When you review a sex toy, do you talk price? Is it just me? I feel that it’s an important point to cover, one that my readers would want to know. If I were reading a sex toy review of an item priced well over $100, I would need a fuck ton of convincing that that item is going to rock my fucking world for that price.
A potential relationship with a retailer who thought I was new to the scene back in 2012 ended quickly when we discussed the finer points of reviewing. They didn’t want me to just review one item, they wanted me to review a lot. Primarily I turned them down because they didn’t have an affiliate program (I work from home now, I need all the income I can get) but also because our views just didn’t mesh.
I’m actually not going to publicly name names here, because the point I want to make really doesn’t have anything to do with the company – my point is that it’s an aspect I care about. But in our very short discussion, as a response to me detailing that I do not sugarcoat my reviews and I am bluntly honest, always, this was mentioned:
“It’s a product review… Let the customers decide if it’s worth it. Most all of my product are over $100, so if that’s an issue and your readers don’t want to spend that, I don’t want to be skewered because you don’t believe in buying $150 toys. If a toy is good, and gives orgasms, or does its job, give it a good review. Let the buyer decide if it’s worth it. I’m a high end retailer, and carry great products. I need good, honest reviewers, that have good audiences that might buy. Let me know what you think. I repost on my blog, from your blog, word for word, so no editorializing or such.”
Well, I’ve already talked about my feelings on someone re-posting my review on their site and I was not okay with that aspect of their conditions. But I had a real head-scratcher over the “let the buyer decide if it’s worth it”. Um….isn’t that what I’m doing here?? I’m presenting them with the information but also my opinion. If they wanted pure information, they’d read the copy from the website. I responded with:
“I personally expect every, single luxury sex toy to live up to the high expectations that come along with a high price tag, and from everything I’ve seen, so do my readers. I’ve reviewed so many luxury toys that were such a let-down that I fear I’ve become a little jaded. I am hard on toys though; I expect great things for the price tag. I’ve been unable to fully recommend items such as some Lelo, Je Joue, Zini, JimmyJane, etc because there are less expensive items that perform better. In my opinion, I do reviews to help the buyer decide if a toy is worth the money – be it $25 or $125. I wasted a lot of my own money (both prior to reviewing and even recently) on toys that appeared to have glowing on-site reviews. That was what led me to reviewing, ultimately – I was searching for women who’d tried the toys I was considering, to ask them a few questions, and that was how I found out about blog reviewers. There are so many items out there that I don’t think are worth the price and I don’t hesitate to tell my readers that. To me, that’s half the point of a review. They’re looking for reassurance in our reviews, reassurance that they won’t be dropping a week’s worth of grocery money on a toy that just isn’t worth it. I get disappointed with items/manufacturers but in the end I actually like all the reviews I write – I love being able to tell someone that something is awesome and I feel good about telling someone to avoid something that sucks. I don’t gloss over just for sales. In the end, I want my readers to be happy with their purchase and feel that I truly helped them.”
This didn’t go over well, I guess. I never heard from the person again. Apparently, I’m not the type of reviewer they want on their side. They clearly wanted reviewers who would drive people to buy, and it almost seems like they were angling for some sugar-coating. Thus far all of the places I review for have never taken issue with my reviews, no matter how harsh they are and boy howdy have some1 been2 harsh3.
Do you talk about price? Do you feel the need to justify super-pricey toys to your readers, assuring them it is worth it? If that same toy that you feel is decent, but not wonderful, cost half the price would you be more likely to recommend it?
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About 3 or 4 months ago I was looking up something on the We-Vibe website and I noticed that while some of the icon links to the Salsa/Tango still existed, you couldn’t see the Salsa on their page anymore. Just the Tango. I had my suspicions that this meant they were discontinuing my beloved Salsa. I reached out to them first on Twitter for confirmation, and didn’t get a response. After about a week, I tried Facebook, I posted my question on their page. No response. I let it go for another month or so and decided to try asking again. Yet again, both inquiries on Facebook and Twitter were just flat-out ignored. What is the point of having social media accounts if you ignore people?
