Jun 162015
 

 

DangerousLillyAvAs someone born before 1985, I am apparently part of the last generation to know life Before and After the Internet. I remember dial-up and AOL, ISCABBS and the time when we used multiple “web portals” instead of just “Googling it”. The internet was neat but it was still pretty geeky. You were a social loser if all your friends were “on the internet” and it was hard to admit to others if you met your mate through the internet. But it’s fairly normal, now, right? In fact it’s probably weird or quaint to relay a story of meeting a new, serious significant other through completely offline means.

Yes. Pretty much all of my friends live in this “box” on my desk. A few years ago I moved to a new city; a few years after that I moved to a new state. I still have friends from past places I’ve lived but I don’t speak to them much. I have a handful of acquaintances where I live now, but the vast majority of my real friends? I met you through this platform, through blogging, through the internet. And many of you I have ended up meeting in “real life.” Which, btw, do we still say that? I mean this…this IS real life. My life has never felt more real and more meaningful. My friends have never been such a diverse yet equally awesome and amazing group. I have never before had such fabulous people to call friends who teach me things, who broaden my ways of thinking, who make me a better person. I have never before been able to have a “job” that I so thoroughly enjoy, that I feel really matters to some people, before becoming the blogger I am now. A sex toy critic / concierge / consultant.

Some say the internet is evil. I can see the downsides, absolutely. But for me it is fabulous for it brought me you. My friend, who lives in this box. Who I talk to through Twitter and Facebook and IMs and email and Skype and then once in a while I get the privilege of hugging you in person, but maybe not. Without the internet I would never have found my calling in life, my niche; and I would not have met you. I would definitely be living a much more narrow-minded and much less fun life.

One thing that the book author, Harris, says is bad about the internet is:

“When you wake up, you have this gift of a blank brain. You could fill it with anything. But for most of us, we have this kind of panic. Instead of wondering what should I do, we wonder what did I miss. It’s almost like our unconsciousness is a kind of failure and we can’t believe we’ve been offline for eight hours,” he says. “It is habits like this that are insidious, not the internet itself. It is a personal thing.”

The author, while writing his book, took a month off from the internet. And while he didn’t “experience any epiphanies” he did say this:

 “I think what you get is a richer interior light and the ability to see yourself in a critical light, living online. Because if you’re in the middle of something you can never see it properly.”

While I didn’t take a month off, I did have to seriously limit my online time due to moving to a new house. Unlike the last time we moved, which was from rental to rental, I wasn’t frothing at the mouth to get back to my 6-hours-a-day-outside-of-work of precious internet time, doing so in short order. I had a lot more going on (hell, I still do, I am still not at my computer nearly as much as before we bought the house) and this time I went a whole few weeks without spending a lot of time on social media in all of its many facets. And yeah, I did feel left out and I did miss a lot of things going on. But I’ve also enjoyed my break and I’m wading back in much more slowly. The break did give me renewed vision on what things I’m going to keep devoting time to, what has to be cut or cut back on, and who matters to me.

All of this is also to thank the internet for these last 7 years because they’ve been awesome. I’ve changed a lot and my blog certainly has changed a lot 1. Many blog anniversaries I’ve celebrated by hosting a large sex toy giveaway on the blog, but obviously that’s not happening this year. If that’s what you stick around for, well, you’ll find other places to frequent. Go see Piph, she never misses a blogiversary giveaway and she’s a hell of a lot more reliable with such traditions than I. Maybe later this summer or in the fall I’ll host a giveaway, but, I don’t have the time for it. Those things are time sucks, they take a LOT of work.

So yeah. Stick around. I have a lot of important and interesting articles to work on, a few more guides that should be helpful and many more sex toy reviews. I’ll be here for year 8, that’s for certain. To those who are my friend: I adore you. You are extremely important to me. And hopefully I’ll be seeing a bunch of you in 2 months!!

 

The artwork is part of my snazzy new business card that I’ll be bringing to Woodhull, created by the fabulous team at Shevibe, Alex and Keith and Sandra and Thor. I think it’s pretty fucking spectacular, and very much me.

