Jun 032013

Many sex toy review bloggers, especially right now, got their start at EdenFantasys, a place that handles on-site reviews very differently than any other site. I actually like that aspect (it’s one of the few things about the site that still have me point people to it to help them narrow down their search for a sex toy), because it’s not a few paragraphs from Joe Schmo in Boston, it’s an entire, in-depth review from a person with a profile and a means of contact. Just like in blogging, you can go find their other reviews and see if they rate everything positively, or if they’re picky.

So the reviewers that come from EF are accustomed to their entire review being published on the site, unless they were already a blogger doing off-site reviews. Many were not bloggers and had no place else for that review to get published. Being approached by a manufacturer or retailer to do some reviewing is always nice, but dig a little deeper into their practices before you jump in.

Over the years I’ve been approached by a number of companies, both retail and manufacturer, who I turned down the opportunity to review for. Why? Well, option for an affiliate program aside, it came down to the fact that they would publish the entire review on their site and many without an attribution link. OR they stripped the internal post links and then only added one small link at the end of the review. I couldn’t tell if these were lifted from the reviewer’s site, or re-printed with the reviewers permission.  Some even used the photos the blogger took themselves. If it’s an excerpt, with a link, that’s a horse of a different color. When I first agreed to review for Lelo directly back in 2008, that’s how they did it. At some point in 2010 I discovered that they had slyly changed their tactics, now copying the entire text of the review with no outgoing links. I called them out on it, as copyright violation, and they changed it back.

Some companies may tell you up front that they’ll publish your review on their site, in full. Many don’t. I have a policy on my contact page where I state up front that if you’re asking me to review a product, that you tell me the terms of the review up front before I agree, otherwise those terms will not be tolerated after. The companies that published the reviews on their site never informed me of that “review condition” up front, I had to go poking around their site and find it out for myself.

Why do I care? Shouldn’t I let them? After all, they did “pay” me for my time with a sex toy, right? Given what that sex toy cost them to buy from the manufacturer, it’s not sometimes enough payment for the work I go through in order to review a sex toy. It’s why I usually ask to join their affiliate program. And it’s certainly not enough payment for me to allow them to put my entire review on their site. Even if there is a link (it’s always put in at the end of the review), why would someone shopping on their site click off their site to mine, when the entire review is already posted there? They won’t.

Another reason is that I take copyright seriously. And there are a LOT of scraper sites out there. Oftentimes these companies will re-publish the review to their “blog” section….which is ripe for scraping. So if I find a scraper site with my stolen review, but they scraped it from the sex toy site? I can’t do anything about it. I’ve had this happen once, and I tried to contact the host for a DMCA take down. Because the version of my review on the sex toy retailer’s site was slightly different from mine (if I talked about a competitor’s toy, they would strip that out, or some links were changed/gone), it was clear that the scraper stole from  the retailer’s site and the host said that the retailer had to contact them. They wouldn’t (they ignored my email).  It’s also a copyright issue for me because of my copyright license statement, which I have the right to enforce. The retailers or manufacturer don’t always get my permission before copying my review and putting it up on their site all while stripping out the links I had in there to other posts on my site.

Has this happened to you? Did you mind? If you found out that a company did this, would it change your mind about snagging that “free” sex toy from them?

  5 Responses to “Why I’m Not OK With Companies Publishing My Review”

  1. Thanks for sharing this pertinent information with us, I’m sure it’ll be very useful in the future for me!

  2. Many years ago I stop posting pictures. I found out that my images were being used on Ebay. Using my image for there profits really P me off.

  3. I wouldn’t want my review posted with no links back to my blog. And like you said, if the whole review is right there then there’s no reason for someone to click a link to go to your blog.

    I started at EF but didn’t stay long. Did three reviews on their site on things I already owned. They have a”policy” that you can’t have the same review word for word on your own blog so, I guess they own those reviews. I also don’t like the “editing” that goes on there. I understand that it’s necessary in some cases but when the editors insert mistakes that I didn’t even make..it bugs me. So, I started my own blog. Did one assignment for EF that I posted on my blog. I don’t like the way they link back to the blog from their site. It’s like they hide the link for some reason. Not sure why.
    Yet, EF has all these demands of how you link to them but they won’t show the same courtesy.

    I guess if you want to retain full control the only way to do that is to have your reviews posted in full, only on your own blog. Manufacturers and retailers can post an excerpt or have you write brief summary but the review itself should live only on your blog. In a perfect world, this is how I’d like to do it.

    ~ This opinion doesn’t make me popular and it doesn’t fall in line with some, but I’m not a sheep either. My opinion on EF and linking is that 1. They never promised me any kind of link. 2. No other company promises that. One of the ways to build up your search engine ranking is to have a lot of *incoming* links….you are almost essentially cancelling the link out when you link back to the place that linked to you, if that wording makes sense. Any company that is going to provide you with a toy to review is going to require certain links back to them as “payment in kind” of sorts – if you just wrote a review with no links to them, what good would that do them? I’ve reviewed for SheVibe, GoodVibes, Babeland, Tantus and others. None of them promised me a link back on each review, nor do they provide one. They don’t owe me a link. EF will allow you to put links back to your blog in your on-site review (and of course the off-site review) so you’re getting traffic….just not “Google juice”. It’s not being sneaky, it’s an SEO practice to cloak links. I’ve seen plenty of other sites do it.

    As for the EF policy that you can’t have the identical review on EF as is on your blog, that’s again going to be common practice. Google will not like it. They view the first known place of publish as the owner and discount all others.
    But your comment on the editors putting in mistakes?? That’s due to a bad editor, and needs to be reported. Editors are people like me who volunteer to do it for payment in points, it’s not employees of EF. As an editor we’re told to never change the core of your review, never change your opinions and such, just polish up grammar and spelling. That’s it.

  4. Thank you from the bottom of my new-blogger heart.

  5. Honestly, this has been done a few times and I only found out after the fact but because this is more of a hobby for me than it is for you, I don’t personally care all that much. If asked, I will ask for a link back, of course.

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