Jul 112014

This got to be a little more complicated than just 5 simple things, but more knowledge is good…right?? Right. I’ve also asked some veterans to weigh in. Epiphora made this great post for sex toy reviewers but I wanted to see if we could narrow it down and make it less about being a newbie and more about “continuing education”. So Tip #4 comes to you from Piph! I want to be clear and say that a lot of these things don’t apply to your average blogger who is just blogging to have an outlet, a writing voice, etc. That type of blogging is no less valid; you’re in it for you and nobody else and that’s awesome. But if you want to be a reviewer and be given things to review from companies, then you need to treat it like a job in some ways. 

1. Know about sex toy material safety and proper care and cleaning. Familiarize yourself with truth vs myth. We’ve dispelled a lot of myths in recent years – like we know now that pure silicone sex toys can be all up in each other’s business with no ill effects. There shall be no melting, no deformities. We once thought this to be true because so many companies tried to pass TPR off as silicone. It’s not, nor is there such a thing as a TPR “blended” with silicone. I, at this very moment, have a drawer full of silicone dildos. I have an over-the-door shoe rack and I have multiple sex toys shoved in each pocket. Nothing bad has happened. Yet I still see people cautioning that you must store each sex toy in its own bag and don’t let them touch. I also still see a lot of people singing the praises of how good a certain dildo feels, despite the fact that it stinks, but hey it feels so good that I’m gonna overlook that little issue with the smell. That’s fine if you want to risk your health and welfare, but at least educate your readers about porosity, toxic toys, and safe sharing at a minimum.

2. Understand what your audience actually needs from a sex toy review. Spend fewer words describing how the toy functions in  extreme detail and fewer words describing the packaging in detail. This isn’t to say you can or should avoid this info all the time, but it’s less important. I’m a reviewer but I’m also a buyer. When I am reading your sex toy reviews, I am going to go straight for the “what does it feel like” section. I want to know if it’s rumbly or buzzy and how powerful it is and what you would compare it to – comparisons often help me decide. If you say it’s slightly less powerful than the Lelo Gigi, that’s a big tell for me. Of course, how you feel about specific toys overall helps me, too. If you feel that the Lelo Gigi is ultra-powerful and rumbly, then your reviews aren’t going to work for me. I’m not saying that your perception of vibration intensity is wrong….I’m saying it doesn’t match my perception. For some people, most vibrators are intensely powerful. For other people (like mahself) there’s a small list of vibrators that are powerful enough / the right kind of powerful. And please…..don’t be afraid to talk about your body. Someone with an exposed clitoris and minimal labia, who is also thin, will have vastly different opinions on some vibrators than I do. There are simply some designs that do not work on vulvas like mine – fleshy outer labia with a very recessed clit.

3.  Write reviews to benefit your readersnot your affiliate account, not the company you’re reviewing for. Your reviews should be for your readers, to help them determine if the sex toy will work for them, and that goes beyond vibrations or girth.  Being overly positive, refusing to write a negative review, trying to find silver linings on shitty toys, proclaiming a weak toy as being “great for beginners“, not discussing serious flaws in design or use…..these all do a great disservice to your audience. They need to trust you and your opinion and THEN they will buy from your links. Worried about not making money from a negative review? Recommend something else similar that you feel is better. IF the flaws aren’t great but the design just didn’t work for you, then try to think of who it WOULD work for.  And, equally as important, don’t censor your reviews just to appease a company. There are many retailers and even manufacturers out there who want good reviewers and a quality, honest company realizes that negative reviews are worthy and a fact of life. Companies that listen to negative reviews and use them to make their products better are few and far between, but they do exist. If I have a company tell me that I need to be more upbeat, more sunshine-y, then we’re not a good fit. If you want me to have a “classy review” devoid of discussing the vibrator’s ability (or not) to make me come? You’re in the wrong place. You’re also What’s Wrong With This Industry.

4. “There is no formula. Your life as a blogger will be a lot less stressful if you banish almost every notion about what a sex toy review blog should be (except, you know, the part about good content). Taking inspiration from other bloggers is fine, but if you spend all your time modelling yourself after them, you’ll never discover what makes you unique, happy, and ultimately, reputable. If I had to put every toy in each of my orifices and then write a 2,000-word screed about it, I would have burned out long ago. But some people are really good at that! I just let them be good at that while I do my own thing.” ~ Epiphora – HeyEpiphora.com

5. Be Professional. This covers everything from your blog to social media. On your blog, your writing is often all that people see. Your writing should be a reflection of you and it should dress to impress. This means clean up the typos, run spell-check and have a basic knowledge of grammar. Their/they’re/there and that sort of thing. If you don’t care enough to do just that amount, then why should I trust your reviews?

