May 222012

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.

May 132012

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, 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.



  1. 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.
  2. 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
Feb 062012

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.

Jan 142012

Oh how I’m feeling the snark after this last week. Remember my spiffy, new contact form? And how I get them to check a box, agreeing that they’ve read all of the above? Guess what that means? When I get a sneaky idiot I have every right to share their idiocy!

This busy man chose the “I have a question on sex toys” option. Oh, sneaky sneaky man, did you think you could get away with that?

Hello! My name is Gavriel I am a 25 year old Orthodox Jew. My wife is a big fan of your site. Me and my wife own a website kosher*sex* (I bet you didn’t see that coming LOL) It is a shop that markets sex toys to religious people who may be uncomfortable going onto regular sex toy sites. We have gotten a very positive response and have been featured in the New York Post and other news outlets. I would be honored to know what your opinion is on my site and if you have any ideas on how I could improve it. Also if you would be interested I believe it could make an interesting, unique and funny subject to talk about on your blog.

I mean, where to begin? I chastised him for trying to get his “will you give me free advertising” shit in the sneaky back door. I then kinda ripped on Orthodox Jews and how they seem to be pretty sex-negative and body-shaming. And then when I look at his site and realize that the Orthodox Jews don’t want to see any nudity or profanity….I realize…wow. What a line! He’s using the “my wife is a big fan of your site” tactic when she can’t even technically VISIT my site because I show skin and talk about bad things! He never responded. I was comforted though to see that Jezebel, who will write about anyfuckingthing, wrote about their site and religious sex toy sites in general. But they forgot to mention the Baby Jesus Buttplug!

This next one REALLY ticked me off. “I’m a reader of your blog and just wanted to say hello” is the option she chose. Bolded bits are my doing.

General Sexual Health Quiz – Sexual Health Inventory Hi, Your blog is just awesome. I would like to share something with you on the same topic. The following is a simple questionnaire to help you assess your general sexual health. Your interest in sex, ability to become aroused and incidence of pain during sex are indicators of sexual function/dysfunction and can help you reflect on the quality of your sex life. www.centerforfemalesexuality .com/sexual-health-inventory.html Obviously problems cannot be diagnosed by one questionnaire, but it might help you think about your sexual situation in a thoughtful way, and flag problems if you are having them. This tool can be of great help to your readers. Share the joy. Pattie

I’m dysfunctional because of my interest in sex and ability to become aroused?? And where have I said I experience pain during sex, other than the kind I fucking ask for? Fuck you, Pattie, share the hellfire flames. My sole response to her was “Shame on you! You shall be publicly mocked!” *shrugs* I wasn’t kiddin, Pattie.

A few weeks ago someone from BDPR contacted me about Screaming O’s new “Studio Collection” of vibrators and other products supposedly cleverly concealed as makeup. Um, no, there’s no clever concealment here folks. This guy’s first PR email to me seemed related somewhat to my recent Tips for Traveling with Sex Toys post, referencing women having sex toys “yanked” from their suitcases in public in the airport security line. I expressed a vague interest and had more questions, but he never responded to me. When I looked up the line more myself I found that it warranted a spot on the Best & Worst Sex Toys of 2011 – in the “worst” side. A few weeks later, Aaron hits me up again. And again. 7 times that day the same email:

Hi 88314:

Women sometimes love their battery-operated-boyfriends more than their real ones (at least for brief period of time).

Based on the fact that 70% of US women have never experienced an orgasm, two male entrepreneurs have begun a mission with the establishment of the Screaming O, a line of fun, mainstream and approachable products of which women cannot get enough.

For your Valentine’s Day gift guide, you might consider The Studio Collection, B.O.B’s cleverly disguised as a lipstick, mascara, blush brush. Not even an airport security guard, or snoopy kid will know the difference.

Sample? Interview with the creators of the product?

No, I’m not kidding about any of this. Epiphora was #88316. There’s so many things about this email that made me angry, so I forwarded it to Screaming O. I told them to “reign in their PR company” and suggested that they have a heavier hand in what a PR firm does for them because this content makes me dislike the company even more. You know I’m serious when I actually go through the trouble TWICE of verifying my email to Screaming O execs by responding to an automated spam-filter email to say that no, ironically, I’m not spam. Unlike your PR company. Who then emailed me again two days ago. Twice. Seriously?

