Wanna know why Tantus is so awesome? This, my friends, is pretty awesome:
The good thing about sex toys, is that you don’t have to wait around for a special occasion to have some GOOD CLEAN FUN. But the good thing about special occasions, is getting unbelievable deals, on amazing products.
That’s why we’re giving you 30% OFF EVERY ITEM IN THE STORE for the entire month of November! Not only that, but if you spend $75.00 or more, you get your shipping FOR FREE*. So don’t wait around to find that perfect gift, for that special someone.
Who knows, you might not even have to wrap it!
Use promo code THEDIRTY30 at checkout for 30% off and Free Shipping if you spend $75.00 or more.
*Free shipping applies to domestic customers only.
Have you seen this yet??
“Tantus’ Plunge paddle is a multi-use 100% Ultra-Premium silicone product that has a perfectly placed insertable bulbous head, smooth shaft, and an arousing paddle, for sensuous and exhilarating fun all in one magnificent design. Tantus’ Plunge Paddle has an insertable handle, boasting 6” of length, and 1.25” of gripping girth. The paddle provides a quick switch to lascivious foreplay, bawdy afterplay, and everything in between, giving you the ultimate toy for your toy box. It’s everything you need for some GOOD CLEAN FUN.
Insertable Length: 6″
I love that blue color. LOVE it.
All hail The Duke! The Duke Vibrator commands power and pleasure with 6.5″ of smooth, firm shaft and emphasized ridges on an imposing head for repeated G-spot stimulation (1 1/4″ shaft, 1 7/8″ head).
Together with a waterproof bullet-vibe that gives waves of pleasure, The Duke will have you begging for His Majesty.
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
Even if I had been around enough the latter half of this year to know that this list was being curated, I still wouldn’t have “participated” in asking people to nominate me. I don’t like doing it, I’m the sort of person who doesn’t like spotlights. I detest asking for anything (oftentimes to my downfall). And also I feel that if I don’t ask, I won’t get let down in life. I suppose that attitude carries over to this stuff, too. I never win popularity contests, because despite the fact that I bend over backwards for those I like and care about, I have a curmudgeonly (I say realistic) outlook to life in general. I also have Bitchy Resting Face. Point is, I’m hard to like. I get that. I’m not really okay with it, but….I suppose it’s a litmus test. The ones that stick around me despite the fact that I’m not always an upbeat, bubbly girl, shine that much brighter in my eyes.
So when I was told I was #2 on this list, I was shocked. I was shocked that I was even nominated, especially since I’ve not been around much since July. But when someone then pointed me to the person who (most loudly) nominated me, I became all teary. Jack is reader of mine for ages and picks my brain at least once a month. So Jack, I said it privately but I had to say it here, too: Thank you. I don’t do those things for points and recognition but it’s nice when it happens. It’s nice not to be forgotten, and it’s lovely to be recognized for all these things by someone:
I also have to agree with him on his other noms, especially Kara Sutra. That woman works 10 times harder than half the bloggers I know; have you seen all her videos?!? She’s been blogging for ages and has done way more to educate the public than I. She should have been #2 instead of me, but I don’t make the lists ;) I can’t imagine ranking people I know personally, so I’m glad it was done by a “third party” like site.
There were a few other peeps who nominated me; I didn’t read most of the comments. If you did nominate me thank for you not forgetting about me. My ghostly form isn’t wholly transparent just yet, haha. But anyways, here’s the list. Since this is the last time I’ll likely ever be on such a list, I want to share the links for everyone else to enjoy. Give them all a visit, k?
1. Heyepiphora.com (@Epiphora)
This sex toy reviewer has a mind-blowing sex toy collection, a “very discerning vagina” and an aversion to all things pink. She’s also got the words to keep you on her site for days.
2. Dangerouslilly.com (@Dangerouslilly)
This sharp-tongued sex geek and sex toy reviewer won our hearts with her big mouth – and crusade against crappy, unsafe sex toy materials.
3. Mollysdailykiss.com (@Mollysdailykiss)
Molly’s eclectic mix of erotic photography, body pride and erotic revelation is as unique as it is refreshing. She’s also a speaker, a submissive and the creator of Sinful Sunday.