Last week then I decided to contact them directly, and sent an email via the site.
Hello. I have tried numerous times to reach out to your company on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. All 4 times I’ve been ignored. I see on your site here that you do not show photos of the Salsa anymore, you just talk about the Tango. Since the shape of the Salsa is the one I recommend slightly more (it is versatile in replacing anything that uses an RO-80mm bullet, for example), I am wondering if you have discontinued it and if so, why. The colors are great!! Many users are not feminine and appreciated the gender-neutral color scheme.
I’m a sex toy reviewer/blogger and I’m probably one of your loudest supporters of the Salsa & Tango. I recommend them to nearly every person who contacts me for sex toy help; I tell retailers who want to work with me to carry them, and I compare every other clit vibe (and sometimes even internal vibes) to the Salsa & Tango. They’ve quickly become my only vibrator needed and Holy Grail. Suffice to say, I’m quite disheartened that my simple questions about product discontinuance are consistently ignored on social media. I’d like to properly alert my readers to purchase Salsa wherever they see it if my assumptions are correct. Can you please respond and let me know??
Their response was quite….lackluster.
Thank you for contacting We-Vibe Customer Care.
We have consolidated our product line and as such the Salsa is no longer in production, though it is still widely available in many retail stores. The Tango and the Salsa are virtually identical with the only discernible difference being the shape and the colour. The Tango proved more popular than the Salsa, though the decision to stop producing the Salsa was not based on gender preferences but rather on sales.
*blinks* No apologies for the lack of response time and again on social media sites, not even a “Thanks for recommending our product, glad you like it” half-hearted attempt at giving a shit. Call me naive but I’m surprised. Hell I’ve had a more personal and heartfelt response from Doc Johnson. I think Tantus is likely a bigger company than We-Vibe but Tantus goes out of their way for superb customer service.
I’ll still continue to recommend the Tango, although it will be with a tiny bit less enthusiasm than the Salsa (even though, yes, they are virtually identical, the only difference being color and tip shape). However I will recommend the Tango only because I love the vibrations, not because I love the company. I’m so damn sick of “girly” shades of blue, pink and purple – the red, black and white of the Salsa were such a welcome change. So buy up the Salsa when you see it if you think you prefer the color and/or tip shape. At least on EdenFantasys, you’ll be able to tell if they’re truly out of stock or finally discontinued – I’ve shown examples below, the left is the Salsa out of stock til Feb 4th, the right is a Liberator product that they no longer carry.
On that note, I’d love love love to giveaway a Salsa or two to my readers as a proper send-off for my most-loved vibrator ever. If anyone would be interested in sponsoring such a thing, please contact me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Update: Standard Innovations Marketing has contacted me and apologized for the lack of response on social media sites and has said that they will be improving their online presence drastically. I really do hope so; in this age, social media is huge and it’s often the place where many people go to first for customer service. Unfortunately our collective sadness over this discontinuance can’t stop the ‘wheels of progress’, we can’t save it like a petition for a TV show. SI said: “With regards to the Salsa, we too are sad to see it go, but as our brand evolves we needed to make space in our line up for future products. We also appreciate your feedback with regards to colour. This is something we will seriously consider when developing new products.” So I do hope that they continue to expand into more gender-neutral colors. In regards to the Salsa, I will be sent a whole case to give away as I see fit! I’m still sad that I won’t be able to recommend it to all my lovely readers BUT I’m thrilled that at least a few more people will be able to own one. I just need to figure out how best to go about doing it. I’d really like to see the Salsas end up with people who are like me, who have been searching and searching for a clitoral vibrator that has the power and depth we need. I’ve reviewed or owned over 100 vibrators and the Salsa/Tango wins, hands-down, above everything that I’ve tried.
