Backstory: I like to flame test my silicone sex toys, and pretty much do it to every item. When the JimmyJane Hello Touch failed my flame test, I first showed it to some other industry professionals and peers at CatalystCon who agreed with my thoughts that it didn’t appear to be pure silicone. I then contacted JimmyJane. Due to their response filled with PR fluff-n-stuff, I publicly mused that I wished I could get a real lab test done to see who was right. When a few of my followers responded that they would contribute, I asked a few peers to confirm/deny my sanity and was told to go for it. I very crudely rounded up enough funding to get a basic test done, “FTIR”, which would tell me if the polymers were just silicone, or silicone plus something else. This action spurred on something a lot bigger….To those who donated to fund this test, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without that initial support I don’t think this would have gotten off the ground so smoothly.
The lab test results for the JimmyJane Hello Touch came in on Friday, April 26th. I really didn’t think that the test results would show that it is pure silicone, since there were 4 cases of the product being subjected to the flame test with 2 different results. As I mentioned before, I even showed the torched product to a few others at CatalystCon and they also agreed that in their dildo-torching experience, it didn’t appear to be *pure* silicone. However, the FTIR test told us that the product contained no other polymers than Polydimethylsiloxane (silicone) with “No evidence of additives or plasticizers”. In other words, the flame test failed us – what we had previously believed to be true, which was that a pure silicone item would not go up in flames, is clearly not always true. The flame test is not quite as accurate as we’ve thought – while I knew that the flame test was never 100% accurate and that it could not serve as the one true answer, the results I received on the Hello Touch really seemed to indicate to the contrary of the purported material listed. I still don’t believe that the flame test is completely worthless; I believe it can still weed out the items that some places like to call “silicone” but are clear and jelly-like in appearance. However, in some cases, you won’t be able to tell if your item is pure silicone and the only way to truly tell would be to obtain a lab test result. The FTIR told us about the polymers and that there were no additives, but a more expensive test (similar to what CATT ordered) using a GC-MS would tell us better perhaps *why* our flame tests gave varied results.
So in the absence of a truly accurate Home Dildo Test, what is a sex toy geek to do? Call the Dildologists, of course.
I’m not the first person in this industry who has wished for access to a lab to test for material purity, phthalates, etc. I’m just the first sex toy reviewer who actually said “I’m doing this, NOW”. My dear, darling Crista has been part of this industry longer than I have, and she even worked in a sex toy store years ago, from clerk to Buyer, so she’s seen it all. She knows first-hand, much more than me, the horrid crap that is out there. Around that time is when CATT came together and did their test, and Crista thought how much she, too, would love to do that. TEST ALL THE TOYS! But the time wasn’t right.
The time is now right.
The universe said “Do it now” and Crista’s partner, Val Orenda, heard it. He saw “PinkSexGeek” in her prime when they went to CatalystCon together this year, and wanted to help her realize her dreams, and be a part of this world of hers. So before I even knew what was happening, as I was asking Val more questions since he is far more intelligent than I could ever hope to be, it all started coming together. Quickly. A name. A site. Registering as a business. A freakin’ Wiki. A forum. etc and so on.
I give you, Dildology.org.
From our Mission Statement:
The sex toy industry is on the rise, yet it remains largely unregulated. Dildology.org intends to provide material verification services and maintain a public database of the results, adding transparency and oversight to the industry while educating the public about the science behind pleasure products. We stand on our own, unaffiliated and uninfluenced, and we are dedicated to protecting the health and well-being of the dildo-loving population at large through education (and maybe a little entertainment).
- accept monetary donations.
- accept product donations from third-party retail stores.
- purchase products from third-party retail stores.
- choose products to test based on community feedback.
- send products to accredited labs for testing.
- compare the material composition of products to the manufacturers’ claims.
- share the results of lab tests with manufacturers.
- record the results of the lab tests in our wiki.
- make our wiki available to the public.
- provide other educational resources to the public.
We will not:
- accept product donations directly from manufacturers.
- test second-hand products – only those acquired randomly from retail stores.
- test any product manufactured more than one year ago.
- publish opinions about products or manufacturers – only facts.
- falsify data, for any reason.
- suppress or fail to publish the results of any test.