4. Redheadbedhead.com (@Bedheadtweeting)
This redhead writer and sex educator has a mane that’s as fierce as her writing and a growing list of superhero sex-positive sex shops across the country. What’s not to love?
5. SmutForSmarties.com (@LadyCheeky)
On Smut for Smarties, Lady Cheeky does sex positive, body positive and feminist just right with a mix of interviews, reviews and thoughtful editorial.
6. Sunnymegatron.com (@SunnyMegatron)
This blogger’s a world-class sex educator, super-honest sex blogger and a superhero to sex positive people everywhere.
7. Kinkandpoly.com (@piecesofjade)
Formerly Pieces of Jade, this site bills itself as kinky, poly, lusty and wordy. It’s also hot and lovely to read. Check out Kink of the Week!
8. Queeriebradshaw.com (@QueerieBradshaw)
Author Lauren Marie Fleming’s site features personal stories about sex, sexuality, gender and gender identity – sensitive, funny, smart … exquisite!
9. Agoodwomansdirtymind.com (@GoodDirtyWoman)
Real sex for real people by a woman “who could be any woman,” this site is mysterious, erotic and oh-so-sexy.
10. Karasutrareviews.com (@Kara_Sutra)
Kara Sutra is a sex toy reviewer and supporter of sex bloggers. She’s also been spreading the sex-positive word via video in her Sex Ed 102 video series (everything you should have learned but didn’t!).
11. Carasutra.co.uk (@TheCaraSutra)
12. PeggingParadise.com (@Ruby_Ryder)
13. Perverticallyvirtuous.com (@VirtuousPervert)
14. Sex-in-words.blogspot.ca (@SexInWords)
15. LoraxofSex.com (@LoraxOfSex)
16. Ohjoysextoy.com (@ErikaMoen)
17. Walkerthornton.com (@WalkerThornton)
18. Ashleymanta.com (@ashleymanta)
19. Thestdproject.com (@TheSTDProject)
20. CharlieGlickman.com (@charlieglickman)
21. Inbedwithmarriedwomen.com (@Jill_Hamilton)
22. Themamasutra.net (@TheMamaSutra)
23. Tinynibbles.com (@violetblue)
24. Sex-ational.com (@sex_ational)
25. Thebeautifulkind.com (@TBK365)
26. Sexed102.com (@Kara_Sutra)
27. Offgothepanties.com (@offgothepanties)
28. Charlienox.com (@CharlieNox)
29. Tobeaslut.com (@tobeaslut)
30. Mydissolutelife.com (@nlikes)
31. Geekynymph.com (@GeekyNymph)
32. Vaginaantics.com (@Heather_Cole1) and (@Nikki_Blue1)
33. Fuckblogging.com (@fuckblogging)
34. Girlyjuice.net (@Girly_Juice)
35. Dumbdomme.com (@DumbDomme)
36. Domme-chronicles.com (@Ferns__)
37. Curvaceousdee.com (@CurvaceousDee)
38. Thesindoll.com (@TheSinDoll)
39. Grittywoman.co.uk (@GrittyWoman)
40. Masculinesubmission.wordpress.com (@TomioBlack)
41. Propertyofpotter.com (@pottersproperty)
42. Mrwillshouseofthrills.com (@MrWills_HoT)
43. Rebelsnotes.com (@RebelsNotes)
44. Theprattlingsofseverin.wordpress.com (@SaintSeverin)
45. Silverdropstoybox.com (@silverdropUK)
46. Betterthanieverexpected.blogspot.ca (@JoanPrice)
47. Puckerup.com (@TristanTaormino)
48. Kinketc.com (@LoriandHubby)
49. Alyssaroyse.com (@alyssaroyse)
50. Clitical.com (@CliticalJenne)
51. Wholesexlife.com (@WholeSexLife)
52. Learn.condomdepot.com (@condomdepot)
53. Toptobottomnyc.com (@Top2Bottom)
54. Ruffledsheets.com (@ruffledsheets)
55. Lifeontheswingset.com (@swingsetlife)
56. Thedirtynormal.com (@enagoski)\
57. Girlonthenet.com (@girlonthenet)
58. Sexylittleideas.com (@joejohnstun)
59. Blog.grandopening.com (@KimAirs)
60. Naughty-corner.com (@Josephine_KK)
