On Eccie.net, the escorts are always known as "providers." Visiting them is referred to as "the hobby," as in, "I do most of my hobbying on the weekends." This afternoon, some 5,700 "hobbyists" and prostitutes were chatting across thousands of message boards.
Meanwhile, in a more remote corner of the Internet, an anonymous blogger is continuing his (or her) single-minded quest to kneecap the site.
Eccie is based in Texas; it's a sprawling, ad- and emoticon-studded series of message boards for prostitutes and their clients. The prostitutes introduce themselves ("Newest open-minded playmate to Dallas!"), while the johns review their past escort experiences, query the ladies about their services and lay out their likes and dislikes ("Girlfriend experience is very important to me").
Meanwhile, the clients also talk to each other, everything from earnest questions about the existence of "generic Viagra" to the acceptability of "fat chicks" or the likelihood of becoming a "straight male gigolo" (Dan Savage says it won't work, guys.)
"It's one of the biggest promoters of prostitution in the country," says a person who calls themselves "Ty Steel" via email. "It's certainly the biggest prostitution web ring in Texas."
Steels runs Eccie1, an anonymous blog on the Google-run site Blogger. It claims Eccie is run by three people, the owners of several escort agencies. And therefore, Steel claims, its prostitute reviews are obviously biased and can't be trusted.
Steel's been blogging relentlessly about Eccie for over two years. "I think it's a shame that a pimp-owned site is pulling the wool over the eyes of its members," Steel wrote in May of 2010, "because a site owned by pimps isn't objective in the least and the reviews are gamed and slanted."
All that name-calling -- plus accusations that the site is a criminal enterprise and a haven for "human trafficking" -- just got Steel sued. That is, as soon as Eccie can find out who the blogger is.
Eccie filed suit against Steel (referred to as "John or Jane Doe" in court filings) in April, calling the claims on Eccie1 "false and disparaging." The site says the blog is costing them money because "several of Eccie's paying clients have cancelled their subscriptions due to Doe's unlawful statements."
In May, Eccie subpoenaed Google to find out who's behind the site. "They haven't yet been successful in getting that information because of objections that have been raised," Steel wrote to us. "But I believe the Judge will rule on the case very soon."
One odd thing about this case (one of many, we'd say) is that the owners of Eccie are trying to unmask the blogger without unmasking themselves. The lawsuit was filed by KCN Infosys, the company that does business as Eccie Worldwide. So who, and where, are they? The company lists itself as having Houston headquarters, but lists an Irving address for KCN Infosys. They've got a Dallas lawyer, and one of their registered agents is a woman in Fort Worth. In court filings, they say their principal place of business is in Dallas County. (If you're curious, and I'm sure you are, most of the escorts on the site say they're based in Dallas, north Texas or Oklahoma.)
Eccie's full complaint is below.