  1. A  fact which someone who has been around awhile decided to point out to me, they apparently miss what my blog used to be (the noodz and smut) and they thought I should know that. Well, fuck them, because I don’t fucking do what I do for them
May 262015
 

Earlier this month I was nominated by Will and Vixenne as having a “Real Neat Blog”, which was super sweet. I am shamefully behind on blogging much of ANYTHING these days. So by the time I’ve gotten around to writing this, nearly everybody that I planned to nominate has probably already been nominated by someone else and has written their post. 

Everybody told me how much “_____” it would be buying/owning a home. You think you know, but you have no idea. We have wayyyyy too much stuff, the house needed quite a bit of work (and still does in many ways) and my schedule got completely thrown out of whack. I started dropping off to sleep before 10pm most nights (hell, sometimes before 9pm) and waking before 6am. Nearly every day before work, I am running errands. I probably have gone to Home Depot 4-5 times a week, every week since the move a month ago. It’s all a bunch of insanity; moving and home-owning is a literal pain. I’m in so much bodily agony it’s ridiculous. 

But I’m seriously content. Happy! I smile for no reason. I look at the kitties as they lay in 45 different positions on the bay window, and know that we did good. I look out at our (very lumpy, needs much work) vast lawn and half-acre of trees and feel at ease. It’s all very….odd. I’m not used to this. I keep wondering when the honeymoon period will end, skeptic that I am. 

So yeah. I’m trying to get back into the habit of being at my computer, blogging, reviewing, being active on Reddit and social media but it’s hard right now. We’re SO busy. I spend so little time at the computer some days which is honestly just a foreign concept to me. Anyways, on to the post. The two people who nomm’ed me had different questions, so I’ll answer the ones I can/that apply. 

1. What was the reason you decided to start blogging? Has that reason changed over time?

I think this is something I’ve talked about before; I started blogging because I was looking desperately for a way to ask a real person a question in real time about a specific sex toy I was considering. I’d already wasted a few hundred dollars on toys that didn’t work for me and I just had a question! In 2008, there weren’t a ton of reviewers. So I found my answer by way of finding a blogger. I decided I wanted to do it too! But back then, there weren’t blogs solely about sex toys, or very few. So I was a sex blogger. I wrote juicy stories and diary entries and took half-nekkid pics to entice readers and get traffic to my reviews. I had a lot of fun and it did me good, for a while. But then I felt the need to be more “serious” and “professional” and stopped wanting to flirt with other bloggers and always be “sexy”. I just wanted to rant about the stupid sex toy industry shit and write reviews and do my research. 

2. If your site had a goal, what would it be? How do you feel you’re doing with that goal, right now? How do you feel you’ve done with that goal over all?

Hmmm. I wanted traffic. Then, I wanted affiliate earnings. Then, I wanted to educate people. I wanted to research and educate and peel back the curtains. I wanted to cause a ruckus and make people think. 

I’m not the top, but I’m doin all right. 

3. How has blogging influenced your life?

The people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made. I see the world differently. I am a better person. I am so much more educated about LGBTQ issues (I grew up quite sheltered, really) and gender issues and all of that. I am more open-minded. I am overjoyed to finally find people who get me, who are similar to me. I’ve traveled, I’ve had experiences that I would never have had. 

And I more sex toys than I know what to do with. 

4. What is your favorite part of blogging?

When I can help someone narrow down their choices in finding them their perfect sex toy. 

5. What website on the entire web, besides your own, do you spend the most time on?

Twitter and Wikipedia, probably. 

6.  Gotta ask one toy question. Name your absolute favorite sex toy. (More than one is fine.)

I normally hate, detest, “choose 1 thing as your favorite forever” questions. I’m awful at it, I cannot choose, I cannot decide. But this? I got this. We-Vibe Tango. It’s no contest. I could give up everything else I own, truly, and be fine with my Tangos. 