Update 2-7-13: EdenFantasys has it back in stock finally, and until the 15th you can get it 25% off (use couponcode Hot4YOU). Who knows how long they’ll have it or how many they have/can get. I wouldn’t wait.Read More
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Yesterday, and for the hundredth time, someone on Liberator’s Twitter feed acted like a complete asshole.
Being a seasoned social media watcher, I knew that these offensive and idiotic tweets would eventually disappear so I screen-capped them. And heyyyyy, lookie there….they’re now gone! But thanks to posterity, not forgotten.
Lest we think that the asshattery is limited to whatever dumbass Liberator decided to entrust with the Twitter password this week, it’s also going on at Facebook in spades. SPADES I TELL YOU.
But then when I shared the following photo from their FB stream with my outraged comments, and then others did the same? Well now suddenly the photo in question is gone. And since it was a share, when Liberator deletes it, it gets deleted from all streams. But this is the photo:
Of course it had many likes, and many “high five bro” type comments. I didn’t see anybody on Liberator’s initial posting saying anything bad about it. Which is kinda my point….do we really need a sex toy retailer perpetuating this kind of sex negative attitude??
Due to their bait-and-swtich-esque treatment of Epiphora and previous acts of douchebaggery on Twitter, I’d already lost interest in them as a company. Now? I’m done. No, really. I will find other sex support position pillow companies to recommend, because I am D-O-N-E. Just like I won’t support Chik-Fil-A because their profits get donated to anti-gay-and-lesbian organizations intent on making the lives of gays and lesbians even more unsafe and even more difficult, I will not support a company who spouts off immature, sex-negative, queer-negative shit like a drunk 18 year old frat boy.
This isn’t the first company to lose my support. RubyGlass21 was probably the first company I’d ever seen behave like a child on Twitter. They first started off by tossing out thinly-veiled digs to Crystal Delights. Then they would, unprompted, start spouting off even more lies and bullshit about Crystal Delights via email to the few bloggers who tread carefully and agreed to review. Slanderous shit. Then they’d apologize for puking their drama-llama bullshit all over Twitter in some text-language that is worse than the average 13-year-old. I couldn’t even fucking understand what they were saying on Twitter. It was embarrassing for them.
I wondered if perhaps English was a distant second language to this person, but I don’t think it is. I love the response that tweets are not term papers, that I should lighten up. Hey, I’m not asking for tweets that would pass muster by an English professor. I’m asking for something that is: Professional, Readable, Courteous, Intelligent. Whoever this MJ person is, possesses none of those qualities. And frankly RubyGlass21 could be producing the most awesome glass dildos ever, and because of their behavior on Twitter and in email to other reviewers, I will never, ever recommend them. The height of professionalism and maturity? Crystal Delights, for holding their tongue and not engaging in a pointless Twitter fight with these idiots.
YOUR BEHAVIOR ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK WILL DIRECTLY IMPACT YOUR COMPANY.
It is that simple. If companies cannot comprehend this, then frankly they deserve whatever backlash they get. It’s common sense. But apparently, neither Liberator or RubyGlass21 have any common sense.
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
A Twitter friend pointed us to HuffPo’s article on this past weekend’s BDSM-angled con, DomConLA. She was specifically pointing out that RedemptionsGirl is in a few of the photos, but what I took notice of was actually some curious wording.
“…..who is a willing submissive at a dungeon party during the DomConLA convention”
I cocked my head and thought it a bit strange. And then when I flipped through the slideshow more, I saw that that “disclaimer” was on every. single. photo.
Except for three. The three that featured a submissive male being whipped.
” Domina beats a submissive man at a dungeon party during the DomConLA convention”
There is no distinctive wording here to emphasize that he is a willing submissive. Why? Why is there a need to state the obvious for the female subs but not the male? Why state the obvious at all? The article is about DomConLA – a highly respected kinky conference that has visitors from all levels of kink & fetish.Taking bets on how many times Consent was reference, inferred or discussed at length would be like guessing how many M&Ms are in that 5 gallon jug at the bridal shower.
