Beast of Eden

Since half the sex bloggers I know have an Eden Fantasys story to tell, I thought I’d add to the mix.

Back in May of 2007 (OMG, who the hell blogs for that long, anyway?) I received a nice email from Eden Fantasys asking if I’d want to be part of a link exchange. I’m sure most sex bloggers have had a similar email, since their marketing model seems to be to get as many people in the sex blogging community to give them some buzz. And look, that’s not a bad thing.

The email said, in part:

We would like to establish a relationship with your site for better serve our and your visitors. This can contain simple link exchange, and I hope our customers will appreciate if we can give them a note about such quality resource. We will also appreciate a link from your blog to our site.

We are also looking to expand our essays section as well as other editorial content. EdenFantasys.com needs people who can write well and be creative with our products; which requires a great deal of sexual expression and awareness. If you are interested in becoming a reviewer or writer, please email at Partners@EdenFantasys.com and submit a writing sample or link to your blog.

Apparently I overlooked this, or perhaps didn’t take it seriously. I get inquiries like this about once a month; I’d like to believe it’s because of my kick-ass writing, or my great personality, but I’m not that naive.

But still, it’s nice to dream.

Anyway, EF followed up a few months later with another note (emphasis is mine):

[...]

We would like to establish a relationship with your site for better serve our and your visitors. This can contain simple link exchange, and I hope our customers will appreciate if we can give them a note about such quality resource. We will also appreciate a link from your blog to our site. If you need our info:

URL: [redacted]
Title: Sex toy novelty

We also have a lot of other ways of partnerships, that you can find on our site.

Please mail us your decision, or any other ideas, as we are definitely open to any good ideas-such as promo actions, events, interviews and so on.

Being an inveterate attention whore with a constant need for ego stroking, I put up a link to their web store in October of 2007.  A few days later they responded:

Hello, Tom, thanks a lot for your link. What is your desired title and description to reciprocate?

Can I also ask you slightly change our link from  ‘Eden Fantasies’ to ‘Adult toy novelties’?

I can’t remember, but I must have set the link title (what you see when you hover the mouse on the text) to something else. Also, note that my grammatically-prone fingers typed it as “Fantasies”.

I fixed the link, and a few days later got a short note:

Thanks , Tom. your link is also up at http://www.exalte.com/LinksList/194.
Good luck in your blogging,

And here’s what I didn’t notice at the time (my head being too full of visions of more ego stroking from the hordes of readers who would soon be fawning over my HNTs:  my blog link was not going to be hosted on the EF site, but on a site that they had set up solely for links. The Edge of Vanilla would not be associated with EF itself in any way.

That will teach me to read more carefully.

Anyway, that link stayed up for over a year, during which time EF had some number of out-clicks. In the meantime, I ran across the issues that AAG had with EF (waves to aagblog). During a routine link purging, I discovered that I did not have any visitors from EF (having forgotten about exalte.com, which is understandable, sine I didn’t have any visitors from that site, either), so I deleted the EF link.

A few weeks later, I got a note:

Some time ago we exchanged links. Our link was available on your blog http://vanillaedge.wordpress.com/. Now I had not found it. Have you removed it ? Please advice me of this matter.

Ooops. Did I do that?

I’ll go check – I might have accidentally removed the link when I was doing some housekeeping.

And since I’m generally polite, I sent another note later on:

Just out of curiosity, I checked my blog stats to see how many referrals I’ve had from Eden Fantasies. While I’ve had a number of outclicks to your webstore, I didn’t see any reciprocal traffic. I then went to the Eden Fantasies web site, and spent the last five minutes trying to find a page that has links to other blogs and personal web sites. I don’t even see anything listed in the Site Map.

Could you explain to me where I might find those links?

Which they did:

As we usually use ABC exchange – we put reciprocal links to our other sites Link directories

And he included two linking websites, one of which was exalte.com; the other was a blog that was an obvious shill for their website. At this time, the issues that AAG had written about came back to me;  I declined to respond and they removed my link. At the time, I wasn’t angry, although I do remember being annoyed.

Now, I don’t make any money with this blog; I write because I   am an inveterate attention whore with a constant need for ego stroking don’t get many chances for free expression in my daily life, and I happen to enjoy writing when I get the opportunity. Bloggers (for the most part) get their payment in link love: we exchange links with blogs that we like, which means more people can potentially stumble across our blogs, which could lead to more links, etc.  While I did agree to the link exchange with EF, I felt a bit cheated. Yes, this is entirely an ego thing — if I’m providing hits for your site, then why can’t you provide hits for mine? Obviously thousands of people were visiting EF, but hardly anyone visited exalte. It just didn’t seem fair.

