A blog for escort business entrepreneurs

The Blueprint Blog is often updated with tips, ideas, and advice for entrepreneurs interested in opening and operating an escort service.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Goodbye to the Old Maps

An anonymous poster commented on Inventing a New Business Model (last comment at this time) that Google no longer offers phone verification for new listings, at least not in the “escort services” category. In other words they now want to mail you a postcard so the address in the listing must be correct. An excerpt from the comment:

“Google no longer offers phone verification for new business listings. I'm sure it's because of the category (Escort Services) I'm trying to submit a new listing under. I've tried pretty much everything to create an account this past month (using different IP"s, submitting to local directories, followed by Google Places, etc.) - but to no avail. The rules have changed, and it's no longer possible to enter rogue addresses for new listings...”

Perhaps this is where the Virtual Office could come in handy, even if you have an over-priced broom closet in a challenging (read crime ridden) area of the county as many in Las Vegas and Clark County must to obtain the “outcall promoter” license. If you're opening a service in Las Vegas you have probably figured out that you will be paying between $600 and $1000 a month for a broom closet that you'll never use, except of course to hang your license on the wall.

In my opinion, challenging Clark County on the requirement of the M-1 or M-D zoned office for the “outcall promoter” license is not really intelligent. Why? Well because they are otherwise friendly – they just want your money (for the license and the 1% of your gross revenue). It is best to choose your battles wisely.

Many office buildings in good areas close to McCarren International Airport or near the Strip offer virtual office space for a low monthly rate. They even toss in access to their meeting rooms so it could be the location that you use to interview escorts, dancers, and strippers initially. No escort in her right mind will want to meet with you at your broom closet office in an industrial/manufacturing area.

Now you could use that appropriately priced virtual office address for Google to mail you a postcard. Make sure that you rent one in a building as close as possible to the Strip resorts as the address should be in a good geographical proximity for this purpose. What's another $200-300 a month to have a real interview/ meeting room to use and an address for Google Places to send a postcard? Of course you could also use it for your listing address in Local.com or to receive all mail for your business. That's the point of the Virtual Office.

The thing about Google Places (formerly Maps) is that the top listings really ring the phone. If you are open to flexible pricing and quote a lower rate on that phone line, you'll be in the money. If you quote the same rates as you do on your website it is a waste of time. Quote $300 an hour in Orlando and you will say goodbye to 10 to 20 potential clients daily, on the average. If these blind callers wanted to pay that price they'd view your website, see the escorts, and pay it. People that call Maps listings are shopping around based on price.

Do not attempt to include a website in your Places/Maps listing as Google won't allow any in that have “escort” or “escort service” in the domain name, at least that is my latest research conclusion. No problem though – simply give your callers a website address with the lower rate and photos of the escorts as this is frequently requested.

The bottom line is that you'll spend a few hundred $s for that Maps listing and use of the meeting rooms, but as stated previously, the phone really rings and allows the opportunity to adjust your rate and book lots of calls. If you booked three (3) calls a month and charged $100 fee from the escorts for each call you would cover costs, but I am sure that you'll do better than that if you're flexible on rates.

 Of course you could also use your actual office in the industrial area for the Maps listing, but then a business with an address closer to the Strip or the particular resort the searcher is at will show in the listings above yours. This is using Las Vegas as an example and it could be different in your city and you may be able to actually have your office in the best area for business.

Edit @5pm to add: I looked on Craigslist in the office / commercial space category and found many listings for "virtual offices" that include a mailing address and box, use of conference rooms, and 24 hour access. This could easily be used for all mailing for your business and to schedule interviews and use the conference room. I believe that most cities have many listings in this category. Make sure the address is in the geographic proximity of where you want to book calls, for the purpose of the Maps listings.

Life evolves and we must evolve along with it.


Tori said...

Google problems are easier to solve than you think. Just takes a little creative thinking. If you need an address downtown, go and pick a nice tall building, then go to the Post Office and fill out a business change of address to send mail from that address to your real address. THEN build your places page, and you will get the post card when the USPFO forwards it to you.

As for the website problem with google places, simply put your web address in there, but wait a week or two before you actually put the page up. Or put something very bland that doesn't say escort service. They won't go back and check it after you are verified. The web address doesn't change in your listing, you simply change the website after you are verified.

Vicky Gallas said...

Though I appreciate the creative thinking, having experienced the US criminal injustice system firsthand, I could never fill out a USPS form with false info and sign it. That's just me though...

I have had a listing flagged for review after it was verified when I changed info recently (a month ago). It shows as a listing in the account, but it isn't there. They are deleting verified listings - someone emailed me yesterday about a deleted listing.

I think Google has changed Places/Maps because of all the abuse, and not necessarily with escort services. I read about lots of problems with other categories like locksmiths and plumbers etc...

Anything is worth a try though (referring to changing the info later). Thank you for your insight.

One could also just get a UPS mailbox for their business - UPS boxes usually have a street address.

Anonymous said...

In response to the first comment on Vicki's post: I don't see how this solution gets around the problem of verification. In Canada, you must authenticate both the address you're re-routing from and the address at which you want to receive Google's verification slip. You can only do this by providing Canada Post with proof that you've occupied the address that you want verification for. Maybe it's different in the States…but I doubt it.

The Ups idea may work, as long as UPS has a store at or near a strategic location.

Renting a virtual office is the way to go, for sure. (Unfortunately, this option won't work for us at the moment, as we already lease a small office elsewhere in the city and cannot afford another location).

Just one question about Google Places: I realize it's no longer kosher to use the word 'escort' in your business title (the name of your business), but is it also now impermissible to use the word in the description section?? If escort cannot be used anywhere in a Google Places Listing, what's the sense of having a listing at all, since it will never be returned in search results for your primary keywords: escorts, escort services, etc.

Vicky Gallas said...

I would think that the USPS is very strict these days and never sign my name to any document that could later cause an issue or problem.

I recall a requirement to sign and fill out a list of forms just to get a box at a UPS too, so they're not any easier to deal with. What has North America come to? (you're in Canada and I'm in US, but isn't it all the same...)

On Google Places:

Not any issue at all with describing as an escort service that send out escorts in the description or categories. They've just become picky about the terms in the business name or title and in the domain name.

At one point, perhaps 8 months ago, I wanted to advertise my Blueprint book using AdWords and I would not have been allowed to use "escort service" or "escort" or "escort business" in the title for the ad. Sort of kills the point doesn't it?