And the last entry for this week’s Saturday Snark is about the very WTF “magazine” called XBIZ that gives vague and crappy AP-wire-esque posts about happenings in the adult industry world. The lovely Tantus Jenn linked XBIZ’s “Best Sex Toys of 2011” to see what her reviewer army thought of it. Some short thoughts:

  • They link to 2 Don Wands glass items. One of which is definitely not new for 2011, it’s been around (and it’s a copy of something else).
  • They rave about the above-mentioned Studio Collection. And Lelo’s Sensemotion Insignia line. Um hey Ariana, have you even seen these items in person??
  • In fact, let’s continue on with the hits parade where their “Best” is on my “Worst“. Club Vibe 2.Oh. Really?
  • They named a couple valid “new this year” items that are good, but just as many items that aren’t new and most items leave me shaking my head. They seem to have an odd love for all things Pipedream, listing the ridiculous 20-pound masturbator and various other dumb items.
  • Capping off the WTF-Parade they use the term “tranny” not once, but twice. And “shemale”. Oh yeah, I’m realllll sure that the “love doll” by CalEx is an “exact replica”.
 Posted by at 3:20 am
Dec 052011


Many bloggers will start out on the free Blogger/Blogspot services (it seems to be the AOL of blogging platforms, more people start out there than WordPress) and somewhere down the line decide that it’s time they have their own domain. And then they make a huge mistake.

They delete all their posts.

I presume they do this because they’ve read that Google penalizes for duplicate content. Perhaps they do it because they don’t want people coming to the old blog anymore. But if you have ever submitted to Sugasm, Pleasurists, e[lust], or simply had any post from your old blog linked from anywhere….deleting the posts will cause you to lose traffic. As I run the broken link checker plugin on both of my sites, I’m seeing this happen more and more. Did you know that you can tell the search engines not to crawl/index your site, that you can set this in the dashboard at Blogger and say that you don’t want to appear in search engines? That’s all it takes, and then your content won’t be seen as duplicate. When I left my old Blogspot blog a few years ago I looked high and low for things to do to help transfer people over to the new site. I had found some code that would automatically redirect (unfortunately since the New Blogger change over happened, that code doesn’t work – if I could find something again that worked I’d set it up); I changed my header, my sidebars and my front page post all to say that I’ve moved and here’s the link. So at least if someone would come to a post linked from Sugasm or Fleshbot, they won’t find a dead page and they might click on through to this site. If I really felt like doing a whole lot of work I’d go back to every post that has been linked to from Sugasm and Fleshbot, on the old blog, leave up only an excerpt of the post and put in a big link to the post on the current site. Since I was only at Blogger for like 3 months that wouldn’t be so bad for me.


PR Companies

It’s a dirty business, I know. But didn’t anybody ever teach these guys that sending me a press release or a non-personalized email isn’t going to catch my attention and make me give a shit? And when you send things to the e[lust] account and expect me to publish ANYTHING there, I know goddamn well you didn’t even look at the site. I put up a Contact page and removed the direct links to my email/Twitter/Facebook etc so that hopefully one out of ten assholes trying to reach the “site administrator for a link exchange”1 might read why I don’t want what they’ve got and maybe they won’t email me. Yeah…right. The latest in the circus (and no, I didn’t change a thing, just bolded the wtf bits):

Hi – 
I know you’ve written about (relationships, sex, blah blah) so I thought you might be interested in Bedsider. I’m helping Bedsider,, a new public service campaign from The Ad Council, connect with bloggers and social media influencers like you. I’m hoping you’ll be able to blog/post/tweet about this women’s health initiative.   
Bedsider is all about preventing unplanned pregnancies and helping women find a method of birth control that’s right for them and stick with it. The U.S. has one of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy in the entire developed world. Nearly one in ten unmarried young women (ages 20-29) has an unplanned pregnancy each year. This means fewer opportunities to complete their education or achieve other life goals, and increased health and social risks for mother and child.
At women can explore, compare and contrast all available methods of contraception, set up birth control reminders and view videos debunking myths about birth control..Here’s the press release: embeddable widget shows where to get free birth control: funny, new videos
Please let me know if you need any more information, hi-res images, video or if you’d like to conduct an interview.  And let me know if you do post about it so the Ad Council can thank you from their social media channels2.

