PinkCherry Affiliate Program

April 14th, 2010

PinkCherry’s affiliate program is quite capable because it uses a powerful piece of affiliate software. In fact, PinkCherry is not the only store to decide on that software; it’s also in use by Adam & Eve. There is a slight difference between those uses. The folks at PinkCherry haven’t spent quite as much time customizing the layout of their affiliate program which, in the end, means very little. It’s still extremely usable. Adam & Eve have simply have a leg up when it comes to branding; although, this makes the site a little less safe for work, if you follow.

It’s important to note that their program is located on its own domain: I don’t mind this and the URL is easy to remember as well. Of course, affiliate systems which are built right into the site are always nice to see but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It’s been some time some time since I original signed up but I did take a look at the TOS and saw no mention of age requirements. Folks who are over 18 but under 21 will probably find this reassuring.

For current affiliates, the dashboard is easy to use. The homepage outlines transactions and earnings. The same information seems to be repeated in another location (on the home page) alone with visitors and ratio stats. There’s an interesting little pie chart to illustrate those stats but I don’t usually remember to look at it. Toward the top is a copyable “standard linking code” which points to the PinkCherry home page with your affiliate ID. I appreciate its availability.

From this page, users can easily see pending or paid commissions, the traffic log and payment history. The traffic log is interesting because it shows the IP address of visitors and the referring URL; except, this doesn’t work so well in reality. All of my referring URLs show up as N/A – Possible Bookmark or Email Link. There is also an easy to find link to edit all personal information, including selecting PayPal as your mode of payment.

If you’re curious, there is a $100 payout requirement and you earn 15% per sale. However, this information is only displayed on the front page as far as I can tell. There is a FAQ link under the “account” menu but the page itself is blank which isn’t quite helpful.

This specific software includes “Training materials” which, I’ll be honest, I haven’t spent any time with. There is a page exclusively for training videos but there is only one video provided and.. I can’t even watch it on Firefox. Maybe it’s a good thing that no other videos are provided. There is also a PDF which explains how to make custom tracking URLs. This would be useful, for instance, if I wanted to link to a specific product and include the product name in the URL. Folks who are more hardcore about making money can use this to see which keywords/links are most successful. In addition to this, users can use “Sub IDs” in their URLs if they want to create an affiliate network. I do find the manual to be a bit confusing. It doesn’t actually explain how to “attach” said keywords to your affiliate URL.

The marketing materials include banners and text links. The current banner count is limited to 4 – which only represent 3 sizes – and I hate to say it, but none of the designs jump right out at you. PinkCherry has long needed a logo refresher. The colour pink is also used predominantly. I get it but it’s a bit limiting. A larger variety of banners would be welcome.

There is only one text link provided, which goes to the homepage. The setup is different from the “Standard linking code” but I’m not even sure why. This section is totally underutilized. Affiliates can create these links by themselves but this is an opportunity to make it easier for affiliates to use links and highlight sections of the site.

The “Email Links” section contains similar text links; although, one is formatted in HTML. I’m not even sure why this software thinks users are dumb enough not to understand copy+paste. Users can actually send their affiliate link to users from from “Email Friends & Associates” page, if they want to enter different addresses. This message includes the standard link by default and users can edit the message.

The Keyword Tracking Links page finally explains how to create custom links with your affiliate URL; although these links will only point to the index and there is no generator. I see no reason why this needs a page for itself.

Alternatively, users can create incoming links which direct to unique pages, other than the index. This is done via generator into which users copy the default link (to a product or section) and a unique link is created. The generated link does not give any indication what the destination is, however. Users can add tracking information to these links by appending a keyword. All of the generated links are listed on this page, below the input field, as well as the original links. It’s a bit messy if you frequently use this method; although, links can be removed from the list without breaking the functionality.

It does not seem like you can refer affiliates beneath you (ie, link to the affiliate program itself) but you can set up a “network” via tracking URLs and Sub IDs. Kind of lame, in my opinion.

Ultimately, the methods provided by this software work but they’re not pretty. Plus, the dashboard just isn’t as intuitive as I’d like to see. In addition to this, the lack of customization from PinkCherry isn’t a deal breaker but it doesn’t make the deal quite as sweet as it could be, either. Lastly, I’d love to see a referral program worked into the affiliate program because it is an alluring incentive.


