Jan 242012
 
I'm mad as hell!

Today I happened upon a sex toy reviewing blog whose mission statement proudly proclaimed that they don’t publish negative reviews. If they receive a product that has no redeeming qualities, they simply won’t write a review.

I died a little when I read that. And then I got angry. They boast this, like it makes them better people, better reviewers. To companies and products, sure. To consumers? absolutely not. I think I touched on this a bit about a year ago when I wrote about ethics in blogging, but this is a full-scale 4-alarm rant.

When I first started buying sex toys I was buying them from a couple of sites who I don’t think let a negative customer review go live. It was nothing but moderate-to-glowing. And then when I’d buy the toy with high expectations, only to be grandly disappointed, I’d be pissed. I’ve come across this phenomenon more and more. When I had 3 really bad experiences in a row with Shari’s Berries I finally went to the site and wrote out long, informative (complete with photos) comments on the items. Those comments never got published. Instead, the only comments and ratings are all glowingly positive. Bullshit.

I’ve seen arguments for the anti-negative-review people along the lines of “just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone else” and I will agree to that. But when you sugar coat things in a way that would make a cupcake jealous you’re only helping out the company. You are not helping the people for whom you presumably write the reviews: the clueless mobs who are absolutely overwhelmed with all the choices1. I was one of those people. Many of us were. So please, place yourself in the shoes of the old, sex-toy-noob you and think “How would I feel if I had spent $125 of my own money on this toy after reading this wishy washy review only to find that there are faults galore?” Your opinion is valid. Your opinion matters. I want to hear your opinion in all of its bluntly honest glory before I drop the money on, well, anything really. Your review that details out just the facts, because you couldn’t like it enough to praise it, isn’t telling me anything.

There are degrees of negativity in reviews of any kind. I’ve read them all myself, not just in sex toys but in computer parts and accessories, clothing, you name it. You can always tell when someone is just pissed off at a defective item (or they didn’t read before buying) vs it’s an actual problem that should concern you before you buy. My utterly scathing reviews of items such as the Lelo Tiani or the JimmyJane Form 3 are not scathing because they didn’t work with my body. They are scathing because I’m pissed. You want me to pay WHAT for a toy that doesn’t even do what you claim it will, or do it WELL? Just like I won’t let you buy a damn jelly toy, I won’t encourage you to spend the equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries on a sex toy that feels like another brick in the wall. The Lelo Isla – is it pretty? Sure. It’s pretty. Does my vagina care about pretty? Does pretty give me an orgasm? Nope. Nor should “pretty” also equal “to get the bitch clean you’ll need 20 minutes of your life, a toothbrush, and the edge of an old credit card”.  I think that I do a pretty good job of noting that my extreme dislike of the vibrations or the size or the design didn’t work for me personally and that they could work for someone else. And I feel that I can still note that and give a negative review. Because if I were the one looking at reviews to figure out what 1 sex toy out of 100 I should drop $100 on, I want the truth. Does your truth equal my truth? Not always. Not frequently, even. But if I can see that you as a reviewer have the full spectrum of reviews from “ZOMG LOVE” to “DIE IN A FIRE” with plenty in between then I trust you. And I’ll work my way through your writing and reviews to figure out if we like the same thing and whether or not I would agree with your assessment of “Wow, this baby is STRONG!”.

So let’s say that you are someone who doesn’t like to write really critical, negative reviews. Why? Who are you helping?

Are you afraid that the company you review for will get upset and not give you anything else to review? If so, fuck them. They’re unethical.

Are you not brave enough to be a dissenting voice? Stand up. Be heard.

Do you think that you won’t make any affiliate sales? Then you care more about the money than anything else and that’s sad. Here’s how to commission-perk a negative, shredding review: Suggest two or three other alternatives that you think are better.

The truth, even if it’s the awful truth, isn’t mean. Oh, sure, you can be. But for the love of orgasms, tell me the fuckin truth! Is it wimpy and mediocre and nothing special and not really worth $139? Tell me. I will have $139 worth of greater respect for you.When you hide your negative review from seeing the light of day you are doing yourself a disservice but mostly you are doing every other potential buyer a disservice. Shame on you. You KNEW it was a piece of shit and you didn’t tell me?? I’d like my money back, please, from your pocket. Yes, that’s how much it pisses me off.

Hi, I’m Lilly, and I write nothing but no-holds-barred honest sex toy reviews. I call a spade a spade, and name it out for being crap no matter if it’s $39 crap or $139 crap. Crap is crap and you shouldn’t have to buy it. You, the person who is searching Google for reviews and information on sex toys in general, on dildos for beginners, on Fleshlight vs Tenga, on the We Vibe 2 vs the We Vibe 3….. YOU ARE THE PERSON I REVIEW FOR. Nobody else.

okay maybe my clitoris a little bit.

 

  1. not at all dissimilar to the experience you get when you’re sick and you’re standing in the cold remedy aisle looking at 60 products that are all somehow nearly identical but totally different and you just want to sit down and cry. No? Just me?
  • http://heyepiphora.com Epiphora

    place yourself in the shoes of the old, sex-toy-noob you and think “How would I feel if I had spent $125 of my own money on this toy after reading this wishy washy review only to find that there are faults galore?”