1. Wow. “blah blah”?
2. She fucked up the links and half don’t even work
3. I left off the singlelineoftextthatcontainshernamenumberandPRsiteaddress because it all ran together like that and I don’t want them to get traffic, but the company (if you can call them a company) is helpsgood. Yeah, even the name is bad grammar.

I actually forwarded this monstrosity to Bedsider, saying that if this is the best that their hired PR can do they might want to rethink using them3. I’ve left in the one working link to Bedsider because despite the atrocity that was the PR4, the campaign is actually decent – I would have liked this site about 4 months ago when I was reconsidering my birth control (all because I was terrified of a repeat performance with Mirena IUD, the first insertion was awful and the next 3 weeks were awful. The second was painful during, but fine afterwards). They tell you how to get free birth control, they give you the highlights (or lowpoints) on each method of birth control, where to get emergency contraception, and other good stuff. Of course, some of their “articles” could use some heavy work, like this one on side effects. Brushing off a woman’s consideration of the possible side effects of birth control – hell any person considering any medication is going to have some concern over possible side effects – is just plain bad.

Know Your Audience – Also, try not to offend or piss off your audience

I think a lot of bloggers can agree that lately the level of ridiculous bullshit arriving in our inboxes is at an all-time high.

I don’t accept every advertising request (just like they don’t all accept my pricing) because sometimes the site or item is just so….bad. Like the guy who wanted us to talk about his blowjob book. But first he wanted me to be an affiliate and get a percentage of sales. It was so many levels of vomit-inducing horribleness. I’m not sure he ever truly wanted to pay for advertising, he was just one of those who wanted people to “review” his shit. I’m also not going to accept a banner ad for a penis enlargement site that says this: “Most women want an endowed partner with a big and thick penis, capable of satisfying their most secret desires”. Wow. Way to go. MOST women?

Do I look stupid? Naive? Do I sound like I’m gonna take bullshit? News flash, I’m none of those. I’m also too smart to agree to crap like this:

Howdy there,

Hope keeping well. I’m just getting in touch to ask if you’re open to reviewing content from freelance writers at This Could Be Dangerous – if so, I’d love to put together a high-quality article written specifically for the site. I’m 29 and have been working as a professional writer and researcher for five years now, and in that time there isn’t a lot I haven’t already covered (I’ve attached a few samples below for you to check out).

As long as you’re happy with the resulting material, you’d be welcome to publish it as you see fit and the content will be owned by you entirely (in that I won’t send it to anyone else, either before or after publication).

There is absolutely no charge for this and no strings attached; the only thing I would ask in return is that I’m able to include a link to a site of my choosing within the article – nothing shady or unethical, just one of the professional businesses I freelance for.

Do let me know if you’re interested, and if so I can get something written for you over the course of the next few days. Needless to say, the offer is open to any other sites you might own as well as I appreciate you may not be interested in this kind of mutual back-scratching however, so if I don’t hear from you, no offence taken and I won’t trouble you again.

Oh, it’s goldmine. “Free Professional Writing” and oh goodie, it’ll be owned by me!! “Mutual back-scratching” …..really? Really?? To make matters even more ridiculous, I get emails like this on the e[lust] account, too. Yes because that site is just brimming with “articles”. I’m actually not sure what I find more aggravating about emails like this….that they’re trying to go for the whole “FREE” angle as if I’d actually pay someone to write a post here or that they’re conning me into a free advertising/SEO link and not even willing to pay for it. I get requests/offers for paid articles, too, as in they want to pay me to publish it on my site.

Here’s the thing: Any post by these people will have a link. Or two. More if you accept payment. This is free, permanent advertising. Those links there in my sidebar, under Site Sponsors? Those people pay for those links, and I don’t take contracts longer than a year. You all know how I feel about douchebags like Dave who try to spin the permanent link for a price that would offend anybody. A post is up, presumably, forever. Now would the people who paid you to put up the post check in a year to see if it’s still up? No clue. Will your readers lose respect for you? Most likely. Those sidebar links rarely get clicked on. I know this. They know this. We both also know that a link in a post is pretty damn likely to be clicked by half of the people. So to offer me the equivalent of one month of text link advertising in the side bar for a post containing links is offensive to me.