This is Why Your Online Sex Toy Store Sucks

April 12th, 2010

Don’t deny it.

  • There is no “new additions” page.
  • There is no way to arrange products by price.
  • Options for product arrangement exist but do not work.
  • Users cannot tell which category a toy falls into.
  • All your prices fall in the under $30 dollar range.
  • All your products fall in the over $75 range.
  • Both of the above.
  • Any category contains less than 5 items.
  • There are not page navigation links (“Page 1”, “Page 2” or “Next” and “Previous”) on both the top and bottom of the page.
  • Links take the user to a different part of the site with no indication how to return to where they were before.
  • Different colours are listed as separate products. (Personal comment: cut it the fuck out!).
  • You obviously have no concept of material safety.
  • Items are described with manufacturer supplied images or descriptions.
  • And the generic supplied information isn’t even listed with the correct toy.
  • Toys which are in no way safe for anal play are recommended for anal play.
  • Your site is obviously just an affiliate shop.
  • Your site has only been tested in one browser.
  • That browser is IE 6.
  • The home/index page links to sections which cannot be found via any other page.
  • Every toy is made of jelly.
  • Every porno you stock is straight.
  • You rename products from their box name.
  • The images in your shop: do not work, have been resized until the subject is unrecognizable, are taken in light that even bats would find low, are only icon sized, are of the wrong product, include more than 2 products which are not included and/or are intended to grossly misrepresent the size of the product.

Let’s be honest here, all of these things fall into one of two categories: site usability and product selection. If your site is so horrendous that we cannot use it, we sure as shit ain’t buying from it. And while I don’t expect every toy store to stocks tens of thousands of items, having variety in styles, prices and toy materials is a must. In fact, I would never suggest only stocking high end items because that puts your shop in a niche which I will never have need for. Me? I just want a site which I can browse and enough product variety that something will catch my fancy.


200 Reasons to Smile

April 12th, 2010

No, I did not adopt 198 more cats. I am talking about Fascinations’ $200 Shopping Spree which is currently going on. If you haven’t heard – and it took the news a few days to reach me, what gives? – Fascinations is giving away $200 of sex toys to a lucky winner. All you have to do is blog your wishlist, making sure to keep it under the limit.

I personally found this a good way to get to know the site. I’ve stopped by a few times since Essin’ Em has been employed there but never stayed too long. Shopping with limitations made me slow down and consider everything a little bit more, though. Without further ado, here is my list:

Lelo Mona ($139.99)
If you read my latest post (or is it the one before that?), you’ll see I wish I’d gotten this instead of Ina. It’s almost as pricey but the red colour is definitely worth it.
Kama Sutra Cooling Gel ($14.99)
For starters, it’s cute. Additionally, I like cooling stuff. This one has been on my wishlist for ages.
Pecker Glo Stixxx ($4.99)
And now for something silly. I’ve never seen these before!
Frolic Lube ($19.99)
A lube made especially for playing with toys? I’m game!
Best Lesbian Erotica 2010 ($15.95)
I love this year’s cover and am intrigued to know what the new powers-that-be have done with this.

Which brings me to $195.91. Not bad if I do say so myself.


Zone Bliss Purple

April 10th, 2010

The Zone Bliss is a uniquely designed vibrator which automatically earns brownie points for a couple characteristics:

  • It looks like a rocket ship
  • It can be used hands free
  • The base is made of sturdy plastic while the insertable portion is a removable silicone sleeve
  • It’s surprisingly strong
  • The controls are super easy to use

But it falls short in several key ways:

  • The design blocks access to the clit (when used vaginally) unless it is turned so the buttons are unreachable
  • It’s too short for me to actually kneel over
  • The base is too large for me to sit on
  • The texture does not add stimulation
  • The shape is not ideal for storage

The design, although original, is straight forward. A cone shape points upward, resting upon tripod. As I mentioned, the base itself is plastic and the cone is sheathed in a removable silicone sleeve. This makes cleaning a breeze; you can wipe down the plastic and wash the sleeve with soap and water or clean it with a bleach solution. I was worried about lubes or liquids finding their way beneath the sleeve but, thus far, it has not been a problem. It’s perfectly ‘sealed.’

