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 ↩
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
“She was asking for it, dressed like that”
It’s a common “rape apologist” statement. The women who are raped are blamed because they dared to present themselves as a sexual being. I think that sex bloggers get a little bit of this mentality from male readers. I present my sexual thoughts or even sexual photos. Once upon a time on this blog I even asked for HNT suggestions for new sexy photos. I don’t do that anymore for various reasons. In fact I’m not all that provocative or sexual, period, on this blog. That is a topic though for another post.
My irritation1 lies with the readers who “in fun” take what I give and then demand more. In the vein of “it never hurts to ask” they claim they’re being flirtatious or really just paying me a compliment. If I wanted suggestions, I would ask for them. If I wanted to post more (quantity) photos here, then I would. If I wanted to post more revealing photos here, then I would. But the key here is that it’s whatever I want to do. If you don’t like it, if you don’t find it to be “enough”….then please, seek out what you want elsewhere. There are no shortage (thank god) of sexy sex bloggers who are more revealing, more flirtatious, more interactive than I. I’ve been at this 4 years now and perhaps this is a sign to wrap things up but nonetheless I’ll thank you to keep your assumptive asshattery to yourself.
What prompted this mini rant, you ask? Not just yet another guy2 who thinks it’s ok to ask for more (even when it should be plainly obvious that I have never / not for 3 years posted anything like it) but the utter cheek of a fellow blogger, a fellow female sex blogger (I presume, given her response, I haven’t a clue what her site is) who then takes my response to the guy and makes assumptions about HER. I don’t even know this chick. I didn’t make a derogatory comment about others who might post such photos, I didn’t say “ew gross no”. I said nothing but “I don’t do that”.
My response would have been similar if someone had commented and asked “Hey that’s great, but you really should review breakfast cereal more!” to which I’d say “Um, have you read my blog, does it look like I review breakfast cereal??” Would I be slamming those who review breakfast cereal? Fuck no. Nor am I slamming the women who do post porn with their reviews.
I might have happily acquiesced if he’d caught me circa late 2008 and had bothered to correspond with me and develop a rapport. Might have. But other than a few other irritatingly “cute” comments on Facebook, I don’t know this guy. He’s the equivalent to a stranger spying me wearing a low-cut top and asking, with an arrogant grin, for me to just show off the rest of my tits why don’t I. Ms. Buttinsky there is the equivalent to a stranger in proximity saying “hey, I’m a stripper, I take offense to your offense at baring your tits, what’s wrong with that, I do it all the time you bitch!”. Anyways, I’m getting off track here.
The bottom line is that now I not only have to deal with the “ugh, not this shit again” of unwanted and disrespectful demands for more of me, but I can’t even tell someone off on my own goddamned space of the internet without someone not at all involved thinking she has any damn right to assume and be offended at a perceived slight.
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
When your first line of communication is text-based, you really should try to make a good first impression. I don’t mean that you need to hire Cyrano to ghost-write your profile, or be insincere or embellish anything. Be yourself. However, be yourself with decent spelling, grammar and punctuation. We’re not grading here (unless you message a teacher) but it speaks louder than your words: It says “I don’t care”. For reference, Case File #267:
His first message:
Hey how are you
I am Shane I would like to talk and get to know you
I saw you and I have a bit in common and seem to be looking 1
for the same things let me know ifi ts possible
#1. I do not know what the hell this means: “you are defiantly raland honest then i look foward to getting to know you” 2
#2. You live more than an hour from me. Which means you didn’t read my profile. 3
#3. You would not consider having an open relationship – since I am married, that would make things impossible 4
#4. You seem to be a conservative Christian. We have very opposing views that I find important. 5
Are you just sending this same message out to everyone, hoping someone will take the bait? Seems like it.6
omg seriously no i am not sending same message
you way over analyze things and read to much into things that are not there
and i was simply trying to talk and get to know you
its your personality alone right there in this email that i a huge turn off
and that will keep u from getting a decent man if you do they will be nothing more then a door mat cause i am not one to sit by and talk to anyone who insults me when all i did was try and be nice and talk to them learn how to approach people you are shallow and close minded and personally it makes you insignificant take care dont bother replying im blocking you7
Other gems from his profile include:
“Looking for the right person to get to know see where it can lead and have turn to some thing long term and amazing. Hey wait lol a guy who is not afraid of commitment lol.”
