Obviously sex toys have become a big part of my life. I think about them at least weekly when I round-up reviews for Pleasurists though usually more because I do my own reviews too, and just recently Domina Doll and I compiled the Best Sex Toy Reviewers 2008 list. This has sparked a bit of conversation, which I am eager to engage in and have already been asked my opinion of. First, go and read these three posts by Sinclair Sexsmith, AAG, and Debauched Domestic Diva if you haven’t already. I’ll be here when you get back, promise.
Good, now, here’s my take on this: I actually couldn’t agree more. They aren’t saying that we shouldn’t be doing reviews, just that we should be more conscious of who we’re reviewing for, what we’re reviewing, and how often we’re reviewing them (at least that’s my take on it).
While I enjoy reading reviews and I do review a lot of toys I have always done it one of two ways. First, I started reviewing one toy a week. Easy, simple, one toy a week, with posts in between. Then, when I started to get more companies I was reviewing for, I moved that to two reviews a week (rarely, but sometimes three), but I had to have at least four posts between them. Why four posts? Well… I don’t really know. But that’s what I set for myself. I thought it was a good number, and I’ve had a lot to write about lately. Sometimes that number didn’t happen, sometimes it was two, sometimes it was six, etc. but, that was the goal. I’ve always made sure to have other content along side my reviews.
There are reviewers out there that just review sex toys and don’t give much personal information or have personal posts, and that is a whole different can o’ worms I think. For my reviews and reviewing I agree with what Kyle said in the comments of Diva’s post “sex toy reviews are icing, but not the cake.” However, this is different for toy review blogs.
When the blog is dedicated to toy reviews then I don’t expect anything but toy reviews (makes sense, right?). I don’t think this is a bad blog or anything of that sort, because if the stats of Pleasurists and my own review blog Wanton Lotus are any indication, people are reading reviews and many enjoy reading reviews, I know I do. I even enjoy reading multiple reviews on the same product, because I think that gives me a better idea about the toy.
I try to pick the sites I review for carefully, I too have turned down requests (though not many, I’ll admit) and I no longer review for EdenFantasys. I’ve turned into somewhat of a toy snob and do not review just any toy, primarily I review toys I already think I’m going to enjoy, but occasionally I get one that just doesn’t work for me. While I’ve picked up some new review programs that I haven’t “vetted” completely I do feel for the most part that I’ve made good choices. I think what AAG said about questions to ask before reviewing for a company is fantastic, and I’m going to take that list, apply it to the sites I review for, and see what happens.
For those of you who didn’t read her post I’ll quote her:
- Does the site contain representations of people from a variety of genders and orientations?
- Are women shown as equal partners in sexual play and decision-making?
- Is educational and safety information included?
- Will the site accept returns or otherwise make it right if a customer is dissatisfied with a purchase?
- Are there good ways to contact the company (not just an online feedback form) if things go awry?
- Is the company responsive to contact and concerns from reviewers?
- Does the site treat its reviewers well? Its employees? Does it have a reputation for good business practices from other bloggers?
- Is the site free from dangerous products such as “shrink” creams and anal numbing lubes?
If you can’t answer “yes” to those questions, it’s time for us as a group to start speaking out both in the reviews we write and in the reviews we refuse to write.
We as a community need to use our collective powers in editorializing about not only the buzzy plastic but also the business ethics of the companies from whom we accept toys.
Very smart, seriously. I can already answer yes to most of the questions for all of the companies I review for, but not all questions as further research is needed.
Now, I won’t say I’m not greedy because I am. I’m Veruca Salt. I want it all. I want toys. I don’t want every toy, but I do want a lot of them. I think toy review blogs are valid blogs, and I know people enjoy reading them, including myself, but there is a difference between a toy review blog and a sex blog (well, duh, and I’m not saying one is better than the other), and like the lovely ladies and gentleman I am referencing in this post I don’t want my personal content swallowed up by reviews.
On a slightly different but related topic I’m interested in this gem in Diva’s post from the other side of things (the marketing side):
I personally think this year we will see an end to this over saturation of sex toys being handed out. Some bloggers may have high traffic numbers and sales through their affiliate links but overall these companies are not seeing the returns in sales for what they are giving out. They are going to start looking for different ways to market their products than all these reviews that many people seem to be skipping over reading half of the time.
It’ll definitely be interesting to see how toy reviewing evolves in the next year or so.