Another thing I won’t do anymore is review a website. If I talk about a site and if I link to it then I genuinely like it – and I’m going to do so all of my own volition. But to ask me to review your (pay) site in exchange for a few weeks of free membership is… No. I also won’t do a site review post for money, either. As I said above…it’s permanent advertising. This review post that they will offer you a small one-time payment for will likely contain a couple links of their choosing using anchor text of their choosing. And since it is a post and not in the sidebar more readers will be clicking the links. So it’s SEO AND TRAFFIC. And they act like the blogger is being properly compensated. There’s no way that any company will ever pay me a fair rate for a site review post – I mean, just do the math: Let’s assume there’s 2 links in the post. If someone wanted 2 text links in the sidebar for a year the price (very discounted, due to the year and the second link) would be in the neighborhood of $400 and some change. There is no way that any site owner would agree to pay that much for a review. I mean I could be wrong, I’ve never actually quoted anybody who’s asked (maybe I will in the future, just to see). My point is that even if I charged them this discounted advertising rate they’re still making out because presumably the post would remain on my site until my site is gone which will not be happening anytime in the next year. Are their links going to remain on the front page? No. But for rank and SEO purposes, that doesn’t matter. I would also assume that a condition of them paying me to do a site review post is that I not hate their site and write bad things about it – in which case the review would be false. And I don’t do that.

The latest site owner guy to irk sent me three emails, all the same. Twice to the blog email, once to elust. The first two times I responded with my advertising rates and information. No response5. So the third time I responded with “500”. That’s it. Just “500”. It was a test. And to THAT he responded. !! All confused and “I’m not sure what you meant there” and shit. So I replied days later and explained. He then apologizes, says that “they” were sending emails out to “several lists online” of sex related blogs so a few people were receiving multiple emails. A: You’re lazy and B: what lists??? He also said he’d follow up with me at the other email address when he returned from traveling and big surprise, never did.

I know that a lot of bloggers have been getting thoroughly annoyed by the repeated emails from purePassionate (hint: pitching free design services to bloggers who designed their own site, pitching free blog hosting and free setup of a WordPress blog on their servers to bloggers who already own their own domain….is fucking dumb) but I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I did an email search on the term “link exchange” (I was thinking about setting up a Gmail auto-responder to just people who have that in the Subject line, redirecting them to actually read the Contact page) and found that overall I’ve received emails from 5 different people at this company since summer. Exactly what makes companies think that sending an unresponsive person email after email is ever going to result in anything good?

Think before you get a blogger to do a contest for you

Really think about it – especially if you’re not a sex-related company and the blog in question IS a sex blog. A few months ago I won a giftcard to Shari’s Berries from KinkyWorld. They’d met at Blogher (which isn’t about sex blogging, just all kinds of blogging) and a contest and a product review was granted. So Shari’s was more than happy to take on the traffic from a sex site; they were happy to have their product talked about, linked to and etc from a sex site; they were happy to have sex-blogger-profiles on Facebook follow them. But they would NOT allow my sex blogger profile on Facebook to complain on their wall – they removed it because my photo was not “family friendly”. My profile is not public, my photo shows cleavage and an item that most wouldn’t know is a sex toy. Because I complained vocally about my very bad experience (Hint: do not ever order their Tiramisu cake, and trust me that those fancy dipped strawberries are simply not as good as they look – nor do they look anything like the promo photos) that was very bad TWICE, the company has refused to publish my onsite reviews of their products. I think people deserve to know when something is crap. It’s why I don’t hesitate to write a bad sex toy review. But apparently just hides the really negative reviews! Way to be trustworthy and transparent!

  1. Update: In the midst of writing this post, a full week or so after making the Contact page, what did I get? Yup. 2 link exchange emails. *headdesk*
  2. something tells me that even though I’ve technically written about the organization, they won’t be thanking me from any of their social media channels
  3. Someone did respond, properly horrified and apologetic about the spammy and crappy attempt
  4. Even though the PR chick tried to contact me yet again to see if I’d write about  Bedsider  and again STILL has not managed to detect or fix the broken links – she blames her mail client, I blame lack of common sense or ability to do one’s job
  5. If you’re going to ask me for a response and my rates, at least have the common courtesy to say “no thanks” or something
 Posted by at 11:08 pm
Oct 072011

As I sit here in yesterday’s clothes and a forehead wrinkle that would make most upper class women instinctively reach out to rub it smooth and tell me the wonders of Botox, darling, I’m really happy that I have a job where I can sit here at home and do a little work and then do a little of this or that and put in my time in snippets. It works around my doctor visits and my grocery shopping and my trips to see/help my mother1. Some days it leads me to sex toys and sex toy manufacturers that absolutely disgust me; some days it simply leads me to companies that merely annoy me because of their cheesy crap and half-ass site; other days I’m shown the better side and see that there is good in the sex toy world.