7. What is the most important thing about you that you want everyone to know?

I am weird. I can be awkward. You might think I don’t like you, but I probably do. I’m terrible with maintaining contact and friendships in the way most people do it, but I adore and treasure my friends no less. People have said I’m intimidating, I’m scary, I’m not approachable. I’m truly baffled by the wide berth some give me. I’m just a socially-awkward, slightly-extroverted introvert who is shit at small talk but engage me about a topic I like and I’m babbling away. 

My nominations are: 

KaraSutra

Marvelous Darling

Naughty Reenie

JoEllen, the Redhead Bedhead

Sugarcunt

Bex Talks Sex

But yet….these aren’t the only blogs I love. These aren’t the only bloggers I love. Look there in the sidebar, because there’s so many fantastic people writing great stuff. 

 Posted by at 3:09 pm
Jan 222015
 

Note that says: "You're never alone, okay? Someone somewhere cares about you and wants you to be alright. Even if it's just a random person you met on the internet. You are loved. Don't forget that."I need to preface this post. You won’t learn anything from this. I have no answers, no treatment plan, no quest. I have uncertainties and questions.  It isn’t an eloquent post. If you need a visual, I am huddled under a hoodie unable to make eye contact, I’m fidgety and exhausted. I’m skimming in some parts because I don’t have enough introspection to be able to elaborate. This is raw and uncomfortable and it’s not a pretty post. Like I told Reenie when I got her opinion on this post, this is a glimpse of me in therapy (and a clue as to why I don’t DO therapy). I’m all over the place, I skip details, yet I repeat. I’m saying all of this the best I can. This isn’t for fame or notoriety, because let’s face it, I’d like to think I normally write better than this. But if I take the time to polish it, it will never get published. Take it or leave it. 

For the last year or 18 months, I’ve mentally been on a downward, slow spiral. Stress and unknown other factors have made me subtly feel less awesome. It’s been so subtle that I’ve only recently thought “hmmm, maybe this is depression?”.  I want to write about this because it’s high time. My friend JoEllen has been writing about it for awhile now; plus there’s Crista’s world-famous OrgasmQuest. My angle is a bit different though. 

 The Vibrators

Despite the fact that it’s my job to use sex toys, I feel some internal guilt about having an orgasm by myself when it’s not “for work”, since I’m getting off by myself and not bringing my husband into it for something that could benefit us both. Even though intellectually I know that masturbation is healthy and there are tons of reasons that partners in very healthy relationships with great sex lives would masturbate. I know this. I still feel guilty sometimes though. Yet my orgasms, the ones from masturbation, aren’t really for pleasure. I don’t take my time and luxuriate in sensual self-play; there are no candles, no erotica, etc. Everything’s usually done in 10 minutes or less and often my pants don’t even come off. Most of the time I’m using my Tango (lately the L’amourose Rosa Rouge is helpful if a climax is being particularly stubborn) and I flip over to Tumblr for some audio and visual stimulation, enough to help with an orgasm. And then I’m done. Close out Tumblr, no more porn, no residual sexy feelings or thoughts; it’s like flipping a switch on and off. When I start masturbating through to finish, I’m not aroused. I’m not horny. So why the fuck am I masturbating, you might ask?

 For something to do. To maybe help myself sleep. To relieve some anxiety. To maybe not feel melancholy for a little while. Maybe it’ll wake me up. The reasons are varied but 99% of the time my libido is not in the deck of cards that contains my reasons. Sometimes an orgasm is not much different than brushing my teeth, as an activity.  It feels good but it’s not really registering, there’s a brain-body disconnect. 

The Sex

I’ll be honest, most of the time lately I have no sex drive. Luckily (an ironic sort of luck) my husband was going through his own lack of sex drive and issues, so while we both still love each other deeply the lack of sex bothered us only on a more cerebral level. A “shouldn’t we be bothered by this?” kind of bothered. A “it’s been HOW long??? Wow…that’s bad…we really should have sex this weekend” (and then we wouldn’t) kind of bothered. I think this past year we’ve both felt a bit of a strain due to the physical disconnect, but we both know that it’ll come back and we’re happy together regardless. But for two people who love each other dearly and still find each other attractive….the frequency of the sexing is frighteningly low. I don’t know yet how to fix it. 