Read the whole thing here
Dildology.org is a non-profit organization run by 3 broke-ass people who care, and we need the help of lots of other people who care. So we will run by donation. If you want to help us make a difference in this industry, then please donate what you can. Since this will be a years-long endeavor, you can donate a little now and a little later. We don’t have any plans to stop. Ideally, we’d like to get 25 toys tested this year and we have a pretty good idea on what most of the 25 will be. You can see our list in the Product Directory section on the Wiki. As you can see, we’re not focusing on any one sector or company. We’re even going to have a Tantus item tested. We’re not always going to be testing things that are suspect. Rather, we are going to be testing a wide variety of materials and manufacturers to amass a directory that will give consumers a pretty good idea on which companies to trust. If you see that more often than not a manufacturer has lied about their material, then you can make an informed decision not to trust their products, if you want. We’re not in this to persecute any certain company. We’re in this to provide a much-needed service for consumers and my hope is that we will help a few misguided companies as well (in case our results are a surprise to them and they choose to take action at their plant to correct it).
What can you expect from Dildology.org? Everything we do at Dildology will be in the name of science, and science cannot have a bias. All personal affiliations, opinions, etc will be tossed out the window. We will simply acquire the data and present the data, nothing more. The data will be available for sex-positive boutique stores to eventually use to help their customers feel safe in choosing reputable toys, and help the retailers feel safe in recommending a great dildo. The data will also be there for bloggers and reviewers to refer to, as well as the average consumer.
What can you expect from me? True, I’m a founder of Dildology.org. But here, in the space of dangerouslilly.com, I will continue to be a reporter/journalist/sex toy reviewer first and foremost. When Dildology.org comes across an item that doesn’t match up to the manufacturer’s claims, Dildology as an organization will not be “alerting the media”. I’m the media, and as Lilly I will be using my blog to help shine a spotlight on the squiffy items. That won’t ever change.
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We can cry out for the industry to be regulated by our government, but really what will that get us? A higher priced dildo. A “luxury sex toy” that costs double what they do now, and their current costs are already prohibitive to many. Sex toys that take twice as long in development resulting in fewer, quality new sex toys being introduced to the market every year. When you bring the FDA to the party, you get mountains of paperwork, costly fees and annual 3-4 week-long audits to retain your FDA classifications. The better solution just might be to let the industry self-regulate, but with a little help from a neutral party.
I encourage you to share this post, write about Dildology.org on your own blog, link to it, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and just in general spread the word to as many people as you can. The bigger the media attention is from bloggers, the better chance we have of being written up in larger online mags, which betters our chances of raising the money we need to get started on testing toys for you. We were conservative thus far in sending out our press release, not wanting to spam people. If you’d like to view it and share it, it is on our site. If you received it and know of other peers who would be interested, please forward it on. Thank you!
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Want to make a difference? We could really use your help:
~ Donate money* – without it, we won’t be able to test much
~ Spread the word – the more media attention we can get, the more donations we can get
~ Incentives for donations – these can be “limited quantity” but please, no sex toys
~ A lab – Our current lab is small without the ability to cut us a price break. Currently an FTIR costs $200, while a GC-MS costs at least $400
* We were using GoFundMe to handle donations, however suddenly WePay has decided that they don’t like sex. Our account was killed in less than an hour after launch, despite the account and campaign being active/live for 2 weeks now. So for now, I direct you to our Donate Page on the site, where we will be handling things for the time being. We’ll be starting a Donations Drive in the form of a Blog Carnival in the next week or so, stay tuned!
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
When I was a kid, two instances showed a glimpse into my true nature: One, when I took apart my old Simon electronic game at age 9 just because I had no idea how it worked and I wanted to see inside. The second is when my dad bought this book…I can’t remember the name but it was very similar to what I’m sure the “Big Book of Why” is. Anyways, that became one of my favorite books.
Usually never content to leave well enough alone, I have to dig sometimes. There is another, underlying reason why I did what I did, which I can’t tell you all yet (but oh man…it’s exciting) but after my review of the Ina 2 went live I thought and thought and realized I never was going to use the original Ina so I decided to see what was underneath a Lelo dress, so to speak.
I got out a boxcutter and felt very, very crazy and bad. Like it was sex toy reviewer sacrilege to purposely ruin an expensive sex toy. And in true nerd fashion, as I’m cutting and pulling away the skin from the body I kept gleefully uttering “this is so neat!!!”. AND THAT is a sentence I never thought I’d write. Wow.
I’m not versed enough to know what the substance is that makes up the clitoral arm. You can see how it’s not as flexible as it probably should be, it isn’t stuck to the bullet vibrator that essentially makes up the clitoral arm. I could see how, from viewing the construction of it, that very frequent use and lots of manipulation of the clitoral arm could result down the line in that substance detaching from the hard plastic of the main body? I could be wrong. Since I actually do like the Ina 2 and can see myself using it, I don’t want to de-skin that one, too, but I am super curious to see what they did differently to make the clitoral arm more flexible.
