From the desk of Mike Rucker...

Arrgh. As a marketer (not to mention someone with a very big mouth prone to spouting off willy-nilly), I can keep silent no longer. I’m exasperated that as part of a current Sex Ads Mini Scandal, Time Out New York is not only not getting the props it rightly deserves, but is actually being lumped into a register of NYC publications deemed by the reporting press as unethical, or dirty.

For those not up to date on the story, here’s the scoop: New York magazine just got tackled by the National Organization for Women (NOW) for the inclusion of sex/escort/massage ads in their classified section. Somehow, New York was able to parlay this exposé into a bounty of good publicity by alerting the press that they’d seen the light and would no longer accept those ads.Now, what really gets my goat is that in all the subsequent reportage, the newly ethical New York is hailed for joining a slew of magazines that have decided to stop running sex ads, including Time Out New York. And somehow, the perception has made its way into the world (or, actually, the microcosm of people who actually follow this stuff) that Time Out New York has refused to take the stand that New York has so courageously (and, of course, righteously) taken. The tipping point for me was a letter from a reader chastising us for refusing to follow New York’s example.

Thing is, Time Out New York has never run sex ads. That stand I just mentioned? We took it from the very beginning. Since launching in 1995, Time Out has required a valid New York State massage therapy license number for all massage ads, or they don’t run. And we’ve never had escort ads, ever.

I think the seeds of confusion were planted when our publisher, Marisa Fariña, agreed to sign a pledge, put forth by NOW, to abstain from running ads for sex workers. Since we’ve never done it, it was a no-brainer to sign it. However, when NOW began publicizing their campaign, the impression was that Time Out was agreeing to stop running ads, rather than the correct account, that we’d agree to continue to not run them. A minor distinction, but one with huge implications.


Please make a note of it.

I feel better already.