Inside perspective of London’s escort Industry
September 29, 2010.
Long before starting her own escorts agency, Aisha found herself in a rather perturbing situation, one that she had completely unexpected. In London the month of April in 2008 saw the closure of the two largest escort agencies, A1 Asian escorts and Oriental Gems.
Marketing decisions faced by Service Providers
Having listed exclusively with A1, Aisha was left without an agency to promote her services, a worrying time for any escort. Like many other Oriental escorts operating in London at that time, she had to decide which of the numerous agencies to list her services with.
In this industry it has been observed that the marketing strategy most widely employed by escorts is to list with multiple agencies. The rationale warranting such an approach is the escorts belief that maximising their exposure will maximise the number of bookings received.
Inherent competitive qualities of the Escort Industry and adopted marketing practices
Escort agencies find themselves vying for bookings with escorts that are also available from their direct competitors. This effect is more pronounced for an agency operating in a niche segment of adult services, particularly one where the demand is largely characterised by the local scarcity of service providers. Such is the situation that presents itself to the promoters. Seeking to minimise this competitive disadvantage, an agency typically adopts the tactic of promoting service providers under different names from those which their competitors’ listings use.
If price competition is not present and historical results show no abnormal benefits are realisable through the cutting of prices, market forces will see that prices will largely remain constant. Markets where these sticky prices exist show agencies relying more heavily on the use of alternative names in their portfolios. Agencies behave this way due to the prevailing market conditions and inherent market imperfections, or constraints, leaving very little else other than this form of product differentiation to compete for bookings with.
Implications for the Punting market
After A1 and Oriental Gems ceased operations, most if not all of Aisha’s fellow escorts chose to list with several agencies. The handful of which are today considered as household names in the business are of direct consequence of the decisions made at that time in 2008.
Choosing to have multiple listings, with competing promoters, saw the majority of Asian escorts in London adopting a variety of different ‘working-names’ given to them by each one of the agencies. Aisha, instead, opted not to use multiple different escort names as a way to get more business. Instead she worked exclusively for Asian Selection agency using a single identity to develop a loyal and broad customer base.
Since these escort agencies operate in a purely internet-based environment, potential customers naturally discover multiple listings of the same escort through their browsing habits. The potential customer’s almost zero cost of seeking alternatives, inherent in internet-based sales, guarantees this. For the punter this can be a source of confusion when having to decide which escort to book. For unscrupulous fraudsters this represents an opportunity for a “bait-and-switch” scam. Most damaging though is the uncertainty introduced in the market from the presence of multiple listings and duplicate agency websites.
Aisha’s alternative approach proved successful
With the intention of giving every customer an excellent level of service, the reasons for having multiple listings were redundant by Aisha’s logic. Furthermore she didn’t want to contribute to practices that give the industry a bad reputation. Likewise, she didn’t want to be regarded as a person who seems to be fine with hoodwinking a client.
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Inside perspective of London’s escort Industry,