The Depression

So I may, or may not, be clinically depressed 1 and I’m not being treated for it, nor am I seeing anyone. I’m not on any medication that is hampering my ability to orgasm, like Crista is dealing with on her #orgasmquest. I’ve had such awful experiences in the past 16 years with mental health drugs that I’m reluctant to go down this path again. The hazing period of newer drugs is intolerable sometimes. So I’m not actively seeking help. But I’m not happy, like overall – I mean, duh, right? And I have these weird “quirks” that I never had when I was younger – primarily, the ability to cry at the drop of a hat. Reading a book/watching a TV show where someone else cries? I cry. Happy cry, sad cry, the tears are just always there right under the surface. I also have a really hard time sticking with something I like – you know the whole typical depression question of “do you find yourself no longer getting pleasure from hobbies you previously enjoyed” thing. It’s, quite frankly, amazing that I’ve kept up with this blog for so long. I have definitely had feelings of “why the fuck am I still doing this” over the last 2 years. I tend to let my insecurities and the need to feel accepted and liked by my peers rule too much over me. When I start feeling like my peers don’t give a flying fuck about me/my writing/reviews, I consider throwing in the towel. But then I get thank you notes from my readers, the people I actually write the reviews for, and my brain returns to normal and I stop being such a pain in the ass. Needing validation is a sign of weakness for me because of past, unhealthy  experiences. 

I don’t know what I’m going to do. The thought of finding a psychiatrist/psychologist that doesn’t annoy the crap out of me feels too daunting. But I think I owe it to my husband to try and get my sex drive back. I’d say I owe it to myself, too, but my brain is like “pffft don’t care” so that thought doesn’t even occur to me. And yes, a tiny part of me feels like a fraud of a “sex blogger” for having no libido and reviewing sex toys. Thank goodness I dropped the whole “sexy” sex blogger thing years ago or I’d be feeling double the pressure. 

I guess all this rambling is to say that there is no normal, we need to talk more about sex & depression and masturbation & depression and depression in general, and I’m just as nutty as the next squirrel. I expected that writing this would be like therapy, but you know what? I feel twitchy. I feel like I’m in a therapy session with the therapist staring me down and after 10 minutes asking a “how do you feeeeeeel about that” question and my only response is “I dunno”. Oh hey….it IS just like therapy. Ha.

So uh……yeah. I think I need that orgasm right about now.

 

Links to help:  ADAA page on Depression  –  1-800-273-TALK  – NAMI

  1. But I absolutely do have ADD-Inattentive type and fibromyalgia, and I’m not really on anything for either and both of those, left untreated, can cause depression
 Posted by at 10:59 am
May 042014
 

A lot has happened in my 6 years here, and a lot has happened with me, sexually, over the last ten years. 6 years ago when I started this blog, I considered myself to be moderately kinky. Over the next few years, as a pseudo-relationship worked its course, I considered myself to be highly kinky. You see, when someone I’m very much attracted to is very much into something sexually, their enthusiasm for it rubs off on me and I suddenly see things from a new perspective. I’m not faking it for them, I’m genuinely exploring previously-unknown facets. Not all have worked out for me. Two attempts at being the dominant one in a sexual relationship failed miserably; the second one succeeded only in making me realize that I was more submissive than I assumed. When those two relationships ended, I didn’t have a distaste for being the dominant one, I just knew it wasn’t my thing.

But a few years ago, something happened in my personal life that pretty much completely turned me off of anything kinky. I no longer want to tie up anyone or be tied up. I don’t long for spankings, or being controlled–but I still love having my hair pulled, go figure. In fact, this personal rift was so severe that (husband aside) I went from a 3 on the Kinsey Scale to a 5. It is rare indeed that I find myself attracted to someone who identifies as male these days. My sex life with my husband isn’t faltering for it, in fact we’re personally better than ever – my love for him is very strong, and our sex life is great. But if things were to go back to being open again? I’d only be interested in female-identified or genderqueer people. My porn preferences fall in line with this, too. I quickly scroll past the random hetero-based sexy image in my Tumblr dashboard, rushing to the next all female one. I’m finding that my attraction to cis-men is very rare.