The other side of professionalism is knowing how to present yourself on social media. If you want to work with companies, if you want to have advertisers and if you care about making a side income then you need to care about what you say and how you act on social media. Tone down your ego and sense of entitlement – be grateful for every “yes” and humble and respectful of every “no”. You’re not the only game on the block. Therefore, don’t take every rejection so personally. It might be personal but it is more often a decision based on numbers and metrics and their own quotas. Respect that.  I’m sure you’ve heard this job interview tip: “Don’t bash your former boss”. Apply that to this situation as well. There are some grievances and opinions that absolutely need to public knowledge….but not everything. When a company sees you publicly bashing the fact that another company turned you down, they’ll be reluctant to work with you for fear you’ll turn on them publicly as well.


I’m merely a fellow reviewer, so I wondered what the advice would look like coming from a company. I asked my favorite “boss”, Sandra of SheVibe, to give me her top 5 tips for reviewers:

In my time with SheVibe I have watched so many sex bloggers blossom, it’s been awesome.  When we first launched the site, we didn’t have a review program. We kind of watched was going on from the sidelines, made sure we understood the nuances – the culture so to speak.  When we felt like we had something to offer we entered the arena, always treating it as a reciprocal relationship where both parties learn and grow.  My advice to newcomers and veterans alike is this:

  1. Know who you’re reaching out to.  You better believe I’m going to know who you are before I agree to you reviewing for us. I check to see what the overall attitude is.  I understand the need to share parts of one’s personal life – it’s important to inject pieces of yourself to connect with your readers, but there’s a fine balance to keep in check.  If you’re constantly airing your dirty laundry, that is a red flag for me.  I will also check old posts to see how or if you’ve grown.  I look at social media also – this is often where people show excessive combativeness or a tendency to “overshare”.  Again, I understand that this might be considered personal space, but if you are treating your blog as a business, then you may want to consider a separate persona for your personal needs.
  2. Presentation is everything, from the initial email you send me to how your website is designed.  If you don’t present well, it is going to be hard for you to build a readership and readers are $$ in the eyes of the retailer. In other words – spelling and grammar matter! Clean up your typos! Check your attitude from ego to temper.
  3. Have a well-rounded world view and don’t try to serve too many masters. By this I mean, have the presence of mind to know that just because something doesn’t work for your body type or is outside of your taste preference doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same experience.  This is a mistake I see a lot of newcomers make and kind of ties in to #4.  By serving too many masters means that if you are reviewing for several companies, it’s likely that none of them are getting your best work.  It also smacks of someone just trying to get as much “free stuff” as possible.  I find that the most successful bloggers tend to connect with a handful of companies they like and respect.  There are some bloggers I will do pretty much anything for – they have shown us loyalty and support and I will absolutely reciprocate.  You can’t develop that kind of relationship if you’re all over the place.
  4. If you are going to speak in absolutes, you should absolutely know what you are talking about. I have come across some instances where a reviewer will say something along the lines of, “trust me, you will hate this….”.  I still see a lot of mis-information about lubricants and materials.  Or I’ll see off base comments about how something is manufactured.  There’s a lot of misconception and lack of understanding.  Very few bloggers really take the time to understand this business soup to nuts.  I get it, it’s a lot to know.  But you can’t speak about things you know nothing about or don’t understand and I would much prefer you ask rather than take the opportunity to leave bad intel in your review just because you liked the way the sentence played out.
  5. If we aren’t able to accept you into our program now, it’s not personal.  Work harder, get better, build your audience, love what you do.  You are scrapping for readership in an ever changing, tough industry. If you are passionate, trust me, it will pay off.


 Posted by at 1:30 pm
May 142014

Today I’m giving you some advice that I don’t tend to take for myself, at least not consistently. And I should. You see, I’m an anonymous blogger. I don’t show my face on the blog, I don’t go by real name. A bunch of other bloggers, and industry people, have met me and/or know my legal name but they still call me Lilly. It would be downright weird if any of them called me by my real name. *shrugs* I just AM Lilly.

However….the connection between my legal name (and address) and Lilly / Dangerous Lilly is something that I expect these people to keep to themselves. My privacy on this matter is tantamount to my being able to do this. I have reasons, valid reasons, for keeping the two things completely separate. So do many people, who aren’t bloggers. Sex workers, porn performers, etc. I guess I mostly expected the sex toy companies to get this, but a lot of them don’t. I guess I can’t really fault them, because this is something I should be proactive with.

Always inform new review partners of your anonymity and level of discretion needed for packages they send you. Don’t assume they know!

We all should, for those who need some level of anonymity.