However, this toy is far from problematic. From initial insertion, I struggled to find any position in which I could use the Zone Bliss comfortably. I tried kneeling and sitting to no avail. I could not kneel low enough for even half insertion and the hard plastic of the base pushed uncomfortable when I tried to sit. Some bodies might work better for this and then, conceivably, the Zone Bliss could rest on an even surface (the legs all have little rubber feet on them which also dampens the noise of it vibrating against the surface). I bet this would work better in a kneeling position, over a firm-ish pillow (perhaps one of the Liberator shapes).

I could use it a little more successfully on my back, with legs up. I was also able to achieve full insertion with this method but even with the Zone Bliss fully inserted, I experienced more issues.

The two buttons to control this vibrator are on one of the legs. To reach the buttons, I situate this leg so it’s in front of me but then it blocks access to my clit and the side legs fight for position where my thighs are. So I can can rotate the toy so that no legs are directly in front of me but then the buttons are not really accessible. It seems to me that it would make more sense to put the buttons on the bottom.

Other than that, the soft plastic buttons are decently sized and easy to find because they’re thick. One turns the toy on and cycles upward while the other turns it off. That’s all it does: turns it off. I wish this button cycled downward, too. There are three speeds of steady vibration which are a little buzzier than I’d like but surprisingly strong. Then again, it better be for a power source of 3 AAs. In fact, I think I’d like to see more vibrators require the extra battery. Then there are multiple pulsation modes:

  • Short-short-long pulse
  • short repeating pulses
  • This short escalating pulse thing
  • Escalation

After escalation, the steady vibration continues again instead of the toy shutting off. It’s kind of confusing. As you can guess, this toy is not the quietest I have ever owned. Most of the base seems to be hollow plastic so the vibrations sort of reverberate through it. It’s quieter than it would be, when resting on a hard surface, because of the rubber feet but this one just might be heard through a closed door.

If I were able to find a comfortable position, I might like the way the Zone Bliss feels inserted. I could not detect the embossed “chevron” shapes but the short, squat shaft was appropriate filling for me without being horrendously long. It stimulated my G-spot but it short enough – 3.5″ – and lacks the curve that many women need for G-spot stim. Even if it weren’t a bit of a hassle, I could not recommend this toy to newbies or women who like their toys smaller. At the base, the shaft has a diameter of 2″. It does taper slightly toward the tip but much of the shaft remains around 1.5″ in diameter.

In case you were wondering, this vibe is not meant to be submerged. The battery pack clicks in and out like most remotes so it’s definitely not waterproof.

The Zone Bliss has a lot of depth, too, which means it cannot be stored just anywhere. In a drawer, on a shelf or in a deep box are your best bets. I would not store it in any sort of bag. The Zone Bliss also arrives in a rather large, cylindrical plastic container which is not practical at all for storage, unless you collect unique looking “hat boxes.”

The Zone Bliss is really the sort of toy which is best for people who like to have novelty toys but don’t necessarily mind if those toys are not all that practical.



Ina Nutshell

April 9th, 2010

Ina is a high quality toy, easy to use and offers a surprising amount of power. It will probably always remain the best G-spot vibrator I will ever try and I may now be a gusher but, as a rabbit? It completely and utterly fails. Anyone wanna trade me a Mona?


Lelo Lily

April 6th, 2010

Now, I have never had one of those hot stone massages but I’ve seen pictures or maybe seen it in the movies and the Lily by Lelo absolutely reminds me of those small, ergonomic stones except this tiny vibrator is designed to caress your most intimate parts while in the palm of your hand – not to do whatever it is that hot stone massage actually does. The black version, which I bought, does remind me quite a bit of a small stone. Granted, Lily is much lighter than any stone would be.

Anyway, Lily is my first vibratory purchase from Lelo. I had admired it for quite some time but the complaints of low power turned me off. Still, I could not distract myself from a vibe that might work perfectly during sex and when Edenfantasy gave contributors a steep Christmas discount, I invested.

Lily comes in the traditional heavy, black cardboard box with “Lelo” embossed on top. Once the top is off, you can see Lily on a black tray. Lily does not come charged, however; I like to use toys right away so I was a bit miffed to have to break out the charger which sits beneath the tray. Charging was easy; there is an indicator light on the charger itself and the buttons on Lily flash during charge. The manual indicates that Lily should not be charger for more than 24 hours and the charge should last up to 2 hours.

Also included are a white satin bag, 10 year quality guarantee, warranty booklet and user manual. I took a quick look through the user manual but Lily is incredibly easy to operate so it’s probably not necessary.

