Did you see that this week’s Quote Quest prompt is by… me? I’m deeply amused by this and it reminded me that occasionally I am funny. Since the quote is about working/wanking, I thought I’d write a little sex toy review FAQ this week.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes into writing a sex toy review for money, read on – you’re about to find out!
How do you make money through sex toy reviews?
Two main ways: affiliate marketing and sponsored reviews. Far more of the former than the latter.
As an affiliate, I work with various toy companies to promote their products using a special link. When someone makes a purchase through one of my links, I make a commission.
A sponsored review is when a company pays me to feature their product on my blog. Sponsorship doesn’t guarantee a positive review, of course (more on that in a minute). I don’t do many of these – a handful a year, at most.
What do you do if you’ve been sponsored but you hate the product?
I make it very clear upfront that sponsorship doesn’t guarantee a positive review. The company is paying for product exposure on my blog, but I won’t say I liked something if I didn’t.
I will try to find good things to say about the item as far as I can, as long as they’re true. For example, I won’t review toys made of unsafe materials so at the very least I can pretty much always praise review products as being body-safe. Plus something isn’t necessarily objectively bad just because it didn’t work for me. I’ll talk about why I didn’t like it and then suggest the kinds of people and preferences it might work better for.
Some products are just objectively trash though, and if that’s the case I will say so.
How much can you say or not say about a product in a sponsored review?
I generally won’t agree to terms where I can’t say whatever I want (as long as it’s true, of course). Again: I’ll never promise to gush about something if I don’t genuinely love it, and I won’t usually edit a review once it’s been published.
The one exception to this is when the company has provided me with information that is useful for background info but confidential for a good reason, such as particular manufacturing or product development details they don’t want being made public. But that’s pretty rare.
Do you pitch a company if you really want to try a specific product or do they always come to you?
A mix of both, but they come to me far more often. At this point, I work closely with a small number of companies who regularly send me review products. They’ll usually email me and tell me they’ve got a new line coming out and let me choose an item from it for review, or that they’re having a push on a certain product type and would I like to review it?
On occasion, I will ask one of the companies I work for if I can try something specific. They’re usually very accommodating if it’s avaikable!
When it comes to companies I don’t have an existing relationship with, they usually come to me first. I’ve reached out on occasion, with mixed results. Some companies are notoriously hard to get review products from, others have their preferred roster of reviewers and aren’t open to new ones. Occasionally, I’ll get a yes and get the product.
But probably 90%+ of the time, they come to me.
Is there a common practice of asking for more information before you agree to a review?
I have done occasionally but there’s usually no need to. I can check out the product specs and the company’s website to find all the info I need to say yes or no.
Then there’s just a bit of back-and-forth to agree the terms, payment, delivery date, and any other specifics.
Is there anything that will cause you to reject a review product?
- Unsafe materials.
- Sexist, racist, or otherwise gross marketing content.
- Unethical behavior from companies, especially if they show no remorse or improvement when called on it. (Fuck you Lelo.)
- If the company behaves incredibly unprofessionally during outreach and negotations. (Lookin’ at you, Bestvibe.)
- If I can immediately tell I’ll hate it (in a really hate it way, rather than I “I can be hilariously snarky about this” way).
I want to be a toy reviewer, but I don’t know if I’m good enough!
The great thing about sex toy reviewing is that there isn’t really one right way to do it. You’ll also get better at it as you go – my early reviews are nowhere near as good as my current work.
Here are my golden rules of writing a sex toy review to help you get started:
- Always always always always be honest. Your readers’ trust is everything.
- Read up on sex toy safety and only feature safe products on your site.
- Avoid overly gendered language. People have genders, sex toys (and body parts) do not. (Example: say “people with penises” rather than “men”).
- Brush up your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. You can always run your work through Grammarly before you hit publish if that helps!
Other than that? Cultivate your own unique voice and don’t overthink it too much.
How do you protect yourself from people trying to get your work for free?
I just say no. At this point, I’ll only accept products that are carried by one of my existing affiliate companies (joining a bunch of new programmes isn’t worth it) or from companies that are paying me to review.
I have an email template that I use when new companies reach out to me for reviews, stating that I’m happy to offer product reviews, my rates are £X and my terms are Y and Z. 9 out of 10 don’t respond again, but that’s okay. If the only thing I’ve lost is work that I wouldn’t have been paid for, it’s no loss at all.
How much do you make from sex toy reviewing?
About £2400 so far in 2020. £150 of that was for a sponsored review, and £300 was for paid reviews I wrote for another platform. The rest is from affiliate sales.
Do you have any questions about sex toy reviewing?
If so, ask away and I might do a follow up at some point!