    Fucking EXACTLY. I really would hate to ever know that I swayed someone into purchasing something that they hated. It makes me feel horribly guilty, because I would NEVER want that to happen to me.

  • http://www.dustbunnyinthewind.com nitebyrd

    Honest reviews are what I always look for and what I will give when doing reviews. If toy/product sucks, potential buyers need to know it. Sellers that allow and encourage REAL reviews are doing their customers a valuable service.

  • http://thesensualscholar.blogspot.com BashfulBabe

    I think I’ve been spoilt: first review product I got did not win me over and I happily said as much on the company’s site. Not only did they publish it in all it’s unimpressed glory, but they reduced the price, and sent me yet another product. I’ve put up some exceptionally bitchy hate-filled reviews, and still they consider me one of their trusted reviewers. I’m still shocked when I hear of stores who only publish 5* reviews, and people who are scared to not gush over each and every product.

    As a consumer, I’ve actually bought more items because of a negative review than positives. You hated that the vibes were too strong, or the chest of the babydoll too big for your X-cups? That’s my bitch!

    I bought the Tiani after reading 10th positive reviews and no negatives. I want to kill each of those 10th stooges who failed to mention it doesn’t work if you own legs. Fuckers. That was my money your fluff wasted.

    ~I am so sorry that you wasted your money on the Tiani :( Frankly if I were you I’d go yell at each one of those people who fluffed up that waste of space vibrator. Make them see what their weak review has done.

  • http://www.kiraskink.com Kira

    Thank you for this post! I can’t believe that someone would downright refuse to write a negative review. Some of my very first reviews were negative ones because I felt they were the most important ones to get out there. Someone has to be honest in the review world. It’s unfortunate that there are many that will write glowing reviews of all products when many just plain suck. I’m new to your blog but I appreciate your integrity!

  • txymxy

    This is half the reason I quit working in the sex shop I was at. The day I heard my area manager (who goddamn KNOWS better) recommending a jelly toy when the sale of pricier silicone wasn’t quite going over well, I knew I had to get the hell out of there. I could not tolerate straight-up lying to customers in order to make a sale – like, wtf? How is THAT going to get us repeat customers, anyway? Just, brutal. If I had been any of those customers who were sugar-coated at in order to be parted with their money, I would’ve been livid once I realized what had happened. I take review writing to be much the same. Excellent post, I agree wholeheartedly.

  • Insane Hussein

    And sex toy review blogs too. It’s like an epidemic.

    I’ve seen it a lot on author blogs with reader/reviewer comments saying they write nothing but positive reviews. Books are expensive and you can’t resell them for the higher prices as you could sex toys. Write an honest review–you do your readers such a disservice when you do not tell the truth about a product you did/don’t like.

  • http://ofsexandlove.com Adriana

    Fuck yes. Seriously. I have NEVER agreed with you more. In fact, people who don’t post negative reviews really seem like liars to me. That’s right, I think you’re a fucking liar if you don’t post negative reviews.

    I once got into a bit of an argument with a review blogger who said “My blog is a positive place.” Then your blog shouldn’t have reviews, eh? If you just want to gush about shit, do it on Amazon. I don’t know. It just rubbed me so wrong and I couldn’t articulate it at the time like you did with this.

  • Lady Donovan

    @ Adriana

    This sums up how I feel exactly. However, please don’t do it on Amazon! I bought a relatively pricey sex toy there and it was a dud. It wouldn’t turn on and stay on and it wasn’t as waterproof as it was advertised. It was far too large. Ugh. I could go on all day. Anyway, lesson ‘effin learned.

    Lady D

    ~I agree, inappropriate gushing that covers up the true colors and flaws should never be okay in ANY place.

  • Karen Blue

    Brilliant rant! You bring up some damn good points. I always try to make a toy work for me, or figure out who the hell it would work for. Somethings are just crap, and you’re right. I should be more willing to say what I didn’t like about it. Thanks for reminding me of why reviews are important in the big picture. We keep those shit toy makers honest, or try to anyways. While I can’t say I have written a review with the sole intention of trying to make something look good, I needed reminding about the cost factor.
    Thanks!

  • http://www.nakedatourage.com Joan Price

    Superb post, Lilly. I do tell the truth in my reviews, though I don’t get hate-filled, just perturbed at why the toy doesn’t work better than it does. Often a toy doesn’t work for me but would for someone else (who can handle wider girth or less intensity that I need), so I temper my review in that direction. Occasionally a toy seems just plain silly and inept (e.g. the iRide), and I say so, and I’m amused that those reviews become my most popular.

    I did recently decide not to review a device that didn’t work for me at all — in fact, it absolutely turned me off rather than on — after a phone conference with the owner of the company/ developer of the product convinced me that it was just made too large for my petite needs. But I’ve been regretting my agreement not to review it because I don’t know that I’m that unique in my age group. Thank you for making me question that decision.

    I am absolutely looking forward to a review I’ll write soon about a product that boasts that a full charge gives two hours of use, when I got 22 minutes before it whispered its way to a full stop!

  • http://www.pleasurepiratess.com Pleasure Piratess

    Ahhh… if only I could have all the money back that I wasted on toys that didn’t hold up to the crap the reviewer was peddling… I could probably afford all that stuff that is currently on my wishlist!!

    Great article!