I don’t really want or need to get into the details of what happened in  my personal life to cause such a change in me1, but the change is there and I honestly don’t see it going away anytime soon. The anti-kink in me is strong enough that I don’t want view blogs that are heavy on the kink or D/s. For awhile I pondered if I ever really was kinky, or was I just a poser, a chameleon? But I realized that my inclinations went back much farther and weren’t born from being with certain people–intensified, yes. “If it turns you on, it turns me on” applies a lot to me, in part because I’m (until recent years, I guess) largely open-minded, always (no matter my preferences) sex-positive and very much an empath. But the person who dragged me deeper down that rabbit-hole of kink was such a twisted, sick fuck (in the serious way, not in the “fun” way) that I guess I still view BDSM related things as being in the same mental box as that person, and I really want to light that box on fire. Yes, one person managed to be so heinous that I’m not only ruined for kink but done with cis-men that I’m not married to. Is this highly abnormal?

This feels very much like that time I made grilled chicken marinated in Italian dressing and despite making it many times before, the last time coincided with a stomach flu. I puked up marinated grilled chicken breast all night. Haven’t been able to tolerate chicken + Italian dressing without wanting to sympathy puke in 15 years. I realize the analogy is um, fucked up, but that’s the best I can come up with, lol.  I’ve also realized that since I’m pretty much awful and recognizing when anyone other than cis-men are flirting with me, and seem to lack the ability to know how to flirt with anyone other than cis-men, it’s just gonna be me and the husband from here on out. It’s fine, despite how much I’d like to occasionally date a femme person. Like, a lot. But no really, it’s fine. I’ll just watch. Wait, no, that sounds creepy.

I guess this is just one of those rambling, navel-gazing posts with no reason or purpose, save for me formally and publicly announcing: I’m Not Kinky Anymore. If you are, that’s cool and you do you. But I’ve got a little line in my sandbox and I just can’t cross it. If your blog is mainly kinky, please understand that I might adore you but I won’t be reading your blog and for that, I’m sorry. It’s too much of a trigger.

  1. Those who have been around for a few years and paid attention will remember what happened a few years ago – yes, that’s the “thing”
 Posted by at 11:17 am
Mar 022013
 

I wouldn’t quite say that I have Obsessive-Compulsive Planning Disorder but it’s close. I got it from my mother, who also passed on her compulsive over-packing syndrome. Toss in a case of Chronic List Making, and you would think that I have a complete inability to be spontaneous. That’s not exactly true; if I know that *something* is going to be happening, then yes I need to have an exact plan for it. If you text me and say “OMG let’s go to ____ right now!!” if it’s within my doing, I shall be doing.

Let’s take last year’s MomentumCon. I took the train down, then had to catch a subway, then locate the hotel. But I’d never been to the train station here, and of course I was worried about locating the subway and navigating it. So I did research. I drove to the train station two days before my trip as a dry run, to ensure that I didn’t miss the turn and end up getting lost and missing my train. I used Google Maps street view and satellite to figure out how to get from the train station to the subway. I printed out subway time tables. Yet still I was a nervous wreck at all junctures. It’s just how I am.  This year I’ve decided to drive down, since it will (hopefully) mean 3 less hours of travel time, but now I’m all anxious over being able to find the turn-in for hotel parking on the first try, and anxious about the whole parking situation. If I leave for dinner, does that negate the daily parking rate?

Packing? Oy with the lists already. But in my defense…when I don’t make these lists days/weeks in advance? I forget lots of shit. Just this past week I visited my mom and I didn’t make a list. I forgot my back-up sleep medication, miscalculated what to wear by an entire day’s outfit, and forgot at least 4 other things. My brain just doesn’t work very well on these things. So I make my lists days and, for more important trips where forgetting something could be monumental, even weeks in advance. I leave them up on my computer and every so often I will think of something else.