I don’t really know what the UPS driver, the bank teller or the postal service person would DO with the knowledge, but whether I like it or not, they all have seen that connection I try to keep buried.

So before you work with a new company, be it a retailer OR a manufacturer, be up front with them. Talk to them about the level of anonymity you need AND the level of package discretion you need. If you need that package to be discreet because of your neighbors, or who you live with, you have the right to discuss this and ask for it. Today I received a review item from BMS Factory, that had BMS branded packing tape all over the outside, and was sent in a Pipedream box. Pipedream.com allll over this box. It also had “Lilly” on the outside of the box. It’s more tolerable than “Dangerous Lilly”, but that’s because of my situation. I can assure you that if I were younger and living with family and someone saw a box with something other than my legal name, I surely would get questioned. I totally do not hold BMS to blame for this. As their rep said, they’re more accustomed to sending out samples to a magazine, and not a person. The onus is truly on me to advocate for my privacy in this arena, and I need to do it more. The companies don’t mind following your request, I find.

PackageI’ve had numerous other instances of this happening, too, so I don’t want it to seem like I’m calling out BMS. It was just something that happened today and it’s happened a bunch of times recently, and it prompted me to write this post.

tl:dr – Before you accept a review product from a new manufacturer/retailer, inform them of your anonymity and discretion level that needs to be met, lest you find a package on your doorstep that clearly gives away what is inside and what your blog name is.
 Posted by at 4:00 pm
Mar 022014

I’m definitely not an expert on this topic, I just wanted to share what little I’ve learned in case it might help others.

Accessibility. If you have all your limbs, if you can walk and run with ease, if you can see relatively well with or without glasses, if you can speak without assistance, if you can hear without major problems…..you probably don’t think about accessibility as often as you should. It’s easy to have those blinders on. Easier still if you do not know anyone deaf, blind, handicapped.  At my first conferences it was a little tough for me to remember to face certain people when I spoke to them, and I screwed up sometimes. Luckily they’re not afraid to speak up and remind me to look at them, and then repeat myself.

If you’re able-bodied and don’t know anyone who isn’t, it’s sadly too easy to forget about accessibility.  I try, I do, but I don’t  get it as well as I could. Yesterday I learned something new.  A reader, Amanda, sent me this awesome note:

Hi Lilly,
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your blog. I am blind, and I really appreciate the thoroughness of your reviews, as well as the absence of bullshit.  Also, I don’t know if you intentionally made your blog redesign accessible with a screenreader, but it is, and I was pleasantly surprised. Often, when people redesign their websites, accessibility is the last thing on their minds, and I find myself no longer able to read something I used to enjoy.  Definitely NOT the case with your redesign, and that’s just fantastic as far as I’m concerned.  Also, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate the fact that you almost always put descriptions of pictures you post in the images’ alt text. It’s so helpful.

There wasn’t really much of a point to this email. I just wanted to let you know how helpful your blog is to someone who can’t see pictures and who has to depend on the overblown ad copy when shopping for toys. So… thank you. :)

Screen readers. I knew in theory that they exist, but I knew nothing about them. Scratch that, know nothing. I’ve never seen one in action. I don’t know the tech. All I know is that this magical thing can look at a website and read it out loud. Usually. The problem apparently is compatibility. While I don’t have all the info yet, Amanda said:

The problem is that there are several different screen readers, and not all of them support the same things. For example, I use a Mac and its built-in screen reader, VoiceOver. Until very recently, VO and the Mac browser, Safari, didn’t support the Disqus comment system, whereas JAWS (a Windows-based screen reader) always supported Disqus.

But how do we know if a blog theme or site design is screen reader compatible? You can go the long route and utilize some of the sites and tools I have listed at the end, but accessibility to screen readers is just not a feature that gets mentioned when you’re looking at the technical info on a theme. I hope that someone can educate us in the comments of this post. I’m thrilled that the WordPress theme “Suffusion” is so accessible1. It’s not the only aspect to work on, though. When Amanda was mentioning the “alt text”, it’s something you do manually one of two ways. The first is by clicking on the “Edit Image” button if you’ve already inserted the image into the WYSIWYG editor portion of WP. The second is manually typing it in. The following code is for an image.

Up top is the Tantus Black Widow Harness. Below is the Lelo Mona 2, the We-Vibe 4, the We-Vibe Touch 2 and Tango 2, Lelo Mia 2, and Jopen Ego e5

Here are screen shots of what I was talking about with the alt text, too:

A screen capture showing what a draft of a post looks like in WordPress, demonstrating how to access the attributes of an image   A screen capture showing what the attributes window looks like for a photo in the draft post process of WordPress.