The silicone skin covering the body of Ina ranges in thickness from slightly less than 2mm to just under 6mm. Glue keeps the skin firmly attached to the main body. ‘
Yes, yes I do now have an urge to go de-skin a bunch of other toys. But I won’t. Not yet.
FOR SCIENCE!Read More
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
UPDATE: The funds were raised successfully, and the test happened (results here). While waiting on the results, something else happened….Dildology.org was founded in order to keep testing more sex toys and create a positive change in the sex toy industry. A third-party neutral watchdog organization, non-profit and running on donations. If you came to this post looking to donate a little something for this test, please consider donating to fund more tests, so that you will begin to know the truth about what’s in your sex toys.
For the time being, the flame test is the at-home sex toy owner’s only tool for testing to see if an advertised sex toy is truly 100% pure silicone. Thus far it seems to have served me quite well. I do know that it isn’t perfect and I try to keep that in mind.
But so far now I’ve happened upon two products from two major thought-to-be-safe companies and have been brushed off to a degree. As I said in the Toxic Toys post, I learned that it is very possible that the Chinese manufacturing plants decide on their own to cut corners and pennies, and these cuts are not usually cleared with the company. Adding in some elastomer to a pure silicone product will reduce the cost. And hey, we’re just consumers. We’re just concerned with shoving these things in our holes and feeling good and how the fuck will WE ever know the difference, right??
Enter, Me. You. Us. The reviewers and our fucking lighters. The fact that we’re doing THAT much is a start. We’re getting the ball rolling. We have a platform and some of us are not afraid to challenge the status quo and speak up.
I’d like to dedicate an entire post to the JimmyJane Hello Touch saga, so I won’t be going into detail just yet about their response to me (yes, they finally responded). Suffice to say, their response lit a fire under me. There’s something you need to know about me….when I get told that I’m basically full of shit and/or lying, I get pissed. Furious. When I am reciting nothing but a common sense fact and I am told “sorry, I’m seeing something very different and I’m right, you’re wrong” I get irate. I go out of my way to prove them wrong. Now, JimmyJane didn’t exactly outright say I’m wrong, but they basically did. They ignored a major fact in my laying-out of the logic and it negates their whole argument. If this were a company who truly cared about the material quality of their products, they would listen and give my words weight and would genuinely look into it at the plant level. I do believe there exists some companies who would do that.
I feel that the only way to get recognition on this is to present them with proof. Will I create a change at JimmyJane? Likely not. But will I create SOME CHANGE? Yes. I think that this will, if I’m right. The fact is: Myself and another reviewer have flame-tested our Hello Touch silicone, and they both failed. A store owner and another person who shall for now remain unnamed (unless she raises her hand) both flame tested and it passed. How is it that 2 people could hold a flame to it and in 5 seconds it goes up in flames (not smoldering, not a singe, FLAMES) and then two others can hold a lighter to it for minutes on end with no ill results? Something isn’t right.
My plan is to get the certified test done by the same lab that CATT used, and check for material composition. They will tell me if it is pure silicone or not. What I would really like to do is also send them one from someone who flame tested and it passed, to see what the material difference is, but I doubt I’d raise enough money for that. Either way, this process will be well-documented and written up. I plan to do my best through connections to get this story published somewhere besides just my blog (especially if the lab test shows that it isn’t pure silicone). While the recognition from the media may not get an actual change happening from JimmyJane on this product, it will lead to bigger things. For one, the flame test won’t be blown off like it has been in the past. Two, manufacturers will know that people are becoming smarter, and caring more, about the materials. Three, I’m hoping it will also highlight to manufacturers that they need to send off random samples to a quality lab to make sure that the plant isn’t making secret changes.
All I have is my drive and my desire and my words, to enact a change. And while the change may be small…..a small change begets another small change which begets, eventually a big change. Hey, the industry has made great strides in the last 10 years. We can push it harder and faster.
So the test costs $200. Yep, that’s a lot. If anybody with the means who is as concerned as me and is as interested in starting a change as me would like to contribute, I would really appreciate that. I’ve had 2 people so far tell me they’ll chip in to the pot. I love those two people. If you can’t help, you can’t help. I get it. Most of us are poor. Most days I’m poor, lol. When I get paid next month I’ll be a little less poor. If you have the ability to help, send me an email. If you’re on ToySwap you can help by buying one of the sex toys I have up for swap/sell; that would get you something and get me help.
