5 Ways Companies Screw Over Reviewers & Cam Models

The business of blogging involves alliances and collaborations with companies. How do you navigate that?

Though many sex shops are delights to work with, psy­chic vam­pires also run ram­pant in the indus­try. They feed on the unsus­pect­ing, try­ing to squeeze every last drop out of pro­mo­tion from free­lancers and mon­ey from buyers.5 Ways Companies Screw Over Reviewers & Cam Models 1

If you're a cam model or pleasure product reviewer, know the worth of your work.

Don't fall for these sketchy ways sex toy com­pa­nies (or peo­ple pre­tend­ing to be them) try to take advan­tage of influencers.

I chat­ted with risqué con­tent cre­ator Tawney Seren to uncov­er times busi­ness­es know­ing­ly over­sold their mer­its or oth­er­wise screwed peo­ple over. We're not going to name names here — just warn­ing you to watch out for these recur­ring themes.

In this post
  1. Paid pos­i­tive reviews with canned captions
  2. Getting peo­ple to PAY to work for THEM
  3. A gazil­lion spam­my "do-​follow" links
  4. "Cross-​promotion" to their fol­low­ing of freeloaders
  5. Working with XXX con­tent cre­ators only

1. Paid 5-star sex toy reviews on Amazon or canned Instagram scripts

I'm starting here because this tactic especially goes against what I stand for.

If I hate a sex toy, I'll tell you why. I don't give glow­ing reviews just because I've been paid. In some cas­es, I've turned down mon­ey because I want­ed to deliv­er pure, unbri­dled salt when some­thing dis­pleased me or hurt oth­ers.

If a sex toy com­pa­ny sends me a con­tract say­ing that I can only say pos­i­tive things about their prod­uct, it's a no from me. I respect that small com­pa­nies need good press and would pre­fer to keep neg­a­tive feed­back pri­vate. At the same time, though, I choose not to accept review sam­ples with those par­tic­u­lar strings attached.

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Paying for pos­i­tive com­men­tary on Amazon is def­i­nite­ly against the pro­to­col. If you par­tic­i­pate in that, you run the risk of get­ting your reviews shut down.

Some mar­keters on Instagram also push influ­encers to make fab­ri­cat­ed claims and use canned scripts. Many of us have seen that in the diet indus­try and from dat­ing coach­es. It hap­pens in the sex toy world, too.

Perhaps the most egre­gious exam­ple is false­ly declar­ing that the toy is body-​safe when the sea­soned dil­dol­o­gist knows it's not. I'm also alert to "rev­o­lu­tion­ary" toys that are overengi­neered in the worst way pos­si­ble. Overall, leav­ing a 5‑star review for a sub-​par prod­uct is just a shit­ty thing to do to poten­tial buyers.

2. Asking models to pay to work for them

"Free" sex toys don't pay the bills. Coupons don't, either.

Look: if you're an influencer who's already worked to build a following, then your readers' trust is worth more than a 30% off discount for a product.

Consider whom the exchange favors. If the so-​called "pay­ment" is a coupon, the company's try­ing to make mon­ey from you while not giv­ing you much in return. If it's them shar­ing a pic­ture of you pos­ing with the prod­uct, they essen­tial­ly get free labor instead of pay­ing a mod­el and photographer.

Also, it's back­ass­ward. The point of an influ­encer is so that the com­pa­ny gains expo­sure from a trust­ed source — not the oth­er way around.

Getting the shout-​out or dis­count­ed toy may be worth it to you per­son­al­ly, espe­cial­ly if you're new to the world of cam mod­el­ing or sex toy review­ing. I respect that the hus­tle is like that some­times. However, also con­sid­er that your time and rep­u­ta­tion have value.

Let's say you've built up a body of work, and com­pa­nies are find­ing you.

Saying "no" to mediocre offers opens up your schedule to fantastic offers.

You know, ones where the com­pa­ny will pro­mote you AND pay you for your craft because they gen­uine­ly adore you.

3. A gazillion spammy "do-follow" links

How Google's search engine algorithm works isn't common sense to the layperson. Here are the basics that influencers must know:
  • Businesses want you to link to them.
  • The qual­i­ty of the web­sites you link to matters.
  • How you link to them matters.
  • Carelessly link­ing to shit­ty sites can make your Google rank­ings PLUMMET.

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Learn about the difference between "no-​follow" vs. "sponsored" vs. "follow" link tags.

A "fol­low" tag means you're pass­ing on a piece of your site's rep­u­ta­tion to the page linked. That's what com­pa­nies want.

