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Internet changes brothel industry in multiple ways

Selling Angel’s Ladies

Mack Moore purchased Fran’s Star Ranch outside Beatty in January of 1997 and obtained his Nye County brothel license in April of that year. Ten years later, he sold it for $2,143,000. He believes that at its peak, it was “the best brothel in Nye County.” He said it compared favorably to the Chicken Ranch and Sheri’s Ranch in Pahrump at the time.

“We probably had more customers than they did,” he suggested.

However, the new buyers apparently didn’t understand operating a brothel. They completely ruined the business. As a result, Angel’s Ladies was closed for two-and-a-half years.

There were three reasons the new owners failed. First, Mack said, there’s not that much money in a small brothel. Second, it was open 24 hours a day, which can be a strain. Third, and most importantly, the new buyers didn’t understand working with the personalities of the women.

While the buyers started with several girls on the floor at all times, within a couple of months they had only one girl. This was because one of the partners got emotionally involved with one of the girls and she still worked the lineup. When a customer came in and didn’t pick her, but chose another girl, the owner’s girlfriend would influence him to fire the girl who had been chosen.

They “forgot that if they didn’t have girls, they wouldn’t have a brothel,” Mack said.

With the girls gone, they didn’t pay their license fee and lost the right to operate.

Mack points out that running a brothel has much in common with running a funeral home business. You need good public relations.

“Let the customer know you want him or her. Treat the employees like you would want to be treated. If you get moral, devoted, honest people working for you, that’s going to show through to the customers. And customers are the best form of advertising you can get.”

Getting on the Internet

At the time Mack purchased Angel’s Ladies, he didn’t believe in the Internet and got into it quite by accident.

Not long after he purchased the brothel, he was describing it to a friend in Eugene, Oregon. When Mack finished, his friend asked, “What kind of a ranch is that? Looks to me like that’s a whorehouse.” Then he added, “Mack, you got to get on the Internet.”

Mack replied, “You’re crazy.” He said, “I got this little book in here, ‘The Best Cat Houses in Nevada.’ Who’s going to look on the Internet when they want to find a girl?”

Later, a man came through and partied with a girl. He liked the pool and wanted to know if he could stay all night. Mack let him. The next morning the man said, “You know? I’ve been thinking. And I’m wondering why in the hell you aren’t on the Internet. You need a website.”

Mack replied, “A website? A website? I don’t want to waste my money building a website.”

The man made Mack a proposition: “You give me a girl for all night and I’ll build you a website.” Mack agreed and the man constructed a website for Angel’s Ladies. Mack’s memory is that other area brothels at the time, such as the Chicken Ranch and Sheri’s Ranch, didn’t yet have websites. “Nobody had a website then,” he said; “the Internet really is what made Angel’s Ladies.”

Operating a brothel

When asked what the challenges were in operating a brothel in today’s economy, Mack replied, “The damned Internet was what made our business. We started with one girl and we had 15 girls here that were registered. Men come from all over the world.”

Yet, though the Internet made the business, it now threatens to destroy it. A girl can develop her own website and have potential clients who view the website contact her directly. She faces a minimal risk of getting arrested. He sees her motive.

“Why should she work and only get fifty percent when she can work for herself and get a hundred percent?”

He continued, “Now many women come to work in a brothel for only one purpose, to get as many names of customers as they can, their phone number, everything. When someone uses a credit card, we have to have an I.D. We can’t let somebody (do business) using somebody else’s I.D. (We need a) driver’s license and the credit card. We take a picture of it. The girl gets that address and everything. While she’s talking to him she might say, ‘I’m going on vacation next week. If you want to meet me in Las Vegas or Los Angeles or…’”

Mack emphasized, however, that there are women who do not go into a brothel to get customer names.

“They are often so relieved to get in here because each has her own room, her own television, and this is home. All they want to eat. They are relieved. They don’t have to worry about getting killed or beat up. They don’t have to worry about getting arrested.”

Moreover, he points out, the system looks after their health. The Health Department gives them brochures to read and informs them about how to protect themselves. Mack is a big believer in a brothel being designed so the women can relax and engage in a little recreation, not in effect a lock-up.

“I want my girls watching TV. I got a TV in every room. I want them walking over this mountain up here. Walking over to the pool. Swim nude. Get out there and read a book … Listen to the birds sing, listen to the coyotes howl, and listen to the burros bray. They’ve got a cell phone. I call them when a customer comes in.”

At Angel’s Ladies, each woman sets her own prices. Several different factors are involved in price. The first has to do with her assets, her attractiveness and desirability. Mack feels that a woman should have a good grasp of what her assets are. The customer wants access to those assets. The second is, when did a woman have her last party?

For example, he said, “A girl might want $750 for an hour but she may have not had a party for three days.” In walks a customer with $200, she may negotiate her price down.

The future

When I interviewed Mack in 2011, he expressed concern for the future of the brothel industry. He says, “Because of the damned Internet the girls can write their own Web page and there’s not enough penalty for catching a girl working. She hasn’t been through the clinic. She doesn’t have a social security card or anything. Most times she has a pimp.”

Mack was afraid the smaller brothels were going to be eliminated, except perhaps those operated by somebody on Social Security using the business to supplement their income. He thought eventually there’ll be a few mom-and-pop brothels along with a few “good ones” like the Chicken Ranch that reorganized themselves.

But, he said, “You can’t have a lot of big CEOs drawing $100,000 a year.”

Angel’s Ladies closed its doors permanently in August 2014.

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