Right out of the box, I was surprised by Lily’s size. It is only 3″ long and 2″ wide so it easily fits in the smallest of hands. The Lily is displayed in the box so the side with the buttons faces up. There are two soft, plastic buttons: one buttons turns on/up the vibrations while the other turns them down/off. When the Lily is charged, the buttons will be ringed with white light. This light turns red when the vibrator needs charging. I like that the buttons are just shy of finger width which makes them easy to find and press.

Below the buttons, the world “Lelo” is embossed. Further down, on the rounded edge is the charger port. This port seems incredibly large to me so I always make sure to cover it when washing (although, a wipe or damp cloth is probably smarter than using soap and water). It would be nice if there were some cover over this port, however.

The exterior of Lily is a plastic which feels almost silky. The appearance is matte as opposed to Nea, a similar vibe which is slick, shiny plastic. I chose Lily specifically for that reason (added friction) but might have been better off choosing Nea.

Lily’s shape reminds me something of a giant bean. The back, which will sit in the palm of the hand, curves softly while the front is more angular. The functional end comes to more of a point than the curved end where the port is and all of Lily’s lines are sleek and contemporary. In use, I can hold Lily so that my thumb can reach both buttons but the most comfortable and functional way for me to hold it actually prevents me from reaching the buttons. In addition to this, if Lily is cupping my mons, this completely blocks button access unless I angle it up and away from my body. This seems especially problematic when you consider how many people use vibrators like these during sex. In missionary position, with the Lily between two partners, it would be difficult to push the buttons. Otherwise, Lily is only about 1/2″ thick which makes it pretty unobtrusive during sex.

Lily’s curved shape is generally body friendly but I think it would be friendlier to a less fleshy body than mine. If I simply lie it over my mons, Lily will barely graze my clit. I have to apply pressure for it to fit more comfortable between my labia. I am not super fond of pointed toys, generally preferring a broad surface which I can use to stimulate my pubic bone area as opposed to simply my clit. If you like pointed toys, however, Lily might be right up your alley. Quick, wrist movements can somewhat imitate oral sex; however, this leaves me incredibly sore. So sore, in fact, that my arm muscles will hurt the next day.

Once I did get the Lily situated and started playing with the vibrations, I was quickly accosted by a high pitched whine from the motor. As I understand it, this is pretty common for digital motors but, FUCK! it’s annoying. I feel like I now know what it feels like when dogs hear noises people cannot. Aside from that, Lily only ever operates at a low hum, even on the highest setting. You might even be able to get away with using it in the same room as someone else!

Lily does not have an amazing amount of power. The high pitched vibrations match the high pitched whine quite well and are entirely focused in the pointed end (another plus for pinpoint lovers). There seem to be multiple levels of continues vibration (around 7) but they’re so close together it’s hard to tell. There are also additional pulsation and escalation modes. For the most part, these modes lack the oomph of stronger toys. Lily is definitely best for sensitive clits or warm up.

One of the nice functions of Lily is that it can be locked when not in use by simultaneously pressing both buttons for 5 seconds. However, I think it might be far more practical to be able to lock it during use because it’s small enough that my fingers struggle for purchase. Still, when Lily is locked and in its storage bag, it’s pretty easy to hide or even travel with.

Lily is incredibly well crafted, without a doubt. Yet, the size and strength of vibrations are not as rewarding to me as the more affordable Layaspot. I cannot honestly see myself reaching for this one frequently – a shame considering how much I spent on it.


Electric Infrared Massager

April 3rd, 2010

I have a secret. It’s not really that much of a secret, actually. Some like it hot but.. I don’t. Not really. I am not a big fan of heat. I keep my AC on all the time. I hate to sweat. I spend too much time inside on hot summer days because I cannot handle the sun. So have I strayed from heating products. It has been years since I’ve used a heating lube that was not apart of some “his and hers” set. I have never tried warm temperature play. It just didn’t seem appealing. So it was really a bit out of character when I decided to try the Electric Infrared Massager (available at the Adult Toy Shoppe) but sometimes the character we have come to be isn’t the character we should always be, right?

The Electric Infrared Massager comes in a giant blister pack with a tacky insert, along with 5 different attachments for the vibrating side. This massager measures just shy of a foot at 11″ and the handle alone has a circumference of nearly 2″. The actual head has a diameter of 3.5″. The attachments all vary in size and shape but none are larger than the heating element.