Here are a few links that might help if you’re interested in making your blog more accessible to screen readers and beyond.

I hadn’t even seen Robin’s post until after I’d heard from Amanda and written most of this, so it’s great timing. Robin, a great blogger/educator/reviewer, is going to be presenting at CatalystCon in a few weeks and talking about accessibility.  She makes her points about access being not JUST for those needing a screen reader, but other sorts of disabilities. While I’m not hearing impaired enough / in the right way to be able to use a hearing aid (yet), I am hard of hearing to a degree. I come across SO many podcast and video posts that I cannot use because I can’t understand what they’re saying. A transcript would go a long way. So instead, I miss out on the information because I don’t even bother to try listening anymore. I may be able to understand half of it, which is more than others who have more hearing loss than me. It’s not an uncommon disability, yet it’s common for podcasters and vloggers to forget it.  I’m sure it’s not easy work, but could do an mturk for someone else to transcribe it and the results mean that more people can access your information. Win, no?


Accessibility is making sure that people aren’t left out. It requires effort on our parts, but why wouldn’t you if you know how? You’d want it done for you if you were in their shoes. Also? The fact that no bullshit = more accessible is a giant fucking WIN.


UPDATE: I wanted to add in some choice quotes from those who were able to attend Robin’s session on accessibility at Catalyst, as they apply to blogs/sites.

  1. For the record, my previous theme was, too, but Amanda’s point was that she encounters changes in design too often that negatively impact her ability to read it. My last theme was Glow from ElegantThemes.com.
Jul 102013

Once you’ve developed a bit of a “presence” online, with good traffic and other blog-qualifier numbers, you’re bound to get contacted by a company asking if you’ll post their text link (some will outright ask you your rate, a few will try to pawn it off as a “link exchange” which is a topic for a later date). This can all be a bit difficult to navigate until you ask the more veteran bloggers. Here’s some starting info for you:

Updated July 2013I’ve recently done more researching and while the rates and ideas are pulled from the more mainstream sectors of blogging, it’s the only thing we have to go on. I’ve made this into a post because of the influx of bloggers who need more information, it was currently residing as a largely overlooked page.

Updated May 2013: This was written and has been around for a long while over at e[lust], however I decided to move it all here. Sidebar advertising is not as prevalent as it once was for bloggers, especially sex bloggers, because of recent changes made by Google on calculating pagerank. In Nov 2012 I actually had my own Pagerank stripped to 0 because Google felt that I was selling my Pagerank via sponsor text links in the sidebar. I had to add “rel=nofollow” to them all in order to get my rank back. Something that more and more companies want now is a sponsored *post*. To me, sponsored post is just simply my own post but with a sentence and link and maybe even small graphic at the foot of the post saying “This post was sponsored by XYC company who is great at BLAH and you should blahblah there”. To a company, their idea of a sponsored post is basically the entire post is an advertisement for them, including a few links. I won’t do that. I also won’t accept “guest posts” from anybody but a fellow blogger. 


The first question you likely have is the first question I had: How much should I charge? And that, my friends, is not an easy answer. Because it not only is based on your page rank and overall stats, but what others similar to you are charging. And I know that some people are, IMO, underselling themselves. Added July 2013:

Basing Your Rate on your Pagerank

Companies will likely only approach you for advertising if you have a google page rank of 3 or higher. By having a text link on your sidebar it helps increase their own site’s page rank. (http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php)

So the first thing that your rate depends upon is your pagerank. And to be honest, what else it depends upon – I’m not 100% sure. It could be traffic overall, it could be your Alexa rank. Ever since I started taking on advertisers I’ve been a PR4. I don’t know how I got there, nor do I fully know how to get higher. I’ve read a few tips and tricks but none have helped. After talking to another blogger whose site was considerably better than mine I took a stab at what I thought was a fair price, $30 a month, and that has turned out to be a good price for a PR4 site to charge. Many will prefer to pay for 3, 6 or even 12 months in advance and will ask for a discount. Just because they are taking away the hassle (for you both) of paying monthly doesn’t mean you should take a drastic cut. My personal opinion is to never give a discount greater than 20% of your quoted price. (As of 2012 I dropped to a PR3 and stayed there. Again, not sure why and I can’t raise it.)

IMO for banners, you should charge more. Banners command more of a presence in your sidebar and are used for garnering traffic moreso than raising a pagerank. For a 125×125 square banner, I’d recommend adding on $10-15 per month per banner. For a larger banner, add on $20-25 per month per banner as your starting price.

