The Silicon Valley prostitution trend story is as old as the tech industry itself. With every tech boom comes a tale not only of the nouveau riche using their disposable income to buy sex, but also about how the very technologies making these clients rich is changing the sex work industry. That's exactly the kind of story we get today from CNN Money's Laurie Segall and Erica Fink. In it, we learn that not only of that business is booming, but that sex workers these days (like nearly every other kind of worker) use social media and other web 2.0 stuff in their trade. One woman who goes by the name Siouxsie Q rattles off her various social media profiles. Another uses Square to bill her clients by credit card. But while the technologies powering marketing and transactions might reflect a new era, the prostitution itself is still pretty much the same.
"I don't see much evidence to support a boom now any more than I did when I lived in San Francisco. Sex for sale is persistently booming," says Melissa Gira Grant, who has written extensively on Silicon Valley sex work and is currently writing a book on sex work called Playing the Whore. "It's one of Northern California's oldest economies, and the one most closely linked with any boom-time -- whether's that's gold or railroads or boy-geeks." The gold rush brought very expensive "street walkers," according to San Francisco Memoirs, 1835-1851: Eyewitness Accounts of the Birth of a City: "Nearly all these women at home were streetwalkers of the cheapest sort, but out here, for only a few minutes, they ask a hundred times as much as they were used to getting in Paris," remembers one person. In 1997, before the dot-com era went bust, The San Jose Mercury News called the Valley a "prime target for trafficking" because of an abundance of "lonely, single men with money to burn."