Due to this, I got some of my best clients off TER and if a man left inappropriate or derogatory reviews, I steered clear! Additionally, providers were able to white-list clients whom they had seen to flag them as safe to other providers. When we lost TER, we lost yet another safety and screening resource. I have to say that reviewer culture is not necessarily a good thing, as TER is basically Yelp for sex work which can be deemed as degrading, but it was still a great resource for many of us.
Everyone is acting like TER is kaput, but it is actually still active. TER is “unavailable” to those in the USA due to the new laws but there are ways around these new restrictions. If you are using a computer within the United States and want to access TER, you merely have to configure your internet connection to be from a non-US based location or have an anonymous connection. There are two easy ways to do this and I will explain them both.
VPN: A Virtual Private Network, or VPN (see great explanation here), allows users to securely access a private network and share data remotely through public networks. Much like a firewall protects data on a computer, a VPN protects it online and gives users greater anonymity. If you have more questions about what a VPN is and how it works, then please check out this beginner’s guide.
I suggest purchasing a VPN to use on your phone and computer and setting it to a non-US location, such as Switzerland. I use a VPN on my iPhone and my Mac and it has served me well for purposes of using TER. I really use my VPN only when using TER or when using free public Wi-Fi. I could have it on all the time, but if you go on Google, for example, and your VPN is set to France then your results will come up in French and will be marketed toward users located in France. Additionally, when one's VPN is active it can interfere with the usage of things like Netflix. I have been informed by a security expert that NordVPN or TunnelBear VPN is a solid option for PCs and for Macs, ExpressVPN is a good service.
I asked another security specialist about free options for VPN usage and he stated, “There are free VPN services, but they are generally slow and unreliable (or unsafe due to malware). The closest credible guide I could find is here. But in general, if for your clients, I would recommend they pay.”
TOR Browser: Not recommended for use on a work computer as HR can monitor the use of a TOR browser on a work computer. The Onion Router, or TOR browser, was developed so that people could browse the internet anonymously. The TOR network disguises users’ identities by moving their traffic across different TOR servers, and then encrypting that traffic so it cannot be traced back to the user. I found that downloading TOR was similar to downloading Firefox or Google Chrome and, just like those applications, it was free. But unlike those applications, it is a non-profit dedicated to internet security and it is not mining your data. Overall, TOR is just another platform to surf the web, but it just happens to be discreet. When using the internet via the TOR browser, it prevents other parties from monitoring your Internet connection, such as learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.
Brave is another private browser which has TOR built into to its privacy mode. Brave loads major news sites two to eight times faster than Chrome and Safari on mobile, and nearly two times faster than Chrome on desktop.
For the extra paranoid, you can use a TOR with a VPN.
How to use TER post-SESTA/FOSTA: You’re back online with TER through the use of a VPN or TOR browser, now what? TER as you knew it is a bit different these days. Below are some tips on how to navigate TER now that reviews and profiles of US-based providers are no longer viewable and that the US-based ad boards are inactive.
How to find providers in specific US cities: One can search via the area code of the city where you want to find a provider. Providers have given TER their phone numbers, even if these are not public on their review page, and they will come up in the search. For example, if you are looking for a provider in San Francisco and the Bay Area, you would search the area code “415.” You can figure out the area codes of certain cities are by asking your search engine, “What is the area code for San Francisco?”
Many providers, in an effort to keep their reviews public, have changed their primary location to a non-US location. I frequently tour Japan so my primary location is now Tokyo, even though I am mainly a Bay Area provider. I still come up as San Francisco when searching by area code as I have a 415 number.
On the homepage, you will see “Find Providers” under “Quick Search” and you can just type in the area code in the “Phone” box or you can select “Advanced Search” and type in the area code in the “Area Code” box. I suggest using the “Area Code” box but either way, providers with “415” numbers will appear.
How to find providers by photo and city: The photo board is still active, and providers can post their primary city and the cities that they frequently tour in the title of their photo post. You can find the photo board by selecting “Discussion Boards” and then selecting “Photo Only” under “TER General Boards.”
This whole TER ban in the USA has been a major headache for me. I was not happy when my two main sources of new clients, TER and NightShift, got shut down. I was at the top of my game on both sites and they both got me solid business. Those reviews (especially my TER reviews) helped me get amazing new clients in a secretive world where traditional word of mouth doesn’t really exist.
SESTA/FOSTA has definitely fucked our shit up but we are a crafty community of sexual deviants who will not be suppressed! The world’s oldest profession will continue to exist and adapt as needed. Remember when the phone book became obsolete or when Red Book went down? I don’t but many of you, who have been in the game way longer, most certainly do and you still found me online! Again, on TER I am still listed in the top 100 international providers (currently number 12) and you can find me on the photo board with San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and now Portland as my primary cities. You can also read some of my favorite excerpts from TER and Night Shift reviews on the Praise Page on my website.
To my fellow providers: If you want your reviews to be public again and to come up in area code search results, then please set your primary location overseas. I suggest you also post to the photo board and you can use TinyPic to upload photos. Any provider who gets to see one of my men because of this knowledge that I just dropped is a lucky girl; I abhor scarcity mentality and cattiness. I hope this has helped clients and fellow providers alike- stay safe and naughty out there!
Where there is a will, there is a way.
xx Ramona Ryder
Relevant feedback to this blog as of August 2018:
One client stated that, "TER has recently made it a little harder as they are now requiring "proof" provider home base is outside US." My work around for this providers is to set your ad location on another ad site to another country and send them that link as verification. After you are verified, switch it back to your US location.
Another client wrote, after logging on with my TER aforementioned tips, “Every provider I looked up in the US was completely blank. There were no reviews to be seen. They appeared to all have been taken down and all I got was a note that this person's reviews were no longer on the site.” Yes- if a provider does not change their location to a non-US based location then their reviews will not be visible. Therefore, both providers and hobbyists need to be on board to make this a viable option to continue to use TER as a resource.