LOS ANGELES — The USA Sex Guide website, a comprehensive city-by-city bulletin board offering forum categories that mirror the full spectrum of places where men go to seek out pleasure, has suspended operations.
The new law provides criminal and civil penalties for anyone who owns, manages or operates an online service "with the intent to promote or facilitate the prostitution of another person."
Both sites are now nonfunctional and display a note about SESTA/FOSTA that said, “I am temporarily suspending the operation of this website for a brief period until it can be sold to a non-U.S. citizen who will host the website on a server in their home country (Russia, Ukraine, Malta, who knows where). This sale may also result in the changing of the site's domain name, so pay attention.”
USASexGuide.info offered so-called “johns' boards,” where users could read and discuss about escorts, massage parlors, strip clubs and streetwalkers in 17 U.S. cities. It also provided reviews on those who advertised for erotic services on Backpage and Craigslist.
In 2017, the website boasted 503,000 users, but many more logged in as guests. Since its launch in 2005, the site had more than 3.3 million reports on more than 18,000 topics, according to stats published on the site.
Since SESTA/FOSTA was passed in the Senate, numerous adult websites have been affected by the measure's intention to outlaw prostitution advertising.
TheEroticReview.com closed its site to all U.S. traffic and VerifyHim closed its discussion board and mailing list.
MyFreeCams also changed its “terms of service” to explicitly ban any transaction that involves an offering to meet a site member for tokens.
Meanwhile, Google Play updated its policy to ban explicit content such as “promotional images of sex toys” and “apps that promote escort services.”
Google Drive deleted explicit content and locked out users, and Microsoft’s terms of service were updated, banning the use of “offensive language” and “inappropriate content,” such as nudity that may result in suspensions or bans for users of Skype, Xbox, Office and other services.
And last week federal authorities seized classified ad site Backpage.com, which offered escort advertising. Backpage’s CEO, Carl Ferrer, yesterday pleaded guilty to money laundering and facilitating prostitution, while the company itself pleaded guilty to human trafficking.