If you’d like to comment on this matter publicly and you’re in the industry, please feel free to comment with a different name and even put my email address in the comment form below. I know that many people can only talk to me about this privately and I respect that. If you’d like to just tell me I’ve got ridiculous pie-in-the-sky daydreams and I’m wasting everyone’s time and my money, tell me that too.
But I’m tired of reviewing and writing and nothing happening.
I need to TRY.Read More
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
A few years ago, Lelo decided to cash in on the wave of “luxury” sex toys and kick things up a notch. A fancy new name for a fancier-looking line: Insignia. These first three new uber-luxury sex toys – the Isla, Alia and Soraya – certainly looked posh. Lelo’s previous line had been a signature look at the time: a white, shiny plastic handle with 4 buttons set in a unique configuration and standard colors. The Insignia line completely changed the look. No more white plastic! No obvious handle or buttons! HOW FANCY! Well, in theory. They were certainly pretty to look at, but I found with the Isla that the inner core of metallic-painted plastic caused major headaches when it came tine for clean-up. And even though that metallic-painted plastic inset looked like metal, it was not. Yet, we didn’t question it at first.
Recently, a reader emailed me:
Just wondering if you know anything about the gold foil flaking off the pointy end of the Soraya? I love my black friend but I’m a bit wary of using it when I can’t find the paint flakes after toy time. I haven’t had it all that long either. I’m not rough cleaning it, no scrubbing or harsh chemicals.
This gave me pause. Yes, I too would be a bit concerned if I knew that there were flakes of paint hanging out in my vagina. Since the onus is on the manufacturer to be truthful (and thus far, Lelo always has told the truth when they’ve described their materials) about the product, what with there being no regulations on sex toys, we must assume that the metallic paint is body safe should it flake off. Nothing about the composition of the paint is ever mentioned on the site.
But even beyond just the safety concern is suddenly the fact that your once-posh-looking nearly-$200 vibrator suddenly looks like the sex toy equivalent of a New Years Day hangover – still wearing last night’s fancy dress and makeup, but everything is faded and a bit scuffed from the enthusiastic partying, with missing spangles and sequins and shiny skin. Seriously. I expect a lot from a company who charges almost $200 for a dual-stimulator vibrator that has no bells and whistles like rotating shafts and independently controlled internal and external portions. I expect a lot from Lelo, period. I started looking into things more online, specifically the EdenFantasys forums. I tend to avoid them with a 10-foot-pole, but they do sometimes have their uses.
I found a lengthy post from a Soraya owner who still views the Soraya as her all-time favorite vibrator, despite all of the issues. And the issues don’t stop at cosmetic. At 6 months in, paint flaked off for her. After about 12-15 charges, the unique charging port changed from a pinpoint hole to a larger hole with tiny bits of silicone breaking off. When we first received the Insignia line, reviewers were baffled as to where to put the charging pin – the silicone skin was completely healed, there was no port cap! We were told that it wasn’t necessary, that it would break through and be so tiny that water wouldn’t get in during use. And it didn’t. But if that pinpoint hole should enlarge? I don’t know. After 8 months of use, the owner had a motor malfunction. What I find important to note is that she said that if the motor had not malfunctioned at 8 months in, she would not have been able to get a warranty replacement. I was shocked. Paint is flaking off, yet that is considered a cosmetic issue and is not covered under their 1 year warranty?!? And, good thing the malfunction happened at 8 months in. Past the year mark, one would only get a 50% off credit towards a new Lelo. Now, this doesn’t mean that you would have these issues with the motor. You may never. But chances of the paint flaking off? I’m saying it’s pretty likely:
Despite the reader who emailed me saying that she treats her toy well, it seems that even those who are careful can suffer a surface scratch to the painted plastic portion and not even realize it – until it later starts flaking. Since the painted portion is concave, it’s less likely that it is a rubbing-off issue. When I used to use silver-toned corded bullet vibrators, after a few months of heavy use the paint would start wearing. I didn’t use them internally so I wasn’t as concerned. But these were cheap, $10 bullets. Not $200 rabbits or $150 lackluster straight vibes or $115 clitoral vibes.
I contacted Lelo to ask if my reader’s Soraya is covered under warranty, just in case. In reading the warranty terms on the Lelo site, it says:
This pleasure object is intended for adults only. LELO warrants this pleasure object for a period of ONE (1) YEAR, after the date of original purchase, against defects due to faulty workmanship or materials. If you discover a defect and notify LELO during the warranty period, LELO will, at its discretion, replace the pleasure object free of charge.