61. Nakedallthetime.com (@nakedjill)
62. Thoughtsofagrowingsub.com (@subreiskyem)
63. Eroticwriter.wordpress.com (@_Monocle_) and (@Ximena_Writes_)
64. Beanfiddler.com (@beanfiddlers)
65. Symonekittynelson.com (@TheSymoneShow)
66. Mysexprofessor.com (@mysexprofessor)
67. Filledandfooled.wordpress.com (@CurvyMilfy)
68. Mollena.com (@Mollena)
69. Lehmiller.com (@JustinLehmiller)
70. Blog.catherinecoaches.com (@Catcoaches)
71. Beingblacksilk.com (@BeingBlacksilk)
72. Suggestivetongue.com (@Suggestive)
73. Aslutsmemoir.com (@iSlut_)
74. Adissolutelifemeans.com (@adissolutelife)
75. Wqebelle.blogspot.ca (@wqbelle)
76. Sextoysofa.co.uk (@SexToySofa)
77. Naughtyreenie.com (@NaughtyReenie)
78. Beckandherkinks.com (@beck42069)
79. Sexgeek.wordpress.com (@sexgeekAZ)
80. Sexualitysanctuary.com (@sangsaraB)
81. Houseofhellkat.com (@Hellkat83)
82. Kinky-world.net (@mistress_kay)
83. Slutist.com (@slutist)
84. Emandlo.com (@emandlo)
85. Darkside-journey.blogspot.ca (@padmeamidala)
86. Jolynnraymond.com (@JolynnRaymond)
87. Lifeofalovergirl.wordpress.com (@lovergirlslife)
88. Hesnaked.com (@Hesnaked)
89. Nymphetaminekiss.com (@NymphetamineKis)
91. Sexandthestate.com (@CathyReisenwitz)
92. Creativenoodling.wordpress.com (@CreativeNoodlin)
93. Metanotherfrog.com (@metanotherfrog)
94. Bedroombondage.co.za/blog/ (@bedroombondage)
95. Midnightboudoir.org (@MidnightBlondi)
97. Malflic.com (@MalflicMagazine)
98. Barenakedlady.wordpress.com (@JillyBoyd)
100. Amyjogoddard.com (@amyjogoddard)
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
There is always a proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back; This straw is named Ida.
In 2008 when I first started reviewing sex toys, I got to review a couple of Lelo toys pretty early on in my career. Back then, “luxury” vibes were not as prevalent and seemed so….posh. So fancy. So very, very different from the garish, neon dreams of CalExotics and Doc Johnson, at 5-10 times the price. And with a price tag like that, surely they’re better, right?? So I felt let down when I didn’t love my first Lelo toys. They weren’t quite powerful enough for me. But I thought it was my fault. I was the problem, not Lelo. They were trying so hard, you see. And so, I kept making excuses–trying to be objective, and state that just because it wasn’t perfect for me, Ms. Picky Clit-o-Steel, didn’t mean they weren’t great sex toys. After all, I was reading so many other glowing reviews.
I’ve become more jaded as the years pass, this is true. I’ve seen a lot of luxury sex toys come and go. And the opinions I tried to mold into objective statements years ago have lost their luster; they have chipped away like the metallic paint on their Insignia line. I am left with nothing but unapologetic (harsh?) truths. I have replaced my old “trying to hard to be objective” with a tempered balance of honesty and realism.
Let’s run this down, shall we? Abridged version, go:
- Elise – Great size, and a promising two motors that sorta work for me, but the placement of that second motor was a bit odd.
- Mia – Geek-appeal, the first USB rechargeable vibe I’d ever seen, but the vibrations were poor and buzzy. I was bummed.
- Bo cock ring – Neat; for 2008, it was inventive – rechargeable, posh, etc. Vibrations were meh. It wasn’t silicone.