I will start out addressing the small companies, the niche companies who are ultimately good eggs with products ranging from pretty decent to admirable. I write this post not to just let off some steam but with the smallest glimmer of hope that maybe…….just maybe….some of these words will land on the right computer screen and be taken to heart. Maybe one change will happen.

Dear Small Company;

You are trying hard. You are fighting the good fight, perhaps. You are making your items out of body-safe materials and you are not trying to pass off a wolf in sheep’s clothing as an innocent lamb2. But your online presence is really fucking important. Your website is super fucking important. As a customer I want photos and I want details. Lots and lots of details. I want to know the every dimension and exactly how it works. I don’t want some artistic/”French”/mysterious website that is more about the visual than the information. I can see your item or your kit and yet I have no fucking idea what exactly it is? I’m not going to buy it. As a person working for a reseller I want high quality photos of every item and every color and even more details than I’d want as a customer. Why do you make our jobs hard, when all we want to do is sell your product? How can we underlings write up your great products so that Consumer Joe Schmoe who doesn’t know jelly from silicone can see that they’re better and that they should buy your item instead of some dodgy crap from the Walmart-equivalents3 of sex toy manufacturing?

Update your site. Make it easy to browse and easy to read. Sure, go for your artistic merit but don’t let it take over the main goal: Showcasing your worthy sex toy product and telling us why it’s worth twice the money for what looks like the same thing from the Big Guys. Don’t skimp on the information about you and the toy. At all.

Dear Middle-but-good Company;

You’ve managed to become a name. A brand that people trust. You use silicone and I trust you that it’s actually and honestly 100% medical grade silicone. Now I will fully admit to not knowing a damn thing about how your stuff is manufactured and why your dildos cost as much as my monthly cable-slash-phone bill4 so I don’t feel that I can whine about them being so pricey. But it is really hard to sell your product to those people who haven’t learned their lesson yet or just are too cheap to care – all they see is $55/$75 for a sex toy when hey there’s one over there for $19.95! Some of those people will eventually learn; maybe after their doctor explains that the burning redness is from that dildo, or maybe after a storage mishap and their dildo melts.

Dear Luxury Sex Toy Manufacturers;

Despite being a toy snob, I’m not really a fan of you on the whole. Sometimes I am, like with Njoy but then they kinda fall into the small-niche moreso than luxury. But Njoy at least lives up to their price tag. You luxury guys….eh. You’re all about the bells and whistles and the super pretty packaging. A vibrator that you can customize to your preferred shape or rotation is impressive on paper but when I actually go to use it and find that all your promises are as useless as a fake Hallmark card? I’m gonna be harsh and pissed that I spent (or theoretically spent if given it for review) upwards of $100 on your sex toy, thinking that for sure YOU got me and finally…something good.

To you I have two things to say: Let your products speak for themselves – and save the buyers money by cutting back on that fancy ass packaging and the brooch5 and the extras. Second, for fucks sake gimme a better vibrator motor! If the cheap shit companies can use a motor that produces vibrations that go beyond tickling the surface of my skin so can you. The women and men who are buying your toys are not delicate fucking flowers. Put a decent motor in there that produces a vibration to be proud of, dammit, and then the controls for multiple speeds will make everyone happy – from the delicate flowers to the tough cookies. I do not like or support Doc Johnson on the whole (as an example) but unfortunately they make a couple bullet vibrators that are perfect – motor-wise. Zini, Lelo, Je Joue, JimmyJane, Nomi Tang, and others who create different/fun/new/pretty/innovative sex toys: I’d be backing you if your motors weren’t as limp as a wet noodle 9 times out of 10.