Last year’s trip was made a little bit easier because I was rooming with Crista and knew that I likely wouldn’t have to worry about say, being alone for dinner. Yes, that bothers me. But this year things are still up in the air for things to do and the whole gluten thing makes it even more complicated. Last year we spent a lot of time eating in the hotel restaurant. I will speak to the manager when I get there, but I just don’t have much confidence in their ability to prepare me a safe-from-cross-contaminations meal. I’ve scoped out other places to go eat, but I sure as hell don’t want to go alone. And I don’t want to go off-site for lunch and risk having to miss an after-lunch session, or go hungry. Despite trying very hard to work out the whole “what to wear” issue, here we are 2 weeks away and I’m up in the air on at least 2 of 3 outfits. To say that it’s upping my anxiety overall is an understatement. And now topping things off is the worry that I will need to seriously conserve my spending from here on out and while I’m at Catalyst. Blah. Let’s top things off with the fact that I just trimmed my overgrown bangs, realizing only after that I don’t like how I look with bangs, plus they’re a pain in the fuckin ass to “do”. Can’t just wash and go with my hair.

Let’s add in the fact that, since I’m driving myself, I feel the freedom now to essentially over-pack. The thought of packing my Ninja cooker actually did come into my head, as a way to avoid the restaurants and have safe food…but I like the social aspect and want to spend time with people as much as possible. I’m bringing items for people (note: if you’re on Toyswap and are interested in anything I have, and you’re going to Catalyst, let me know and I can bring the item with me) and for my own comfort. I have an overabundance of makeup samples and trials from Sephora, and am bringing those for my friends to paw through. I’m bringing my Devine Playchest for Crista to have. I may pack my Fucking Sculptures dildos for people to fondle. I’ll definitely be bringing gluten-free foods so that I’m not in danger of going without (or worse: having my bacon cheeseburger on a piece of lettuce).

It occurred to me too late about business cards. I still have some mini-moo cards from last year, although they’re a bit outdated now. But I don’t have it in me to design new ones, nor do I have the funds. It’ll have to do I suppose for the 3.5 people who may ask for one.

I think I’ll go pack a few things tonight. Nail down an outfit. Wonder what I’m forgetting.

 Posted by at 9:37 pm
Feb 172013
 

Car Alarms Are AnnoyingYou’d be hard pressed to find an online giveaway these days that doesn’t have the “Tweet about this contest” as an entry method. Same for “liking” a Facebook page. While the Facebook page “likes” are a bit less intrusive to the would-be winner’s social media circle, a Tweet is going to show up on the dashboard of everyone who follows them. And since some people just enter every contest they can, these Tweets are just so abundant that we’ve begun to, I think, tune them out like a car alarm. Remember those? Now they’re just annoying; you hear a car alarm go off and instead of thinking “Oh noes someone is trying to steal a car”, you think “That fucktard just set off their own alarm again I’mma kill that bastard you stupidhead would you just TURN IT OFF!!!”. Or something like that.

While there are people outside of the realm of sex toy giveaways who also will create a “contest only” Twitter account, I think it’s probably more prevalent for our little niche. Unless the person’s Twitter is safe from the prying eyes of friends and family, or they simply come from much more modern stock than I, they will want to create a secret account for entering sex-related giveaways. And then, since their Twitter account contains no valuable content to generate followers, their contest entry is the equivalent of standing in the middle of the woods and talking to the squirrels. Yet we reward them with multiple entries.

During my last giveaway I encountered a large number of these pseudo Twitter accounts, but also more pseudo Facebook profiles than I’d seen in the past. And like I said, to a degree, I get it. I happen to have a blog-me Facebook account and a vanilla-me Facebook account because I wouldn’t want to follow and like sex-blog/sex-toy related things on my vanilla account. It’s not something I need or want my family to see. But while I have followers on Facebook, these pesudo accounts that people use for contests usually do not have many, or any, friends/followers. So again, it’s a middle of the woods entry and we reward for it.