WARNING: By basing it on your pagerank, though, it means you’re “selling page rank”. That’s what I got in trouble for with Google. To do things on the up and up, every place I read says to add the rel=nofollow attribute to the text link. Inform your advertisers of this, because you don’t want to do anything illegal and lose your search engine ranking. If they’re buying a link just to get pagerank, then they won’t be happy and may not advertise with you. If they’re legit, they will continue.

Basing Your Rate on Daily Visitors

One site that I was reading recommended that you base it off of your traffic, your daily traffic. If you have a stats tracker installed (which, you absolutely should) you can tell how many visitors you get per day and how many page views you get per day. Base it off of visitors. Take your average (most stats trackers will give you your daily average in a summary section) and divide it by 10. This number should represent the most you could charge per month for something in a very visible “above the fold” spot, a banner. For a banner not “above the fold” (when viewing your site on a regular computer monitor/laptop, it’s whatever space is visible without having to scroll at all), deduct 10-15% if it’s still a big banner. For a banner that is small, deduct 20%. For a text link in the sidebar, deduct as much as 40-50% depending on location. If you’re allowing them to sponsor a post, something you’ve already written that will get a decent number of views (probably not a review, since it will have affiliate links, I’d include two text links and quote the full amount based on the formula — see this example of a weekly round-up post over at The Bloggess for what I mean by a sponsored post. I’d also say that if you’ve managed to get a consistent high, daily traffic but can’t get pageranked above PR2, also consider deducting 10-20%.  


A few bloggers I’ve spoken to had done this and I’ve been asked (rarely) for what they call a permanent link. What they mean is….they pay you once, and only once, for a link on your site until your site dies. I advise to never do this. Neither you nor the advertiser knows how long you intend to keep your site, for one. Two, these types of offers are generally given to test your mettle and see if you’re a newbie to paid advertising. If you don’t know any better and don’t have a resource, you might think this offer is grand and snatch it up. I can guarantee you that there is nothing they will offer you that will make it a fair deal in the end, for you. Sure it makes life easier on you, you don’t have to remind them. But by doing this you are A: throwing off the bell curve for the rest of the bloggers and B: You are losing revenue!!


Many will try to get you to allow them to write a post for you. Please avoid this if you want to keep the respect of your peers and readers. It will be a shit article peppered with their links. They’ll also sometimes allow you to write an article. This is slightly less irritating for your readers, but if it’s a post that you would normally write anyways, at least make it informative and useful to your readers. They will again want links throughout the post, so please give a small warning *before* the post that it is sponsored and the links will lead to the sponsor.


Always, always have them prepay. I’ve known a couple bloggers who put the link up on their site and then the company didn’t pay. The companies are all going to use Paypal. If you don’t have a Paypal account, get one. I’ve had one for a long ass time and never once had a problem. I know that some people who have little experience buying/selling/doing monetary business online are a little fearful of it. Some bloggers will say that Paypal is very anti-sex and will shut you down and take your money – just use a bland-sounding email address. Most of the companies that pay you do, too. I’ve been doing this for 5 years and have never had Paypal give me a problem.


Stick to your guns. They’ll ask you to go lower half the time. Don’t go drastically low just to get their business. I’ve sacrificed advertisers before, even though money is money. Once you give them an ultra-low and unrealistic price, they’re going to use that against other bloggers. They’ll say to me: “well I’ve got a link with this other PR5 blogger and they charged me less than you!” To which I say “You got a really good deal then, because it’s worth more than that. I’m worth more than that.”. They accepted my price in the end. The thing is, the sex blogging genre is likely the most undervalued. We get shafted by traditional ad companies, so companies assume we’ll just accept any old offer. And because *some* bloggers will, because they’d rather have $10 a month than $0 a month, it drives down the overall value of the “neighborhood”.


Sometimes, there’s not a rate high enough to make you want to deal with certain people. If you’ve given them your metrics, your rates, if you’ve explained in detail what you will and won’t do and they still ask you questions over and over as if they weren’t already told? If they argue a lot with the pricing? Just listen to your gut. You’ll know pretty early on when someone is going to be a pain in the ass to deal with. I’ve turned companies down just because the person I was dealing with gave me a big headache and that was halfway through the negotiation process!!! I recently had someone who claimed to have read my Media & Advertising kit and wanted to set something up right away. They sent over the banner but wanted it for two weeks. If they’d read, they would have known I start my rates per month. Then they try to get me to do an interview or post to further their campaign. No, sorry. Well, they posed, what if I write the post for you? I had to point to the numerous places on my site where I say, in no uncertain terms, that I do not take guest posts or content. I write the stuff here. I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, when they paid and it was a fraction of my rate.  My advice is to nail down early on how long they want the ad for. If it’s anything less than 6 months you shouldn’t tolerate anything other than a simple, easy transaction.