“im not a bar or club person
not my style like going out butttttttt
would rather be with someone i am with at home”
“I DO NOT DO FWB FLINGS OR RANDOM HOOK UPS
SO IF THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE INTO PLEASE DO NOT MESSAGE ME “
I didn’t change a thing on those.
This says so many things to me. First, he’s 34. He’s way past the “text speak” generation (which is never any excuse, anyways). Unless the whole entire profile was written from his smartphone OkCupid App, then the lack of punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure and odd line spacing just scream “Lazy”. I really don’t know what else to think. Theory is, you’re trying to woo people, impress them, show your best side. If this is his best side then I’d hate to see the rest.
Make your first message count. Make it personal, but on the flip side don’t write 4 long paragraphs. If you have things in common, point them out. Ask a question other than “Hey what’s up / how are you / does this thing work for you”. *yawn* I actually say right off the bat in my profile to please not just message me with “Hey what’s up” or “Hi” or “Nice pics” because it’s lazy and I won’t respond. It’s the first sentence. So when I get message like that, and yeah of course I do, they immediately get trashed because it’s clear they didn’t read my profile. And if you’re on a site like OkCupid – why in the fuck wouldn’t you read someone’s profile before messaging them??
- Our match percentages: 62% match, 46% friend, 33% enemy. While I don’t rely on the OkCupid algorithm entirely, I’ve found that it’s often quite a good indicator since it’s based on our answers to questions. What part of this sounds like we have anything in common? I also state that I’m not looking for sex, or dating, just FRIENDS ↩
- It’s in his “You should message me if..” section ↩
- Stating a fact here! He lives 49 miles from me which is actually 1.5 hours driving time, and I state this twice in my profile that someone should be less than an hour from me ↩
- This was one of the Questions answered. Ironically, his status is listed “Available” which in order to get that status, you have to tell OkC that you’re either married or in a relationship but yet still check off the “dating” options in what you’re looking for ↩
- I couldn’t find anything at ALL that we had in common. Nothing. HE’s religious, Christian, is opposed to abortion no matter what, not even a little kinky, BUT YET answered that if he was seeing someone it would take 1-2 dates before he’d fuck them, whereas I put 3-5 ↩
- Well it DOES! It’s not personalized at all, he references nothing specific that we have in common and he ignored three really big things on my profile ↩
- I don’t know what happens when you block someone….are they told that they’ve been blocked when they try to message you? If that’s true, then he didn’t block me. Either way, I sent him back a message finally that actually was insulting and called him out on the grammar and idiocy. Then I blocked him! ↩
All text and images on this site require permission before they can be used anywhere. To obtain permission click here to contact me
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
Today I happened upon a sex toy reviewing blog whose mission statement proudly proclaimed that they don’t publish negative reviews. If they receive a product that has no redeeming qualities, they simply won’t write a review.
I died a little when I read that. And then I got angry. They boast this, like it makes them better people, better reviewers. To companies and products, sure. To consumers? absolutely not. I think I touched on this a bit about a year ago when I wrote about ethics in blogging, but this is a full-scale 4-alarm rant.
When I first started buying sex toys I was buying them from a couple of sites who I don’t think let a negative customer review go live. It was nothing but moderate-to-glowing. And then when I’d buy the toy with high expectations, only to be grandly disappointed, I’d be pissed. I’ve come across this phenomenon more and more. When I had 3 really bad experiences in a row with Shari’s Berries I finally went to the site and wrote out long, informative (complete with photos) comments on the items. Those comments never got published. Instead, the only comments and ratings are all glowingly positive. Bullshit.