- Gigi – Better than the bird-beak tips most toy makers thought felt nice on a g-spot, but unfortunate button placement combined with a too-short length and mediocre vibrations made for sad bedfellows
- Luna Beads – They actually worked, and remain to be the most intelligent kegel ball system out there
- Isla – They decided to put design over function. The metallic paint on the plastic portion chips off terribly after 6 months to a year of use. At first, Lelo wouldn’t replace them under warranty. Paint chipping off inside my vag seems to be a defect, you know?? Piss poor vibrations and a worthless shape.
- Mona – Good shape, good length, vibrations seemed to be an improvement from all other models but could be more.
- Tor II cock ring – No longer “inventive”, they now make it out of silicone but it’s less stretchy. Too tight for above-average. Better vibrations, though.
- Tiani – Tiani 1st Ed was shit. Sense Motion failed, but then they fixed it. Vibrations were so weak it was pathetic. Internal arm offered nothing.
- Tiani 2nd Ed – Internal arm slightly better, still meh. Vibrations improved, but not Wow. Better for couple’s play (but not sex) than the We-Vibe 3.
- Luna Beads Noir – Total WTF. Better colors, but the whole reason I liked the Luna Beads is negated. There’s no going up in weights gradually, since you only get 2 beads of the higher weight.
- Luna Beads Mini – Also, total WTF fail. The ball is same size as regular Luna Beads, so it doesn’t provide as much sensation in use. They didn’t work at all.
- Smart Wand Medium – Again, the technology failed. SenseTouch was a bomb. Medium was a nice size but the vibrations were infuriatingly bland.
- Smart Wand Large – Technology still shit, but vibrations knocked my socks off. Caveat: Works best with an attachment meant for the Hitachi Magic Wand. Doesn’t hold a charge in between uses very well; others have reported quality issues w the motor
- Ina 2 – Better than the Original Ina in design and vibrations, but somehow still not quite enough to be great for me.
- Mia 2 – Still has design issues, unfortunate button placement/difficult to clean, but vibrations greatly improved. I still prefer my We-Vibe Tango, though.
- Mona 2 - Improved vibrations, still not enough for power queens like me and not on par with Smart Wand Large, but great shape and size.
- Gigi 2 – Better vibrations (still less than Mona 1), but it’s not enough for me.
- Ida – Saw Piph’s review, said NOPE. I’m done. A rotating internal arm, a flat disc that vibrates. My husband’s penis is thicker than average, and my body type won’t work at all with a flat disc. Did they even test this with human genitals?
Decline in Quality
I’ve heard rumors from trusted industry people that the quality of Lelo sex toys has drastically dropped over the years. More and more people are returning under warranty. If you were around in ’08, you’d have seen the gradual, subtle decline in packaging to cut back on costs. They cut back on costs of packaging and clearly cut back on costs for materials and workmanship, yet their sex toys keep the ridiculously high price tags. And then, this summer, they raise their wholesale prices. What does that mean for the consumer? Not a lot. You’ll probably not really see much change. The stores won’t want to raise prices, because they need to stay competitive, both with each other and the Lelo direct sale site. It just means that the retailers now make a good bit less from a Lelo toy.
Inconsistent Customer Service
A lot of readers come to me with problems with their Lelo toys, and tell me that they tried to contact Lelo for a warranty exchange, but were ignored or told they couldn’t be helped. I would, each time, take it to social media and get their issues fixed that way. But I shouldn’t have to do that. In my post about Lelo’s metallic paint flaking off, I had readers contacting me who were reading the warranty info and thinking their issues were not covered under warranty. Lelo said that they would honor a warranty replacement; however I did have to mediate between customers and Lelo a few times, when Lelo would just flat-out ignore customer service emails and warranty repair requests.
Since I’ve been working with Lelo, I’ve gone through more “handlers” than I can count. Turnover is normal in these businesses, but this is excessive. In the beginning, the info they would provide to me would be correct and helpful. In the past year, it’s been frustrating and wrong, often. The saga of the Luna Beads cleaning method was the worst of them all. I looked like an ass, but at least I was able to get Lelo to send them new Luna Beads.