Set up a Google Calendar reminder; keep the info on a spreadsheet; have your husband make you a program (oh wait, that’s me) – whatever it takes to remind you to contact them about a week or so before their contract is up to remind them to renew. Check your PR before contacting them, in case it went up. If it went up, so do your prices. If you don’t hear from them in the expected timeframe (1-2 weeks for longer contracts, 1 week max for monthly renewals), remove their link from your site. Tell them you’ve done this and will put it back up once they renew their contract. You can’t have unpaid links up – it only helps them and not you.


Call your sponsors section whatever you want, don’t listen to them. They want their links to appear as if you put them there because you love the store…..not that you were paid to do so. I put my sponsor links lower in the sidebar. Places I like and support go up higher. Unless of course the sponsors are ALSO places you love and support anyways.


I’ve been asked in the past by bloggers about companies trying to get a link by telling the blogger that they’ll be put into an affiliate program in exchange and will receive 10/15/20% of sales on a commission basis. Unless you are reviewing toys for a sex toy retailer on a regular basis and you have high site traffic (at least 10K visitors a month), the chances of you making money off of an affiliate sale are slim. It means that someone has to click that little text link in your sidebar and then buy toys from that company. Very unlikely to happen. Again, this is a tactic used to separate those new to the text advertising game and take advantage. One example: I was recently contacted by a company who makes hetero long-distance sex toys that work via the computer and are way overpriced. They didn’t outright offer ones to me to review, they just wanted me to join their affiliate program. They tried to “sweeten the deal” by giving my readers 5% off. 5% off a $190 toy ($380 if you buy both male & female version – why would you buy just one?). I know my readers, at least I’d like to think I do, and I really doubt that even 1% would purchase these items. So instead though, people will click because they don’t know what the item is, and the site will get traffic. Meanwhile, I’d likely never make a sale, especially without ever reviewing the items and giving it a glowing review. Added July 2013


I’ve known this all along, but have also known that there is nothing I can do about it. When someone sends you money via Paypal, they will be given your legal name. There does not seem to be a way to circumvent this at all in Paypal. While nearly ever advertiser you will deal with will naturally understand the sensitive matter of your name, bear in mind that accidents can happen. It is a very small chance but it exists. I’m not telling you this to scare you off but merely to prepare you. I didn’t think about this until an accidental case of mistaken identity lead me to receive the real name of another blogger via a potential advertiser. I’m not going to do anything with the information and I don’t know how the other blogger feels; but what if situations were reversed and what if the person who received my personal information was not a friend and not someone nice? I could then have to deal with the worry of them outing me if they wanted to. While there are not a lot of unsavory characters in our community they still exist occasionally. I would recommend that you put in a clause in your email correspondence with potential advertisers that says something along the lines of “Your payment to me denotes acceptance of my terms, which includes that any and all personally identifying information you will receive about me shall remain in confidence.” or whatever. I’m not sure on the wording of this and how legally binding it is; this is something I’ll research further and would appreciate input on.  Added Jan 2012

Please ask questions or give your own tips! Thanks!


Jul 062013

Hot on the heels of the Blogger debacle wherein Blogspot.com owners were given less than a week to remove ads and affiliate links from their adult blog, WordPress.com gets in on the action.

Unlike Google/Blogger, though, WordPress.com gave no notice. Literally out of nowhere, it was noticed that some blogs were disappearing and in their place was a TOS violation notice from WordPress.com. While WordPress.com was never an ideal option for any sex blogger who also wanted to review sex toys, due to them saying that they would never allow advertising or affiliate links, plenty of sexy-words-n-photos bloggers still clung to the free landscape of WordPress.com.

Unfortunately for everyone, there is a lot of confusion about well…..everything.  First of all, what exactly did these bloggers do to violate TOS? We don’t know yet. If they find out, I’ll update it here.

Second, since WordPress is what most self-hosted bloggers are using, confusion again arises. Are you at risk because of that?

Nope. WordPress.com is the Blogger/Blogspot/Livejournal equivalent. It’s free, you’re limited in what you can do to tweak it, but they’ll of course offer you the ability to buy a domain, get rid of the “wordpress.com” part of your blog’s address, and you’re completely bound by their TOS. The Toyswap Network’s public “face” is on a WordPress.com account. This blog here is “powered by” WordPress, and I’m fine.

If you’re under the thumb of WordPress.com, your dashboard likely looks like this:


If you’re self-hosted, this means that you went to someplace like Hostgator or Dreamhost or GoDaddy, you bought your domain and hosting, and you *installed* WordPress. WordPress is a Content Management System. This is also referred to as “WordPress.org”, because in order to get support or plugins, you need a WordPress.org account. This is what your dashboard may look like in part:


Basically, the company/person who can have any control and say over what you, their guest, can post is the host. In this situation, WordPress.com is the host. WordPress as a CMS is NOT a host, it is an application that is downloaded and installed. When you bought your domain, you had nothing but an html file. Until you (or the host) installed WordPress.

