Josh Levin in Slate:
On Monday, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer apologized for failing “to live up to the standard I expected of myself.” The standard he failed to meet: completing a full term without making the acquaintance of high-priced call girls. According to a criminal complaint (PDF) filed in U.S. District Court, Spitzer paid $4,300 for a night with “Kristen,” an escort from Emperors’ Club. Like any 21st-century escort service, Emperors’ Club has a storefront on the Web—as of Tuesday morning, visitors to emperorsclubvip.com are informed that the site “has been disabled.” Thanks to Google’s cache feature, however, it’s still possible to peruse the site’s nongraphical elements. The membership guidelines, the promotional materials, and the model profiles are all still there for the browsing, offering a rare glimpse at the secrets of operating today’s brothel for the well-to-do.
Ingratiate yourself with the target audience. “Catering to the most financially elite social circles in the entire world,” the site’s welcome page begins, “Emperors Club is the elite recreation venue and private club for those accustomed to excellence.” Apparently, those accustomed to excellence do not, as you might expect, demand copy written by native English speakers. (“When seeking an evening date, a weekend travel companion, or a friend to accompany you to your next business or social event, our Icon Models are paramount preference.”)
Build a feeling of community, but also exclusivity. For its members, Emperors’ Club isn’t a whorehouse. It’s a whorehome—a full-service institution that matches “customers with the … finest concierge luxuries.”