In addition to their overpriced vibrators, Lelo also has a small line of way overpriced lingerie. A $400 robe, anyone? They won’t make plus-size options. They just won’t. Their XL is a US 12. If you really want a pair of their overpriced PJ pants, you’ll have to pick the “Men’s” version, because the men can have pants that fit up to a 46″ waist. The men’s robes also go up to XXL. In the land of Lelo, it’s ok to be a husky man, but they only want to cater to thinner femmes. This trend is not unique to Lelo. Not at all. It’s just simply another nail in the coffin.
Wherein I am an Island
You’ll continue to see amazingly positive reviews everywhere about Lelo, but mixed in with a healthy amount of negative reviews. I’m not saying they’re wrong, those positive reviews. The vibrations are strong enough for some women. But these days, there are other options for sex toys made from safe materials that come with a warranty. Options with better workmanship and better vibration, or a lower price point. Nobody is perfect and no one sex toy/sex toy manufacturer will be perfect for every person. I’m just saying that I personally am done. I can’t fully support Lelo anymore. I can’t keep agreeing to try more and more Lelo toys, only to be let down time and again. I can’t get more and more jaded, as I read their copy (which frankly feels like outright lies many times) that promises “intense” vibration or “intense” g-spot stimulation, when it’s truly mediocre at best. Intense. Lelo, you keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means. I KNOW INTENSE. You have missed that mark by a lot, in all cases but one or two.
I’ve been brewing with these thoughts now for months. However I’d managed to still hang on to a little shred of hope…..a hope that was flat out obliterated when I finally heard the full dirt on the Lelo Ida. And for the first time ever, I “reviewed” a sex toy without owning it (perhaps it should be called a commentary OpEd post instead of review) because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I retracted my agreement to review it for Lelo and suddenly in a matter of minutes, a decision I’d been wibbling and wobbling on for ages was made in a snap. Why couldn’t I just keep on reviewing for them, and take the “free” toys? Because I die a little each time, lately. Writing that review for the Gigi 2 was not easy, because I was so fucking over it already. Usually I relish the opportunity to go all OH HELL NO in a review against a bad toy, and I would have with Ida, but frankly the thought just fucking exhausted me. Ain’t nobody, especially me, got time for that shit. I’ve cut back; I want to still largely enjoy what I do, not have the life sucked out of me.
Bottom line: Lelo isn’t worth the price. They’re not worth the hassle of dealing with their promised warranty that they try to wiggle out of. They’re not retailer-friendly. They’re extraordinarily hetero-centric (and they do such a bad job at it, too). If you own a Lelo toy, and you are having problems, of ANY kind, contact them for a warranty replacement. If they ignore your email, take it public– to Facebook and Twitter. They don’t like the bad press, so they’ll help you. I’ll still recommend the Luna Beads, the Mona 2, and maybe even the Mia 2 but with warnings, caveats and presenting other options.
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
I usually don’t do this – “this” being editing a post to completely change it OR essentially reviewing a sex toy that I’ve not even tried. But, I’ve read a review from someone I trust and it confirmed every single suspicion I had. When you’ve owned hundreds of sex toys and been reviewing for over 5 years, you get to be a pretty damn good judge of a sex toy before you have even seen it in person.
Lelo asked me to write this post originally to hype up their newest WTFail, the Ida. I had to write this post, and talk about a sex toy I knew very little about, in order to be allowed to even review it. Then, I was told to “be patient”, that my review order was being put on the back burner so that they could fulfill retailer orders1. And then I never heard back. And then….then I read Piph’s review.
And I thought about it all for a little while. I thought about Lelo in general. My frustrations. My issues. My disappointments. I decided I had to determine if I wanted to remain a “VIP Reviewer” for Lelo, and keep on doing this. I had to decide if I even wanted to review this Ida for myself. I could still decide, you see, because they still hadn’t yet sent it to me (meanwhile Piph’s had hers for like, a month).
My answer came in short order. Actually, it came to me about 2 minutes after I finished reading Piph’s review.