Then again….the comments on the article are filled with ignorant trolls. It’s fairly clear to me that the aspect of ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’ that is “sweeping the nation” isn’t the BDSM aspect at all. It’s the “saving the man” aspect; it’s the Cinderella-twist aspect; it’s the “she orgasms on command over and over and over and over” aspect. The majority of the general American public is just way too judgmental to even tolerate a mere article on DomConLA.
“People often abuse their bodies because they feel ugly inside.”
“these people didnt get enough hugs growing up…”
“or they got way too many!”
“Maybe that’s the only way ugly people can get attention…?”
Not all comments are negative like this. But enough are to make me never go back and read anything else “sexually progressive” at HuffPo. Anyways these jerks aren’t my point. My point is that I fail to understand on any level why apologies, excuses and special words are needed to make sure the intolerant jerks don’t flip out even more about these “willing submissive women”.
Please weigh in with your opinion. Enlighten me. Because I’m not going to understand this all on my own.Read More
The bane of a bloggers existence some days is the evolution of the Scraper. The Scraper is someone who has set up a website solely to garner advertisers. They have numerous sites like this and they obviously don’t have time to write their own content, so they “scrape” illegally from others. It’s only scraping, though, if they are stealing your entire post1. Many times these scrapers have automated the process and will scrape directly from your RSS feed. I’ve added on anti-scraping plugins to WordPress which put in things such as unique keys (so that I can search for that key and find who else is using it) and copyright / anti-scrap notices in the post – they alert the reader that if they’re reading the post anywhere other than Dangerouslilly.com, it has been illegally scraped and please contact me.
Even worse, however, is when a fellow community blogger or sex toy manufacturer/retailer uses your content in entirety without permission. Some are just completely uneducated as to the rights and wrongs of blogging, but really….we all started out in the same clueless space and most of us have gotten where we are just fine without violating copyright, stealing content or plagiarizing, ever.
What is Copyright?
According to Wikipedia, copyright ‘is “the right to copy”, but also gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work, to determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may perform the work, who may financially benefit from it, and other related rights.’
A few years ago when I was dealing with a site that took harassing me to a new level, which included posting my photos without my permission, claimed that all was well and fair in the copyright world simply because they had attributed the photos to me. Nope, sorry, that is not the only condition that must be met. Especially not since I have this copyright notice at the end of every post and at the bottom of my main page: “All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me”. Notice how I’ve stated that all text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere? Yeah. That’s kinda the whole key.
eh. fine line.
There’s an article on Sexis about bloggers and copyright – not necessarily our own copyright but talking about how we steal things. Namely, photos. Some are more guilty than others of course but the fact is, copyright violation in terms of using a photo in your post is pretty rampant. Not just sex bloggers, but any blogger. So while attribution doesn’t equal permission when you’re talking about using someone’s entire post, attribution can equal permission when you’re dealing with photos. It will simply depend on what the copyright holder allows. But if you found the image on Google because hundreds of others have used it without attribution, what can be done? The best we can do is protect ourselves with watermark copyrights on our own photos, and when we use a photo that we know actually belongs to a fellow blogger, retail store or manufacturer…..attribute it. Ask for permission if it is a blogger.
Microblogging vs Blogging
Now, here’s the rub: With the over-saturation of social media sites where you “share” stuff with your followers, you “reblog” on Tumblr, you “retweet” on Twitter…you have a blurry line of kosher sharing when it comes to blogging. When you reblog and retweet on Tumblr and Twitter respectively, you are copying what someone said and providing attribution. The line is blurred even further with Twitter, where “copyright” doesn’t really seem to exist. I mean, how can you possibly lay copyright to a Tweet? On Tumblr it’s a little different I suppose, but many people treat Tumblr as blogging. So if I posted a photo on Tumblr and nowhere else, I still retain my copyright. That photo is my intellectual property and if you post it on your own Tumblr without an attribution link, then you’ve effectively stolen content.