I know that upfront, link­ing doesn't sound like a big deal. But if you do it too often, your rank­ing on Google can drop from the first page to the fourth. A busi­ness with the gall to ask for myr­i­ad spam­my links doesn't give a shit about the hit you take.

Bloggers and cam mod­els all have dif­fer­ent bound­aries when it comes to link­ing. Again, I respect the hus­tle, but edu­cate your­self on what you're risk­ing. Decide what's worth it to you.

4. "Cross-promotion" on their porn retweet Twitter

You know the Twitter accounts I'm talking about:
  • Most of their page is retweet­ed XXX videos.
  • They have tens of thou­sands of followers.
  • Their fol­low­ers are most­ly look­ing for free porn.

They have some­thing they want you to pro­mote — maybe a par­tic­u­lar page on their web­site, or a sex toy give­away. The deal goes along the lines of, "You pro­mote some­thing of mine, and I'll pro­mote some­thing of yours."

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That's where I usu­al­ly say, "Great! These are my rates for spon­sored social media pro­mo­tion." And they may push for free adver­tise­ment, claim­ing that cross-​promotion would be doing me a favor.

After all, I'm get­ting expo­sure to their huu­u­uge fol­low­ing, right?

Not so fast.

Look at what they're post­ing and how many peo­ple engage with the con­tent. It's a bad sign if:

  • A Twitter account with a gazil­lion fol­low­ers has only 1 or 2 likes on each post.
  • There's noth­ing but uncred­it­ed porn on their page.

Yeah, they might have many fol­low­ers, but those peo­ple will like­ly NOT:

  • Click on my non-​XXX con­tent and go to my web­site in the first place.
  • Offer any engage­ment (likes, retweets, etc.)
  • Buy sex toys through my links to bring me a com­mis­sion and sup­port my work.

So who is doing whom a favor here? And if these pages are doing so well with their mas­sive fol­low­ings, what do they need me for?

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5. When they're in it for XXX content

Some com­pa­nies only ever send prod­ucts to cre­ators who post XXX con­tent on Pornhub, Twitter, and so on.

The peo­ple involved are adults who can make their own deci­sions, but con­sid­er the following:

  • If you're not some­one who does XXX con­tent by default, such a request seems unpro­fes­sion­al and left-​field, no?
  • "Free" prod­ucts come with strings attached, and they in them­selves don't pay the bills.
  • How are you mon­e­tiz­ing the videos them­selves? In addi­tion to get­ting a free toy, how much do you antic­i­pate being compensated?

Maybe you LOVE the company's toys and are down for the col­lab­o­ra­tion. That's fine, but remem­ber that by say­ing "yes" to it with your time and ener­gy, you're say­ing "no" to all the oth­er things you could be doing to build your busi­ness. What's impor­tant to you?

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Let's wrap it up!

If you're a new­bie to the busi­ness, some of these offers may seem entic­ing. It doesn't mean you're a suck­er — I've had my share of drones doing me dirty in the past.

With expe­ri­ence, you'll hone your dis­cern­ment and find col­lab­o­ra­tors who respect and love the work you do.

One such com­pa­ny that's been kind to me was Godemiche sil­i­cone, who spon­sored this post. Shop Godemiche sil­i­cone toys, soaps, and more at g‑silicone.com.

If you'd like to work with me, feel free to read my poli­cies page and get in touch!

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4 Responses

  1. D. Dyer says:

    Fantastic points here. I regret that it took me hav­ing to learn to real­ly man­age my increas­ing­ly lim­it­ed ener­gy to start say­ing no to work that wasn’t serv­ing my needs and interests.

  2. G says:

    a very enlight­en­ing read, ty.

  3. Quinn Rhodes says:

    Aah, this was a bril­liant post. Last night I end­ed up doing a deep dive into your 'How My Blog With Body-​Safe Sex Toys Reviews Turned Into A $2K/​Month Side Hustle' post on Starter Story, which was FASCINATING to read as some­one who is slow­ly try­ing to build my blog into more of a side-​hustle that actu­al­ly makes me some mon­ey. Anyway, that's how I end­ed up here, and this was also a super help­ful read! It's a good reminder that it's ok to say no to the folks in your (my?) inbox if you won't actu­al­ly get some­thing out of work­ing with them.

  4. Brilliant post and it high­lights some of the com­mon ways com­pa­nies try to exploit blog­gers and per­form­ers. I have recent­ly seen a huge spike in these types of enquiries and it is great you have high­light­ed them here. Companies like Godemiche rock.

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