I suppose though that I’m more old school than I should be. While I agree and recognize that giveaways are a great tool to build brand recognition for both myself and the company sponsoring my giveaway, I keep wanting to go beyond that. I want the people to do something deserving of the more expensive prizes. I think I’m alone in this mindset, though. I encountered a giveaway earlier this week for a Vitamix blender – those fuckers start at something like $400. But did the giver-awayer require that I write a thesis paper? Nope. Did they even give a blog post as an entry method? Nope. They know that their audience isn’t other bloggers. All of the entries are nothing more than liking pages on Facebook, following Twitter accounts and a Tweet. Then again….this sort of social media “advertising” works for mainstreamers. People can easily “like” the Facebook page about food or recipes or whatnot, and it doesn’t matter one iota about friends and family, plus they’ll likely have a few friends/family who will also enter the contest and so it spreads, like wildfire.

But we are unique. We are stigmatized, in many ways. We are the dirty little secret. I get it. I do. My family knows nothing of my blog work, the blog-related trips I’ve made in the past to NYC for Calendar parties, to DC for conferences.

So, what to do? Do I need to just suck it up and play the game of social media as if I were giving away a blender and stop caring that most of the Twitter entries fall on deaf ears or half of the Facebook entries are seen by no one? As I was reading some articles about contests and giveaways, they stressed one fact that we already figured out on our own: people are lazy. They won’t want to do anything complicated. If your entry methods are complicated in nature or complicated to report, you won’t have many entries. I can remember once, long ago, Epiphora was giving away something pricey like a Pure Wand maybe(?) and contest entries had to be something creative and effort was required. I recall that she didn’t get many entries.

Past entry methods that netted me permanent traffic increases included things like having people submit a post to Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg etc…but not many people did those. Any idea why? It’s pretty darn simple, given the Shareaholic plugin I have below that allows for easy sharing to those places. In recent contests I’ve allowed not only the daily contest tweet, but the opportunity to share via Twitter a past post of mine. Again, some people do it, many don’t. It’s still relatively easy.  I’ve had entry methods where I have people subscribe to my RSS feed (can’t track that) or subscribe to email notifications of my posts – but those can be throwaway entries too, as I’ve had people subscribe to my updates and then after the contest they unsubscribe. They don’t want their inbox cluttered with notifications on posts about sex toy reviews. No, that isn’t true for everyone that enters using those methods but it will be true for a decent percentage.

So I’m running out of ideas for “worthy” entries, most effective entry methods, etc. For my 5 year blog anniversary in June, I’ve decided to have 5 different giveaways. Some of the prizes are from smaller, niche/luxury companies like Fucking Sculptures and Nobessence. These companies need traffic, referrals and to just in general create buzz and keep it going. We need to help keep companies like them in business by fostering their growth.

What contest entry methods are you willing to do to win a sex toy?

What entry methods have you seen that you won’t or can’t ever do?

Should I just give up and stick to the status quo?

 

Edit: I’ve been doing a lot of research and I know that some don’t enter contests that use an app (like my last giveaway) that will ask you to link your FB account and you “allow” it to access your information; it’ll sometimes even say “post on your behalf” which causes panic. First, by using FB privacy controls you can control who see that stuff and what stuff the app can see. Usually apps can’t see things unless they’re visible to “public”. But I found this which is interesting:

Facebook has it own set of Promotional Guidelines.  All sweepstakes or contest promos that run on a brand’s or company’s Facebook page must run within a 3rd party application. This means that you cannot just use the Facebook wall to collect data on the person or use the page or “Like” button as a means to determine winners.   So when you use a Facebook application the user must “Allow” the application access to the user’s personal profile and other data. Many people are still not comfortable with this and don’t understand what data the marketer will be getting and what they will be doing with it. Facebook users should adjust their privacy settings so that they are not sharing their information with “Everyone”. Most apps will only have access to what a user makes public to “Everyone”.

Wow. We’ve been doing this all wrong. 

Apparently, whether or not to allow Canada residents to enter is NOT dependant on whether the sponsor will ship there: In Canada the winner can not be chosen by luck, but rather some element of skill must be involved. And if you do wish to open your giveaway to residents of Canada, you must go one step further and either exclude Quebec or add in the various additional rules that province requires. Quebec is very strict and requires bonding and registration for sweepstakes along with all communications to be produced in both English and French-Canadian. This is why you will see many U.S. based promotions excluding Quebec from eligibility.

 Posted by at 12:40 pm