I’ve seen arguments for the anti-negative-review people along the lines of “just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it can’t work for someone else” and I will agree to that. But when you sugar coat things in a way that would make a cupcake jealous you’re only helping out the company. You are not helping the people for whom you presumably write the reviews: the clueless mobs who are absolutely overwhelmed with all the choices1. I was one of those people. Many of us were. So please, place yourself in the shoes of the old, sex-toy-noob you and think “How would I feel if I had spent $125 of my own money on this toy after reading this wishy washy review only to find that there are faults galore?” Your opinion is valid. Your opinion matters. I want to hear your opinion in all of its bluntly honest glory before I drop the money on, well, anything really. Your review that details out just the facts, because you couldn’t like it enough to praise it, isn’t telling me anything.
There are degrees of negativity in reviews of any kind. I’ve read them all myself, not just in sex toys but in computer parts and accessories, clothing, you name it. You can always tell when someone is just pissed off at a defective item (or they didn’t read before buying) vs it’s an actual problem that should concern you before you buy. My utterly scathing reviews of items such as the Lelo Tiani or the JimmyJane Form 3 are not scathing because they didn’t work with my body. They are scathing because I’m pissed. You want me to pay WHAT for a toy that doesn’t even do what you claim it will, or do it WELL? Just like I won’t let you buy a damn jelly toy, I won’t encourage you to spend the equivalent to a week’s worth of groceries on a sex toy that feels like another brick in the wall. The Lelo Isla – is it pretty? Sure. It’s pretty. Does my vagina care about pretty? Does pretty give me an orgasm? Nope. Nor should “pretty” also equal “to get the bitch clean you’ll need 20 minutes of your life, a toothbrush, and the edge of an old credit card”. I think that I do a pretty good job of noting that my extreme dislike of the vibrations or the size or the design didn’t work for me personally and that they could work for someone else. And I feel that I can still note that and give a negative review. Because if I were the one looking at reviews to figure out what 1 sex toy out of 100 I should drop $100 on, I want the truth. Does your truth equal my truth? Not always. Not frequently, even. But if I can see that you as a reviewer have the full spectrum of reviews from “ZOMG LOVE” to “DIE IN A FIRE” with plenty in between then I trust you. And I’ll work my way through your writing and reviews to figure out if we like the same thing and whether or not I would agree with your assessment of “Wow, this baby is STRONG!”.
So let’s say that you are someone who doesn’t like to write really critical, negative reviews. Why? Who are you helping?
Are you afraid that the company you review for will get upset and not give you anything else to review? If so, fuck them. They’re unethical.
Are you not brave enough to be a dissenting voice? Stand up. Be heard.
Do you think that you won’t make any affiliate sales? Then you care more about the money than anything else and that’s sad. Here’s how to commission-perk a negative, shredding review: Suggest two or three other alternatives that you think are better.
The truth, even if it’s the awful truth, isn’t mean. Oh, sure, you can be. But for the love of orgasms, tell me the fuckin truth! Is it wimpy and mediocre and nothing special and not really worth $139? Tell me. I will have $139 worth of greater respect for you.When you hide your negative review from seeing the light of day you are doing yourself a disservice but mostly you are doing every other potential buyer a disservice. Shame on you. You KNEW it was a piece of shit and you didn’t tell me?? I’d like my money back, please, from your pocket. Yes, that’s how much it pisses me off.
Hi, I’m Lilly, and I write nothing but no-holds-barred honest sex toy reviews. I call a spade a spade, and name it out for being crap no matter if it’s $39 crap or $139 crap. Crap is crap and you shouldn’t have to buy it. You, the person who is searching Google for reviews and information on sex toys in general, on dildos for beginners, on Fleshlight vs Tenga, on the We Vibe 2 vs the We Vibe 3….. YOU ARE THE PERSON I REVIEW FOR. Nobody else.
okay maybe my clitoris a little bit.
- not at all dissimilar to the experience you get when you’re sick and you’re standing in the cold remedy aisle looking at 60 products that are all somehow nearly identical but totally different and you just want to sit down and cry. No? Just me? ↩