The warranty covers working parts that affect the function of the pleasure object. It does NOT cover cosmetic deterioration caused by fair wear and tear or damage caused by accident, misuse or neglect. Any attempt to open or take apart the pleasure object (or its accessories) will void the warranty.
Now….I take issue with this. I feel that the paint flaking off of a portion you use internally is a result of faulty workmanship or materials. I don’t view that as a mere cosmetic issue.
I can see the paint flaking off of the battery covers to the Insignia SenseMotion remotes, as well, in fact much more easily. I’ve already scratched the surface of mine just by trying to get the damn battery cover off, even using their plastic key. A lot of handling of that remote would cause paint to flake off. Now that I would not take as big of an issue with since it would not be on the internally used portion, but again for the price of these toys…..I would feel cheated to have to look at an ugly, expensive toy.
Thankfully, Lelo responded the way I had hoped they would:
So it seems that the problematic owner from the forums took the warranty to heart and never asked. She didn’t outright say that she tried to return it under warranty and was denied. She assumed she was, and her assumptions made it sound like fact in her reporting.
Always ask. Especially when it comes to higher end companies like Lelo.Read More
Before I even write anything about CatalystCon, I’m writing this post because I feel that this information is too important to wait.
We all were once ignorant about sex toys, because the truths were never talked about. Truth, fact and education is slowly being spread around in the hopes of a revolution. I’m playing the small part that I can, and sharing with you everything I learn. Many fellow bloggers know this now, but a lot of consumers do not so I will say this for the benefit of all: there are no regulations on sex toys. None. You have one method for safety, and that is to buy only toys made by a trusted company. But this whole unregulated thing goes far deeper down the rabbit hole than I realized. I learned so much at the Toxic Toys panel, and this post is about EDUCATION. Is it scary? Yes. Does that mean it should be covered up? No. Never. On this blog, I’m sorta like The South:
“I’m saying this is the South. And we’re proud of our crazy people. We don’t hide them up in the attic. We bring ‘em right down to the living room and show ‘em off. See, Phyllis, no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they’re on.”
— Julia Sugarbaker, “Designing Women”
I’m bringing this crazy, and scary, information out to the front porch, not just the living room, and giving it a cocktail. I’m waving the banner high and I’m asking that you read it, learn it, and make changes to keep yourself and others healthy. Because there are wonderful, safe sex toys out there: Silicone, Glass, Stainless Steel, even hard Plastic. And wood!
The 10% Myth
There is a “fact” that has widely been spread around between reviewers, blogs and social media, like a game of telephone to the point that we don’t even know its origins, that a sex toy need only contain a minimum of 10% in order to garner the use of the word “silicone” on the packaging. During the Toxic Toys panel at Catalyst, Metis and Jennifer of Smitten Kitten confirmed to us that the 10% thing isn’t even true. There is NO regulation, so why would there even be that? But really, regardless, whether there is 10% or 50% silicone, there is still a percentage of that item that is something like elastomer and is therefore porous to some degree; and while it’s not likely, it may even contain phthalates or heavy metals or VOCs. Might. If they can and do lie on the 100% silicone claim, what else are they lying about?
Bottom line: A company could have the manufacturing plant in China put “silicone” on the label when it’s far from silicone. Nothing and no one can stop them.
Except…for us. Consumers would have to file class-action lawsuits against a sex toy company who mislabels. WE CAN START THE CHANGE.
April 8th: Edited to add: In research trying to find out what exactly is the bizarre material that Screaming O calls SEBS I happened upon my old review for their unfortunate Studio Line MakeUp Brush Vibrator, which was my first foray into the world of failed flame tests. On my review at EF, another reviewer noted that while I was panning S.O. for calling it plainly “silicone” when it is not, that she was told it was “SEBS”, I contacted Screaming O and received this response:
No, Screaming O, “our government” doesn’t say SHIT about sex toy material listings. You can see, then, how easily this myth got spread around.
So if there are no regulations on the silicone thing, can they lie about the phthalates-free claim, too? YES. Nothing on that packaging has to hold a grain of truth. NO REGULATION. I asked because my Sex Nerd Spidey Senses went up a year or so ago when I was doing some work for a new sex toy retail site and saw that a lot of cheap, crap jelly, PVC, UR3, and Cyberskin sex toys made by the big companies all of a sudden were labeled as phthalates-free – simply because this had become the big buzz word that consumers were responding to. It is not the only toxic element that can be present, but it is the one getting all of the attention because phthalates are banned from children’s toys, dog chew toys, etc.