We (the folks at Automattic) run a blog and web site hosting service called WordPress.com and would love for you to use it. Our basic service is free, and we offer paid upgrades for advanced features such as domain hosting and extra storage. Our service is designed to give you as much control and ownership over what goes on your site as possible and encourage you to express yourself freely. However, be responsible in what you publish. In particular, make sure that none of the prohibited items listed below appear on your site or get linked to from your site (things like spam, viruses, or hate content).

Today, we assumed that people’s blogs were being yanked because of adult content. But, it’s actually been against TOS since 2009 to have “pornographic content”.  The only recent change to the TOS, visible in the TOS Change Log at the end of the page, is “June 12, 2013: Edited “Attribution” paragraph to specify that footer credits and the WordPress.com toolbar may not be altered.”. I doubt that this is the reason.

Things become fuzzy even more because WordPress.com offered a few services for a steep upcharge to people who were too intimidated to go seek out hosting and such. It allowed you to buy your domain, and some other services, to get rid of the “wordpress.com” part of your blog address. These people are still at risk. The “host” is still a company who is against a fuck ton of shit.

One other blogger, The Sin Doll, briefly had her blog pulled. We couldn’t figure out why, until a who.is revealed that despite being self-hosted, her host, Gandi, uses wordpress.com nameservers.  This could be the reason. It’s got to be the reason, since there is no other. Sure, she bought a theme from WordPress, but that’s a theme. That’s not control over your content. Only your host has that control. Unless the domain butts in…..which maybe it did. It makes no sense. 


Look at your dashboard. Can you see this -> “You are using WordPress 3.5.2.”? And did you go to someplace like GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost, etc and purchase a domain, hosting, etc? YOU’RE FINE. If you can look at your dashboard though and see “Store” in the left menu? You’re not fine. Go get thee self-hosted, STAT. And back that shit up

 Posted by at 9:42 pm
Jun 282013

There are a lot of guides to using Twitter out there, but I really feel like sex bloggers are a smaller group. We talk to each other a LOT and we even talk to the manufacturers and companies that are germane to our needs (see? Texas taught me a new word). I don’t know of many other sectors of bloggers where the manufacturers and bloggers can be on a first-name basis so often.

With the Exodus of Eden, there are a lot of people coming over to Twitter who are new to Twitter and/or new to blogging as well. Here are some tips and tricks to help you use Twitter better for you and your blog without irritating your followers. Disclaimer: I’m crankier than most people. I’m one step away from being a full time Grumpy Old Man. What I find to be annoying, others don’t mind. YMMV.


1. When you’re trying to help promote other bloggers/companies in a tweet, don’t start the tweet with their username. Doing so will mean that the only people who will see that tweet are people who also follow who you’re mentioning. To see what I mean, go visit the Twitter full profile of just about anybody. You’ll see tweets in their timeline that didn’t show up in your stream, because they were directly talking to someone you don’t follow. Instead of typing “@Username is having a contest!”, try adding in another word or just a period. “.@username is having a contest!” will ensure that everybody sees that tweet in their stream.  Sometimes I’ll see people also do this if they’re in a conversation with someone and they want everyone in their timeline to see the response. Do so sparingly and in the right circumstances.


2. RT = retweet. This shares someone’s tweet. Do this if it’s informative, funny, whatever but don’t do it excessively. If you’re using Twitter via Twitter.com, when you click on “retweet”, it doesn’t show up as RT @username: tweethere. This is useful if that person’s tweet is using the full 140 characters. Doing RT @username tweethere uses up characters. You can see the two differences below in how it’ll look on your stream and others:


If you like doing RT the old fashioned way (the way Twitter.com used to do it) but the whole thing won’t fit, you can do MT instead of RT. MT= Modified Tweet. I only learned that this week!

3. Depending on which Twitter client you use, often when you reply to someone, if they have @’d someone else, that other person will automatically get included in the tweet unless you delete their name. This is great if you’re all having an ongoing conversation or you want everyone to see your response. However, take note. Have all parties actually gotten involved in the conversation? If not, at some point in the conversation stop using the name of the person who isn’t participating. Otherwise their Mentions will be bombarded.

4. When you do a sex toy review, tweet the link and call out the company by their Twitter name so that they’ll see the tweet and your review. This is one of many ways to engage with companies, which may end up benefiting you.