Ida is being launched in response to the ruling that the Lelo Tiani cannot be sold in the US or Canada; it looks like the ITC once and for all ruled in favor of Standard Innovations and their We-Vibe. The Tiani 2 was pretty popular, judging by the vast traffic I’d get from searches about it. But Lelo took it pretty hard. They had seen the success of the We-Vibe, and felt jealous. They felt that they HAD to have a “worn while lovemaking” hetero-focused vibe, too. Unable to release this concept from their robotic-claw grasp, they put on their crazy-hats and came up with Ida.
Debuting in late September, IDA is the most revolutionary couples’ massager, and unlike anything available on the market! Designed to be worn when making love, IDA stands as the only couples’ massagers that combines powerful vibrations and thrilling rotations within – providing the most stimulating sensations for both partners!
Since they were unable to utilise the U-shape because it belonged to We-Vibe, they made it look like a bathroom wall hook. Here’s a link to Lelo’s video, showing how it works. The flat portion is what rests on the clitoris. As I’ve explained before, this design will not work on a fair portion of the world’s clitoris-bearing people. The arm, then, rotates. All the time. It never stops. Unless, of course, resistance stops it. Like a penis that is average sized, or bigger. Then guess what happens? The outer disc portion “rotates”, since the motor has to DO something otherwise it’ll burn up and die. From all I’ve read, the vibrations are largely worthless and the sound of the rotating arm is likened to a dentist drill.
A DENTIST DRILL SOUND DURING SEX.
So, let’s see. Either the penetrator feels an object bumping and shoving his dick while it’s in a vagina, or nothing happens because the vagina isn’t as cavernous as some men, and Lelo, think it is. The disc design could be nice for those women with an “exposed” clitoris and less prominent outer labia/mons, as the other person’s pubic mound will, in the missionary position, provide pressure. Some people need that pressure on the clit. Ok, I’ll give them that. But they’re still leaving out a huge portion of the population.
Oh, and you also have the option of Tara–Ida’s less fancy sister. Same design, same stupid concept, just sans SenseMotion remote. Awesome. Make it even more awkward to use. But oh, Tara comes in a pretty Midnight Blue–a color Lelo has previously considered a “boy” color; we’d only seen it on their older cock-ring, Bo and the “male” version of the Liv, Billy.
If Lelo had come up with this design as a solo toy, I might not have had such a visceral reaction. I might have looked at it and said “Okay, it won’t work for people built like me, but it has some potential”. Instead, me, my husband, my girl friend, and other friends have all had the same reaction:
- Before retailers could back out after reading a bunch of negative reviews? Maybe? Who knows ↩
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 2013 – I’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.
RATES? WHAT RATES?
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%.
NO PERMANENT LINKS
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!!
AVOID “CONTENT” POSTS
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”.
WATCH THE CALENDAR
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.
DON’T CHANGE YOUR BLOG TO PLEASE THEM
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.
AFFILIATE DOES NOT EQUAL PAYMENT
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
ANONYMITY – BE AWARE
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!
This post has taken me weeks to write, and has seen more drafts than hockey did this week1. Most people write big, sappy posts for a blogaversary as grand as 5 whole years. 5 years! I’m older than internet dirt now! This also happens to be my 800th post2. I can’t say I’m proud of all 800 posts; in fact I’ve changed so much over these 5 years that I’m pretty mortified by many of my earlier posts and reviews. Sadly, I’m marking off my 5 years with a quickly impending for-the-foreseeable-future-hiatus. I’ve known for weeks now that my time here was limited, but I kept that to myself. I wanted to finish up the giveaways I planned and the first big fundraising push for Dildology. I wanted to help out with Dildology as much as I could, even though I feel like I didn’t do enough.
I’m not sure if this is 100% permanent goodbye from blogging, because who knows what’ll happen. This isn’t my final post, because I do have obligations to fulfill and whatnot. My reasons though for walking away from this world right now are serious and real, but not my story to tell. I’m fine; as is my marriage/husband/family. But there is something happening in my offline world that requires my full attention and for me to be actually offline. I won’t say anything more than that publicly because of …reasons3. I don’t know how long I’m going to be needed.