The Brand Thinks it is Silicone
It’s simply a fact of the industry that the vast majority of the sex toys are being made by a third-party plant in China because this is where it is the most affordable to do so. This is mostly true for vibrators, anything containing electronics, moving parts, etc. So the brands/companies go to China and find a plant and they agree on a material and formulation, etc. They can tell China that “Hey I do want this to actually be 100% silicone.”. The big companies are going for price point – a low one- so unless there is someone in the plant regulating and watching over the plant, that plant may not make the sex toy out of the exact same materials the subsequent times after buyer approval isn’t happening.
Phthalates are Not the Worst Thing Out There
Pigmentation can be an issue. The Danish did their big study on sex toys (Tantus Inc. kept a PDF of the study so that you can read it yourself). They took 16 random sex toys and analyzed them. Metis summed it up here:
In 2006 the Dutch EPA did a study where they randomly chose 16 adult toys from a store. Out of those 16 tested 3 had arsenic, 6 had antimony, 12 had lead and 7 had cadmium. Cadmium is a heavy metal. Every time you expose yourself to those toys your cadmium level increases. One of the cadmium toys had levels so high that the EU would have required a radioactive sticker on the product had it known this had been imported into the continent. So what was it? The radioactive sex toy was a Chinese made Slimline vibrator made of safe ABS. The issue wasn’t what the toy was made of but what it was pigmented with. This toy was yellow and cadmium was its pigment.
Should you avoid ALL yellow sex toys? I don’t know the answer. Cadmium is also used as a plastic softener, so it’s not necessarily tied to the color yellow. I also want to point out though that this big test was done in 2005. The sex toy industry has come a very long way in the last 8 years. I would be especially interested to see the same testing done again, now.
So Now What
NOW how do we, as consumers, protect our bodies?
1. Call the Dildologists. After the writing of this post, a new organization as been formed to serve as an industry watchdog, who will raise money and independently acquire material validation from accredited labs through funding.
2. I can point you again to the flame test; however, this test is not 100% accurate. You can perform this on a tiny little section near the handle, near a part that doesn’t touch your body and the results will be quick and obvious. If there is a different method that will be more reliable, I’ll tell you. At Dildology, we’re also currently working on “Kitchen Tests” that you can perform on materials using items that you may have in your house; when we formulate the tests we will pass the information on to you.
3. Here’s a weird test recommended by Ducky Doolittle, also part of the Toxic Toys panel: Lick it. Your lips are very sensitive. If your lips tingle, go numb, etc? Do not use that toy. Your mucus membranes absorb things so quickly, both the good and the bad. A mindframe of “It’s just a sex toy that I only use occasionally, and I just really prefer jelly!! But I don’t use it much, and it doesn’t burn me, so I’m fine!” is not going to keep you safe. A lot of bad things in cheap sex toys won’t give you a clear cut reaction, but can indeed slowly cause damage to your body that you don’t even know about until it’s too late and no one will be able to pinpoint it.
I think you might be reading this and freaking out. I don’t want you to stop using sex toys. Just be careful on which manufacturers you buy from – in this post I have listed out the brands that I’ve researched and found to be reputable. That isn’t to say that each one makes only non-porous toys but I believe that, as an example, Evolved, is trustworthy that their porous TPR toys are still non-toxic. If this changes, I’ll let you know. If you get a sex toy that has an odor? Ask the manufacturer/brand. Call them out on it (Consider the packaging, sometimes a smell can be from the packaging – if so, the smell will dissipate after separating it from the packaging for a few days). Also keep an eye on the Coalition Against Toxic Toys for their recommendations and to Dildology as we begin to build our catalog of results.
This isn’t the end, the information here isn’t finite. Things are changing, education is being passed around, and reporting will continue to happen. I will keep writing. I want you all to do your research and keep writing. Take off your blogger hat sometimes and put on your journalist hat. YOU CAN DO IT! We can be the revolution, we can be the change.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written about scrapers, and I’m sure most of you have heard about this happening. I’m going to do my best to help you figure out what to do and how to fix it the next time you see your fellow bloggers tweeting about yet another site who has stolen blogger content.
Usually what happens is that an unscrupulous site will use a “scraper” program which copies the content of your RSS feed word for word, link for link, and automatically posts it on their site. Sometimes they will not do anything at all to your post; it goes up on their site, links photos and all. The (slight) upside to this is that if anybody is reading this site, they’ll click on the links and eventually get back to your site. But that’s really not enough of an upside. They are using your post as free content to pad their site for SEO purposes which will in turn net them more advertising.
