The FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division did a seizure today of the popular San Francisco escort message and review board myredbook.
It was truly a Wild West board with little moderation or control over advertising and messages. The chatter seems to grudgingly reveal that law enforcement might have identified a few underaged providers using if for advertising during the recent federal investigation of child prostitution. No proof yet, just chatter.
That belief, coupled with the owner's propensity to make large cash transfers, got it seized by federal law enforcement.
Of course any ads by underaged providers were one or two out of thousands, but it brings up the concept of how important it is for review boards to check out the advertisers and, in the US at least, to separate fictional reviews writing and separate advertising on the site from advertising on the provider's own web page.
While TER is a pain at times, they do things right. I was always amazed at how myredbook essentially acted like prostitution is legal in the US and how little moderation occurred. Unfortunately, it got noticed by the Feds.
If the chatter is true about a few ads by underaged girls on the site, I am just curious how merb keeps this from happening when an independent advertises? I think that TER essentially checks a provider out a bit before allowing her to advertise. Many of the lesser US review boards do not do that, and if puts everyone at risk.