Dear Big Boys who’ve been around since the internet was invented and then some;

I’mma go ahead and name names right here – I’ve said this all before, it will come as no shock and I am not shy in voicing my disgust. CalExotics. Pipedreams. You guys make a lot of shitty products, some downright offensive products, and some eh products. I don’t trust you, I don’t like you. But you’re a big company and you’re everywhere. You have the Walmart angle. All of a sudden your previously labeled “jelly” toy is now suddenly body-safe non-porous TPR? Nope. Don’t believe you. Especially when it still fucking stinks to high heaven. Your perpetuation of disgusting gender stereotypes and bad ideas that you sell with copy that would make your own mother blush and you justify it by saying that it’s flying off the shelves so it’s what guys want6 and by golly you gotta give the people what they WANT! Fuck that. Have some fucking integrity. Topco, Doc Johnson – you might have some (minor) redeeming qualities/products but overall you’re crap. You, too, are contributing to the unsafe materials and shoddy mechanics and the bottom line is that you don’t care. You are a politician.

I can’t say anything to the powers that be in your companies. You will never EVER change. All I can hope for is that somehow those of us who know better are able to drown out your voice with the voices of the people who care and who are trying to produce something with integrity rather than make a buck.

Dear Resellers/Retail Stores who are determined to carry every product made;

I get it. You’re in this to make money. You’re one of a million other sites and the competition is stiff. But really, do you have to lower your standards and put flowery copy writing on utter shit and sell the items that might actually cause cancer, or at the very least are a colossal waste of the consumers money? Adam & Eve was the first site I bought a sex toy from. But when those first two sex toys quickly showed their ugly underbelly I lost faith in them as a whole. And I never shopped there again. You can make money AND have integrity. It requires a little more hard work, though. The internet isn’t the land of the quick, easy buck anymore.

I’ve been reviewing sex toys for 3 years. I’ve reviewed more than some people, but far fewer than others (which is probably because after the first year I was reluctant to review something that I just knew I wouldn’t like and it’s hard to review item after item that leaves you jaded and I’m not easy to please – but I’m not impossible either. I just refuse to sugarcoat a half-ass product). I’ve seen a lot. I’ve grown to know that I don’t have to put a positive, happy spin on every review I do even if the product wasn’t my thing or is overpriced. Would it help pad my bank account, as an affiliate? Sure it would. But that isn’t the reason I started reviewing toys and I’m going to be blunt. If that means I am the only person on the web saying that the latest high-tech Lelo toy is a sopping wet disappointment? So fucking be it. I’m not trying to be mean, I’m trying to be real and save other people like me the money.

It’s heartbreaking to see the little companies die. Jollies LLC made some great sex toys and they were really innovative without trying too hard (Zini, Je Joue, etc). Their products were at once simple yet unique yet just what we needed at the quality we wanted. But they went the way of the little corner bookstore after a Barnes and Noble moved in two blocks down. And it’s sad.


Jaded but Hopeful (in a cheerful Comic Sans font)


(If you are a “recipient” of one of these letters, for once I will allow companies to comment on a post. I generally don’t because they’re usually just trying to get a free link but if you are genuine in your response then I’ll post it. But don’t be offended if I remove the link to your company’s site and please….use your real name in the comment name field, and not the name of your company)

  1. Despite of course the fact that I can’t/don’t feel comfortable telling her exactly what I am doing and who for because I really don’t want to have that conversation and she’s a very suspicious woman of all things internet
  2. I’m looking at you, CalExotics, publicly proclaiming that ALL of your TPR and PVC and “Cyberskin” and other squiffy hybrids are all free of phthalates and are totally body safe. For trying to say even that all your TPR is non-porous when I’d bet it isn’t because you’re too cheap and only in this to make money
  3. I would consider this to be large companies who produce thousands of various items at low cost, mark them up 300%, don’t care what materials they’re using, mass-produce with shoddy quality control and are around because they were they first and they simply have the most stuff at places like Rt 15 Adult Book Store. Companies like California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Topco, Pipedream, BMS Enterprises, and Nasstoys.
  4. and no, I don’t have Vonage
  5. Yeah I’m talkin to you, Lelo, with that Insignia line that looks really fancy but is actually just plastic and mediocre vibrations
  6. Yes, I’m talking to you, Pipedreams, with your “cum dumpster” copy on overpriced body parts