The fine line lays in the type of sharing. Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, even Facebook are all considered forms of “microblogging“; places where the “reblog” is common practice and accepted. Standard Blogging is vast and varied; we’re accustomed to WordPress-based sites, Blogger, LiveJournal, etc but there are many other places as well. Somehow, the concept of “reblogging” seems to have bled over (incorrectly) to regular blogging with the prevalence of microblogging.
Product Reviewing and Ethics
In the past I went toe-to-toe with Lelo when I noticed that suddenly they went from quoting excerpts of reviews to pilfering entire (but slightly modified to remove retailers links and in some cases, had no links to the review itself) review posts. They’d never told anyone reviewing products (given to the reviewer by Lelo) that this would be done; they never asked for permission; and in fact they did this on reviews where the product came from retailers! After raising a fuss like I am wont to do, they apologized and removed it all and now only have excerpts (with links).
I’ve noticed that niche sex toy maker Duncan Charles has been lifting entire reviews2, as well, and what’s worse is that they have ignored emails. Back when I posted about Lelo, Shanna Katz commented that it had happened to her a lot over the years as well. I was offered the chance to do reviews for Nexus and at the time I viewed their site, I noticed that they had full text of reviews with no hyperlink. They had a text-only site address, though. But I wasn’t cool with having my entire review posted so I turned them down.
Ethical Blogging Practices
~Reblogging is NOT copying someone else’s entire blog post without their permission, throwing up an attribution link and calling it well and good. I see this as copyright violation and content theft. Also, just Bad Blogging Manners. You can quote something from my post, with an attribution and link, and that is a horse of a different color. You can share a photo I’ve posted here via Tumblr, with an attribution and link, and that’s just fine.
~Posting someone’s photo without an attribution is content theft and copyright violation. I don’t care if the click-through link goes to their blog, the attribution line (and link) is absolutely necessary.
~Creative Commons licenses on someone’s blog does not mean you get to skirt copyright basics or do away with attribution. Creative Commons exists to allow someone the flexibility of letting people know that sharing and even revamping is fine (with attribution) but it doesn’t dissolve copyright.
~And please…don’t EVER think you’re doing someone a favor by putting their content on your site. It’s insulting, it’s copyright violation, and it will earn you a very bad reputation.
- I’ve oddly run across scrapers who are more like news feed, where they take an excerpt – presumably for search engine content?- but not the whole post. This is usually done after they’ve been caught for full post content scraping. ↩
- Of course since all the reviews lifted seem to obviously be reviews originally published on EdenFantasys, the only people that DC has to listen to is EF ↩
I swear it’s almost like creating that douche-proof contact form was like a request to the blogging angels for comedic gold.
If by comedic I mean bashing-my-head-off-the-wall I’m-surrounded-by-idiots haha funny.
Bloggers, a heads-up here, please…don’t be taken in by this guy. Greer is a part of a group of “entrepreneurs” who have this awesome idea of a “sexual lifestyle brand for women that takes the guess work out of choosing sex toys and related products while providing a narrative fantasy and user content- all in a monthly format”. I’ve read that line over a bunch of times and I still don’t get what they truly mean. It gets better though.
“I came across all of your companies and site through my research and was wondering if you ever consult with new companies? We are a young group of entrepreneurs who do not have previous contacts in the sex toy or erotic writing industry and could really use professional guidance. We want to appeal to woman in a huge capacity and contribute to female sexual autonomy.”
I just had to be SURE before I continued on, so I asked “Ok let me make sure I understand things. You want to create something that will help women choose sex toys, yet you have no experience yourselves in this subject and are looking for free consulting?”