Sometimes they will put your post up and the post title will link directly back to your page, not to the post on their site. These assholes believe that that is “attribution” and they’re in the clear. No. I recently had to deal with such a jackhole who is still following my blog. Despite my comments on his site to remove my copyrighted shit, and his eloquent email that I quoted on Twitter, and despite me reporting him to HostGator and his posts being removed, he still is trying to add me to places like GooglePlus. FYI: RSS feeds do not at all give someone like him permission to use your content. Their blog/site is not a feed reader; a feed reader is the only thing allowed to publish an RSS feed like he had done. They will also try to call this “re-blogging” and it is not. See: Ethical Blogging Practices
Sometimes they will remove your photos (or if there were none, add their own) and replace them with porn-y pics. Sometimes they’ll take it a step further and replace any links in your post to links that they choose, or they’ll add in extra links for keyword farming. This is what ScandalShack.com did to Mina and many other bloggers back in 2011.
ZOMG But It’s Duplicate Content and Google Will HATE Me!
When they talk about “duplicate content” they’re usually referring to it happening from within your own site. Like you search for a review on the Lelo Mona and it shows up on Google once due to it being a recent post and the title is in your sidebar, a second time under the category “Reviews”, a third time under the tag “vibrators”, a fourth time under the tag “Lelo” and so on. But when it comes to “duplicate content” due to being scraped, 9 times out of 10, Google knows that your post showed up first and is the real post. You won’t be penalized for it.
Before diving in, I’d like to briefly touch on a concern webmasters often voice: in most cases a webmaster has no influence on third parties that scrape and redistribute content without the webmaster’s consent. We realize that this is not the fault of the affected webmaster, which in turn means that identical content showing up on several sites in itself is not inherently regarded as a violation of our webmaster guidelines. This simply leads to further processes with the intent of determining the original source of the content—something Google is quite good at, as in most cases the original content can be correctly identified, resulting in no negative effects for the site that originated the content.
But that’s not why I care – I worked hard on my damn content and I don’t allow others to use it and indirectly profit from it or claim it as their own. I own the copyright. Even if I didn’t have copyright notices out the yingyang here, it’s an unspoken thing, this whole “blog” copyright business. I created the content, I own it. Just like anything on the internet. Creator Owns All.
The Hostess With the Mostest
The entity that will be following the laws of DMCA is the host of the site. Not the domain registrar. Sometimes, though, figuring out who is hosting it isn’t that easy if you don’t know what you’re doing. The tried-and-true method is to use a site called who.is. But what happens? I’m going to use the site who most recently scraped me and I stupidly tried to engage with the site owner (it never, ever works…trust me), the one I mentioned above.
So who.is talks about a lot of stuff there, and what do you see first? GoDaddy. Nope, that’s not the host. That’s the registrar – who they bought the domain from. Many places don’t use the same company for both hosting and domain registration. The word “host” is never used here, but it’s hiding down there in the “nameserver”. Hostgator. Ok, that’s easy, they’re a major hosting company. Whatever it says in nameserver, basically, just type that in as a site and it usually will take you to a hosting company.
But in searching for a better way to locate a host, I found another site: Whoishostingthis.com. Supposedly this site will tell you exactly who is hosting the site, in plain English. Except…maybe not. For the site above, it claims WebsiteWelcome is the host. Typing in that as a site comes up with a text-only page that tells you to email abuse@websitewelcome for any copyright complaints. Weird, right? So I did a little Google-fu and find that WebsiteWelcome is indeed related to Hostgator. They are a private reseller label or something. But I had already contacted HostGator and they responded appropriately, meaning they are the host. If a company is not the host, they will respond and tell you that they’re not. Half the time they’ll tell you who IS.
Let’s try another. Don’t ask me why but as I sat there trying to think up a random, porn-y site address the first thing that popped into my head was midgetporn. So that’s what I went with. Who.is says that the nameserver is he.net. Typing that in takes me to a site that appears to maybe be a little out of date, Hurricane Electric hosting. They don’t have anything obvious up for copyright claims/DMCA takedowns; it takes a lot of digging. They don’t list a contact for that in their contacts list; I had to go locate their Terms of Service under the Legal page to locate their copyright claims email.
But what if I had gone to Whoishostingthis.com? Hmm. They tell me that the (likely a reseller) is “V Entertainment”. Just like above with the WebsiteWelcome company, typing in ventertainment.com gives me not much – but it does give a contact form for “issues with any of our member sites”.