One thing I do know to be certain is the fact that I won’t be attending CatalystCon or anything like it ever again – I have a lot personal reasons which I don’t need to discuss publicly; financially though it’s just not feasible for me to go. Hopefully in 2 years we’ll be buying a house, and the trip to DC is just way too expensive. I justified it in the past because the funding for it came 100% from affiliate commissions or advertising dollars. It still would, but every penny needs to go to our future.
I might find that I can still get in a semi-regular post & review per month. I might find that this change in my life is so time-consuming that I let things here die off. I don’t honestly know what will happen in 6, 8, 10 months.
The Future of this Blog and My Projects
The site will stay live because it’s paid for already til the end of next year I believe. Yes, you may link to an old post. Yes, you may quote an excerpt from and link to an old post. Yes, if anything I’ve written inspires you to write more and research more and uncover dirt more, I want to read it so please email me the link!! Have a question about …. anything …. you think I can help with? Seriously, don’t be afraid to email me. I can’t promise I’ll be able to answer that day or even the next, but I will answer. I’m not that scary, I promise. I just have Bitchy Resting Face. I honestly want to see you all succeed at whatever you’re trying to accomplish online. You’ll still see me on Twitter via mobile, and email works of course, so I’m not going to be 100% gone online. I have a bunch of reviews and a few other things scheduled to post; my social media accounts will stay open but I will be disconnecting Twitter from Facebook, so if you only follow me on Facebook you won’t see anything for quite awhile. Oh and Sex Blogger Co-Op + ToySwap will be kept alive, too, if members want it. They largely run themselves anyways. I’ll be finding someone able to take over things like member invitation and whatnot until I decide what to do on a more permanent basis (probably Epiphora and maybe someone else?).
Due to my offline commitments I will be stepping down as Marketing Director of Dildology in an official capacity. I’ll continue to support them via this blog, of course, but otherwise my ability to contribute will be virtually nonexistent, and that’s not fair to anyone. Their mission is so very much needed in the industry; I look forward to the changes that will happen, for the better, because of Dildology. Dildology is the creation of Crista and Val, and they are always willing to answer questions, explain things and so on. Should you ever need anything or have any questions in regards to Dildology, make sure you contact them via Dildology on Facebook, Twitter, or email. While I wish that I had been able to contribute more than just the fundraiser event, I have faith that the posts from the blog carnival will live on to continue to educate others who browse your blogs and learn a few things about toxic toys.
In 5 years I’ve made a lot of really great friends, met a few fakes/sociopaths I can do without, pissed off a lot of people, had so much fun, and made one of the top 5 biggest mistakes of my life. But I learned a few very important lessons from that mistake, so I’ll focus on that aspect instead of the ugly person. I’ve made some great, life-changing decisions because of this site. I’ve learned a lot from the community and I feel I’m a better person for being here these last 5 years. To the friends I only got to hang out with at the spring conference, I will truly miss your faces. Those who live within a few hours of me, I hope to see again – If you’re ever in Connecticut, please let me know! To my friends & mentors in the industry…Metis and Jenna of Tantus, Pam, Sandra of Shevibe, Laura from The Toolshed, Shelley of Crystal Delights….your patience with my brain and my inquisitive nature meant so much to me, and you all taught me so much and supported me so much. You believed in me, you didn’t blow me off or pat me on my head.
Watch this space for upcoming reviews on Tantus products, a Tenga Iroha vibe, the Jopen Envy line, the Minna Ola, the Split Dildo and of course I have a couple of posts scheduled that are things other than reviews.
OH WAIT. I think I forgot something….
The winners! I made the winners of weeks 3, 4 and 5 wait until now to be announced. The winner of the Lelo Mona 2 is ALICE. Her review suggestion reminded me of an unfinished one and her question about shower curtains and VOCs happens to be right in line with what I’m looking in to next. The winner of the We-Vibe Salsa + Tantus O2 Flury is OLIVE. If I’d had the ability, I would have chosen more winners, a few others were top contenders. It’s so hard to choose just one!! And finally, the winner of the Fucking Sculptures dildo is EMMA. Again, this was fucking hard to choose a fucking winner. Ha.