“We are not looking for free consulting. We are looking for people to network with who are experts in the industry and could point us in a constructive direction. Someone who has a lot of contacts within the industry. These people could be future contributors once our company has more funding and we are able to compensate them. It would become a mutually beneficial business relationship. We know how to build brands and have a great idea, we just need to start meeting individuals who know the industry better than we do.”
I mean, that’s the very definition of CONSULTING. He even said the word consulting in his first email. Oh and he tried to be sneaky and chose the “I’m a reader of your blog and I just want to say hello!” option on the regular contact form. tsk tsk, Greer, you didn’t really read much here, did ya? You know I love helping people. Genuine people who need help choosing a sex toy and have specific questions that couldn’t be answered on any retail site or book. That’s the beauty of blogger reviews. We’re real people with email addresses and we love to answer questions. But to try and take advantage of that good will and use it to make money while giving me the “well maybe someday when we’ve turned enough profit that all our bills are paid and we’re paid you could possibly become a paid contributor” schlemiel. The other day in my site tracker I noticed that I was getting a lot of hits to my Jelly Sex Toys are Dangerous post from a UK Mommy forum. Whenever I get hits from forums I go check out the conversation and sometimes I register so that I can clarify things, which is what I did. This poor gal is pregnant and as many pregnant women are, utterly hyperaware of keeping her fetus safe and healthy. When she read my post about the jelly toys she freaked and wasn’t sure how she could possibly broach such a shameful topic to her doctor and ask if she was poisoning the fetus. Sadly she’s so freaked out and hormonal (I get it, I do, I’m not mocking her or invalidating her) that she’s sworn off ALL sex toys despite what I said. But I did my best to confirm that they can be very bad or they can be ok, but you never know and how porous they are, etc etc etc. Told her to switch to silicone or use a condom. I’m more than happy to answer these questions. But try to take advantage of that for your own profit and I’m suddenly not so sweet. My reply to him basically said all of the above but a bit more concisely and bluntly. He agreed that oh yes, I’m very smart which is why they asked for my help and weren’t trying to insult me. Riiiight. Please repeat your 2-year college course on business, you didn’t absorb anything. I would be thrilled to consult on a project that doesn’t read as insulting or sexist and I know my worth.
Please, know your worth. Ok?
Recently another head-bashing moment occurred completely unrelated to my contact form because I contacted them. The very first company that sent me toys to review, VibeReview, has had quite the stale site. Their “new toys” section stills lists the Natural Contours Petite which has been out for YEARS. Combine all this with the fact that I had a reader try to purchase from them a few months back with nothing but troubles and I’m wondering if they’re even still in business. A lot of things are not in stock. Color me surprised when I get a response:
“Yes we are still in business – and yes, as you’ve correctly pointed out, we have been a bit slow in adding many of the newer items. Most of the stuff that’s come out in the last couple of years is just a repackaging of stuff we already sell, but if there are some items you would like to see on the site, let me know and we can add them.”
It took me a minute to pick my jaw up off the floor. For SERIOUS? I mean, I still read that second sentence and am rendered speechless. I….I….
I tried to answer. I tried to list off all the things that are new, innovative and that tons of people are searching for on Google.
I said: “I would highly disagree that most items put out in the last year is a repackaging of stuff you already sell. While I don’t think much of their latest line, there’s a number of Lelo toys that would warrant a listing; many Tantus items; Fun Factory, Je Joue, We Vibe….I could go on and on…so much as happened in the last few years. Many of the items I recommend to others aren’t on your site. None of the Mystic Wands, nothing by Tenga, none of the new and improved Nexus items, no wooden dildos….it pretty much looks like nearly everything on the site is the same stuff that was there when I stopped reviewing for your company (which was largely because anything that was worth trying out that looked decent, VR didn’t carry) in 2009. Unfortunately, your answer is a huge let-down to me and I’m sure it would be to many of the innovative manufacturers that have put out things in the last 3 years. If you truly believe what you’ve said, then I don’t think I can support VibeReview to be honest.”
And you know what? They had no response. Which just drove my point home even further.Read More