The handle itself is about 8″ long and while the length does help offset the weight of the head, it’s still a bit unwieldy. The controls on the Electric Infrared Massager are located on the upper half of the handle, toward the shaft and consist of a single button witch slides between the Off, Lo and Hi settings. The button does not slide as smoothly as I would like. Perhaps it is because my hands are small but I find myself grasping the massager toward the other end of the handle (where it is thinner) and I am not able to reach the button without actually moving my hand. I would personally like to see the button moved down, the handle thinner or shortened 2 – 3 inches.

For the most part, the massager is encased in a hard plastic which is metallic red in appearance. The lower half of the shaft is textured which makes it easier to grasp and there are a few “details” in black plastic (like the area around the button which is labeled). This massager has a “flexible” neck which is made of accordion-like plastic. However, the flexibility is limited to maybe 10-15 degrees either way and that is even with an effort to put pressure on it. I would have preferred a truly flexible head like the one on the Miracle Massager.

The head is mostly spherical with one side providing the heating stimulation while attachments push on to the other. The heating element side is round and the element seems to be encased with a dark but translucent plastic. When the element is on, it can be seen glowing red through the plastic. The rounded design is broad but not entirely seamless. This end won’t be inserted but can still collect some gunk.

The other side of the head is flattened with a stout post in the center. Each attachment has a a round neck which just fits over this post. Attachments do not lock or click into place; they just fit snugly. There are two small holes in the connecting post so perhaps the attachments use a bit of suction as well. The attachments are not difficult to apply or remove, however.

One might thing that the attachments themselves have something to do with the heating characteristics of this vibrator but it’s not the case. The attachment side has no heating effect. On the other hand, the rounded, heating side does transmit some of the vibrations because they are focused in the head.

My biggest problem with this vibrator is that the functions are dependent. If you turn it on low vibrations, it will turn on high heat and vice versa. I see no reason why the heating element should be on when you use attachments (because it won’t be touching you anyway). Furthermore, it always felt like the heat was on high when the vibrations were also on high but this could be due to the massager heating up because of the vibrations. I actually found myself wanting to turn the vibrations on low and the heat on high even though this is what it is supposed to do.

Like many electric vibrators, this one is pretty strong. Maybe not the strongest ever but it beats out any battery operated toy I own. The lower setting is definitely deeper and more rumbly; the high setting sometimes is too high pitched for me and causes me to tickle uncomfortable. Surprisingly enough, the Electric Infrared Massager is not super loud. I don’t think it could be heard through a closed door (I couldn’t but my AC is a little loud).

I was not blown away by any of the attachments. I first tried the rounded foam attachment which was okay but didn’t transmit the vibrations amazingly. Also, I have no idea how sanitary the hard foam really is. In fact, all of the softer attachments are of some mystery material. Perhaps a soft rubber or TPR but I have no idea at the packaging doesn’t say. I assume the hard attachments are plastic but I could be wrong.

The single cone attachment will probably work well for folks who like pinpoint stimulation; although, I don’t. I thought the double cone attachment might surround my clit but, in reality, the points were too far away to hug it nicely. The “tickler” and “wide bumped” head are both as wide as the entire hide which makes them really bulky for clit stimulation. I guess my crotch is just not that wide. LOL However, I think that both of those attachments would work nicely for a body massage. Ultimately, I think this design is much better suited for actual massage than sexual stimulation.

I did enjoy the infrared heat, though. It doesn’t get too hot at all. Rather, it sort of feels the way the sun feels on your skin on a comfortable day, just warming you slightly. In fact, I prefer the warmth of the high setting. The reminiscence of a nice day actually makes me feel serene and the heat makes me super aware of the area it is on; I would assume it is drawing blood to the area. However, the head is still quite bulky for use in intimate areas.

The cord is fairly long: about 6′. I can easily use it on my bed because there is an outlet a few feet away but it’s not something which could be easily used outside, in a vehicle et cetera, at least, not without an extension cord. Of course, because this is a corded toy, it is not waterproof and should stay far away from the bathroom or pool. Cleaning would best be done with a damp cloth or toy wipe, not running water.

I didn’t know how much I could like heat until I tried the Electric Infrared Massager. However, I feel it would be a better investment if it were fine tuned so that the settings can be used independently and the controls are easier to reach.