Hosting Reseller: The problem with using Whoishostingthis.com is that they’re listing the reseller. Many times the reseller IS the site owner, or is just as shady as the site owner. You need to go to the nameserver for maximum effect.
Private Nameservers: You might come across a private nameserver, which would look like ns1.midgetporn.com. A realistic case: I looked up another popular type of spammy site, the work from home arena. Literally, I who.is’d workfromhome.com. Bingo! Their nameserver? name-server.com. Go there and you’ll see a basic holding page which just contains more spammy advertising links to related things. So what about the who.is on name-server.com? It’s more of a circlejerk, but you’ll see the same registrar as the workfromhome – ENOM. Given all that, I would start with the registrar if workfromhome.com was scraping or stealing my content. I would hope that they could point me in the right direction.
I Have No Fucking Idea Nameservers: Twice I’ve dealt with sites where the nameserver wasn’t easy to pin to a host. Once it was Moniker Services for the registrar but monikerdns.net for the NS and I don’t even know how I found their host. I’m sorry. I’m hoping someone else will be able to shed light in comments.
Ironically, you don’t want to push the host to take down their whole site. Why? As a rep from a hosting company once told me, if they take down the site, the site could potentially be back up online in as little as 10 minutes with the person going to an “unscrupulous” “Russian or Chinese” host. And then, apparently, you’re screwed? But if they just take down the page(s) in question, eventually the site owner will stop targeting you, usually fairly quickly.
Also, you can’t report content theft unless you are the owner of the content being stolen. So if you find something of Violet Blue’s, you can’t tell the host to remove it. You don’t own the original, she does. They only want to hear from you.
Many places will have a form online for you to fill out. Some have nothing but an email address. In that case, fill out a standard DMCA form letter and send it to them. With Hostgator, I had to fax them. Who faxes in this century?? Apparently HG does. I wasn’t about to trot off to Staples so I found one of those free, online fax services that will send it for free if you agree to embed advertising. You’re not the one receiving the fax so it doesn’t matter. Hostgator sent me a canned response within minutes of receiving the fax. When the requisite 48 hours for the site owner to Do The Right Thing has passed and they have not, in fact, done the right thing, HostGator emails you to tell you that they’ve forcibly removed the content and you’re done. If your content is on a blogspot blog, that’s the easiest DMCA you’ll ever do, since there is a link in the nav bar above all Blogspot blogs that allows you to report content theft/spam/etc.
Below is a list of some hosting companies and how to contact them, borrowed from PlagiarismToday.com. The post containing links to various sites and hosts is horribly outdated, written years ago, and is missing a few hosts (like HostGator) but there are so many hosting companies that they cannot all be listed. I’ll list whichever ones anybody comments with and update this part.
BlueHost (See: Abuse department) (email)
DirectNIC (See: 20.s) (email)
Network Solution (See: Copyright Complaints) (email)
Rackspace (See: Copyright Infringement Notice) (email)
Surpass Hosting (mail)
Yahoo Web Hosting (email)
How To Stop a Predator
You can’t prevent RSS scraping. There used to be a WordPress plugin called nomoreframe, but it works no more. The bots found a different way. So basically you just need to add in things to your RSS that mention copyright, link back to your blog, etc. These things, though, will only help you out if they are scraping your RSS feed. If they are taking the long way around which involves copying your text content and replacing links with ads and adding in porn photos, then there likely isn’t a whole lot you can do to prevent it. You can only hope that they leave in at least one link.
Why? If you have enabled ping/trackbacks on your posts then you will get notified by WordPress or Blogger when something links to you. For awhile there I was turning off pingbacks because of things like Pleasurists and e[lust], I don’t like to see those things clogging up the comments section. I suspect some people leave them as a way to show that their post was well-liked, a vanity thing, but as a reader and blog owner I find they just add visual clutter. So I have the trackbacks on again but I don’t ever publish them. If it weren’t for the trackback I wouldn’t have known that the illustrious B T Phillips was stealing my content.
©Feed: “Extends the feed! A report of copyright, a digital fingerprint and the IP of the feed reader can be added. In addition, some search engines are scanned for the digital fingerprint in order to find possible content theft. The feed can be also be supplemented with comments and topic-relevant contributions.” This is the primary plugin that I recommend. You can add links back to your page, a copyright notice, and the digital fingerprint will help you find sources of scraping (but it will also show allowed sources, like feed readers).
If you have dealt with a host that isn’t listed, please comment and let us know. I’ll add it in. If you use any other methods for prevention, control or hunting people down, tell us your best methods.Read More