Of course, I had another opportunity just eight months later:

I just wanted to say thanks for the support of one of my new fav bloggers Bad Bad Girl on her HNT post.  She is awesome and I love working with her.  I clicked over to your site and really was enjoying the read.  It is a great site and your perspective are terrific.  I would love to talk to you more about working with Eden Fantasys.  I would love to see your voice and ideas in our forums and participating in our online interviews.  We can also discuss doing product reviews on your blog and more if you are interested.

I would be really thrilled to hear from you either way.  So keep up the awesome work and have a great weekend.

Email anytime.  I pasted some links below for you to check out as well.

Short memories over there, I guess.

I don’t hang out at the EF web forums, so I missed the drama that unfolded last week. But I’ve been combing through my old emails, and I discovered that out of the dozens of link exchange proposals I’ve had over the years,all have offered to trade links on their site, and only one other site expressly stated that they do not engage in reciprocal links at all.

Personally, I don’t care what EF does — it’s their damned site, and they are free to link or not. But I do think that they are taking advantage of the spirit of the sex blogging community, and for that they rightly deserve the disdain that’s being heaped upon them at the moment. Let’s hope that they learn from this.

11 thoughts on “Beast of Eden

  1. I’ve had a few of these already.They suck, and I ignore them for the most part.

    I also get occasional spammers posting comments, but so far Akismet has caught all of those. Most of them are from random sites, but one was an arse from a store in CA who peddles chastity devices.

    The thing is, if he’d posted a sensible comment with his link, I’d have been cool with it. As it was his comment said: this site has some fantastic chastity devices.

    Cretinous oaf.

    Sarah.

  2. “your perspective are terrific.” LOL.

    Thanks for this post. It adds a lot to the discussion. EF does this ALL THE TIME to everyone, and it never gets written about because it’s such a subtle form of douchebaggery.

  3. Pingback: Link Roundup: Eden Fantasys? More like Epic Fail « Heartbreak Nymphomania

  4. The thing that amazes me, having been online and looking for adult stories, sites, products, erotica and smut for over a decade, is that I have never even heard of those sites. Not even once.

    I guess Al Gore created a huge thingie. :)

  5. Something quite similar happened to me. I just searched through my emails and found their first attempt was an offer to participate in their affiliate program, which is more appealing to me. After all, if I’m gonna put up a banner on my blog, it might as well bring income, right? For the record, I do get a little, over time, from the affiliate links on my site, but nothing to write home about ;) Enough to pay for the domain name, I guess, so I find that’s ok.

    Anyway… Second attempt from EF sounds almost exactly like what happened to you. They started with saying:

    “I’ve been reading your blog and it kept me curious for hours! You are a gorgeous woman, the proof is all over your blog in the HNTs. You also have a nice style and your writings are really enjoyable, keep up exploring your kinky side! Wish you the best!”

    The rest is just like what they wrote you, asking for a link exchange. I saw no harm in putting up a simple link, so I did. They wrote back shortly, requesting I change the title of their link to “Adult toys”. When I did, I realized this put them right at the top of my list of links and I made a comment about it. The guy laughed it off and said I could change the link name to “Sex toys” if I wanted to…

    It stayed there for a little while then I saw something on your blog about link exchanges, I forget what exactly, and it made me curious. I tried to find my link at EF, and just like you, I discovered it was on an outside site. I checked my stats and realized I’d received exactly zero visit from EF. Sooo I removed the link and sure enough, they wrote within a week asking why. I told them I decided to remove the link because it brought me no traffic, and that’s the end of the story.

  6. Pingback: A History of EdenFallacys « EdenFallacys

  7. Less than a week after I sent them a letter about the googledoc info release scandal, which I sent to everyone who’s email I could find, (and after deleting all links to their site, deleting my accounts with them, and a few more angry emails that got no response) I received emails back asking me to be an affiliate and exchange links. Short memories indeed.

  8. All of this EF drama has me captivated, and i’m sorry to everyone affected by it. I’m sorry because i work for a sex toy store of a similar ilk to EF, and the more i read about them the more i think they’re doing irreparable damage to a brilliant industry.

    But on a more personal note, this post has shown me to be a bit wary when i’m approached to do work for sex toy companies. i have a personal sex blog aside from the one that i write for my company, a blog much like this one, so if i’m contacted by some flattering company i’ll try very hard to ignore my own voracious need for approval and do some investigative work about the company that contacted me.

    Thanks!

    -JY
    Yossarian Lives

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