5. If you follow someone who abuses the RT function or tends to RT stuff you don’t care about, you can turn off RTs via Twitter.com. Of course, this only works if they use the auto-RT feature (example 2 above).

6. If you’re using Twitter.com primarily, be sure to click on the “Connect” tab often. Here you will be able to see which tweets got the most mileage and action, but you’ll also be able to better see every tweet directed at you. This is also the only place you’ll see a tweet to you that is from someone you don’t follow.

7. Use the “favorite” as a way to essentially let someone know you saw their tweet/response, liked it, heard it, whatever. When you favorite a person’s tweet, Twitter tells them.

8. Try to install a Sharing plugin on your blog. This makes it as easy as a few clicks for people to share your posts. I have a few more social-media-based tips in this Blogging 202 guide.

9. Curious as to who is following you? Click on the number of followers that shows up on the main Twitter.com page, right above the compose Tweet box. Curious about who UNfollowed you? Sign up with Who Unfollowed Me and check back every few days or week.

10. To see how relevant your links are, sign up with Bitly and use it to shorten all of your links. It’ll track them and tell you how many people have clicked.



1. #FF – Follow Friday. You don’t have to list out everybody that you follow. That kinda defeats the purpose. Have a topic, a group, a reason. Do a few groups. But don’t do more than 3 or 4 tweets like this. It gets annoying for those who do follow you. It IS a great tool to use for finding like-minded people to follow and it is a great tool to promote the people and companies you like, yes. Just don’t go overboard.

2. Speaking of #FF…..don’t retweet every #FF mention you get. If you want to thank the person who gave you a #FF, please do, but you don’t need to also tweet your thank you to everybody else included in that #FF group.  Doing this stuff makes you look a bit like a braggart. Doing it right:


3. And again, speaking of….you don’t need to RT every plug or compliment you receive. Sure it’s great and nice to toot your own horn sometimes. Absolutely. Just….easy on it, okay? We already follow you and like you. We already know you’re great!

4. Mix it up. Don’t do too much of just one thing on Twitter. Don’t feed Twitter every photo you reblog on Tumblr. If people want to follow your Tumblr, they will do so. Don’t fill your tweets with little other than links to your blog posts. Again, yawn. And for the love of pete space out those contest tweets. 75% of your followers don’t give a rats ass about them.


5. ENGAGE if you want people to follow you. Yes, say witty things. But also just talk to people – respond to their tweets, ask them a question. On the flip side though, if your tweet stream is filled with nothing other than replies to people that I don’t follow? I’m not going to follow you. You don’t say anything! Of course, you may not always get a response to your response, and that is the nature. It doesn’t mean you’re being ignored.

6. IF you have locked your Twitter account for more privacy, then ONLY the people who follow you can see your tweets. This means that if you tweet someone directly who does not follow you OR if you’re jumping in on a conversation and one of the people doesn’t follow you…..they will never see your tweets. @’ing someone directly doesn’t mean that they will see your tweet regardless of privacy. You’re locked. Period. This also means that you can’t enter a contest, unless the contest haver follows you back. They’ll never see your contest tweet….but also, neither will anyone other than your followers.

7. Don’t auto-DM people who follow you with a sales-pitchy impersonal thanks. It’s generally hated.

8. Make sure that the email address you used to register with Twitter is one you use frequently so that you don’t miss DM’s.

9. Try not to ever DM someone with something that would cause you or your reputation harm. If you want to snark about someone or give out your phone number, take it to email. Because the one time you don’t want that message to be public is the one time you’ll screw up. This happens more to mobile users than anything else, I’ve found. It’s harder now to do this with Twitter.com.

10. Finally…..watch what you say. It’ll be archived somewhere even if you go back and delete an old tweet. Rants and inappropriate comments have lost people a lot more than just a little respect.

I forgot one. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s because I do use Who Unfollowed Me, and I get email notifications of new followers. But here’s the thing with Twitter….follow someone because you like them. You like their tweets and want to keep up with their goings-on. But don’t follow someone just to get them to follow you back. And especially do not follow and unfollow and follow again and unfollow again because you’re trying to get them to follow you. There will always be people you follow that will never follow you back and vice versa. It’s not always personal. So quit being twitter-passive-aggressive.

Nope I forgot two. Sometimes people are passive-aggressive and sometimes Twitter glitches. Sometimes Twitter will stop following accounts despite you not telling it to do so. You’ll think to yourself “I could have SWORN I was following her” only to find out that somehow, you’re not. Also consider this before you get offended that someone unfollowed you once (and if you do get offended, you’ll need to get a thicker skin).


Questions about Twitter?? Ask me! Have a tip of your own to share? TELL US!



 Posted by at 9:30 pm