Oh! what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive!
- Walter Scott
I won’t be reviewing for EdenFantasys anymore and I feel you deserve to know why. I thought about just taking links down and leaving it at that. Given the fact that they’re easily one of the largest online sex toy shops, the absence of their presence here (especially given how much I’ve reviewed for them) likely wouldn’t go unnoticed. I feel you guys deserve to know the details on why I’m no longer supporting them.
I started reviewing for Eden in early September of 2011. Since then I’ve been an active member on their forums, a frequent reviewer, and a mentor to new reviewers. I’d like to lie and say I was always miserable there, but I won’t. For the first few months I had a lot of fun. I met friends on the forums, tweaked my reviewing skills, and enjoyed helping would be reviewers learn the ropes.
I can’t remember when it was that things started to go sour. The forums went from having some spam to being drowned in it. Why so much spam? You see, Eden offers points for activities on the site. These points then convert to gift cards which can be used to purchase toys. Great way to build a collection, but also a great way to breed system abuse.
As the forum spam went on, the system for voting on reviews also took a hit. There was retaliation voting and many, many people just voting whatever to earn their points.
The thing is, I could have looked past that. All communities have problems and obviously one that gives incentive for actions will have even more problems. Really, the start of my issues with Eden weren’t the abuse and point farming. It was how the administration handled it.
After a long period of arguing between members and admin, the final say on everything was that veteran members were simply “unwelcoming.” The louder someone spoke up, the harder admin came down on them for bringing the community down.
After over a year of time in the community, here’s what I can tell you it boils down to. Eden wants to maintain a perfect appearance. They are the stereotypical “ideal” family: flawless on the outside, a dysfunctional mess when you take a closer look. There is a thick air of forced happiness from those that run the site. If you begin to see through the veil and speak up, prepare for the worst. They will adore you while you’re new and still enamored with points and assignments. As the lure of these things fade and you start to notice the peeling walls, they will no longer care for you.
You know what though? Even all that I’d be able to forgive. At least, I might not review for them quite as often, but I’d still maintain a presence there. The lies don’t stop at the forged happiness though.
The more frustrated I grew with the community, the more I started to dig. I started this site to make my way into the world as an independent reviewer. I found fellow bloggers and with those bloggers came horror stories. A long time member was banned for what seems to boil down to not drinking enough of the Eden Kool-Aid. There’s also the intricate linking methods Eden uses to essentially screw over all the bloggers that work with them. There are reports of not paying employees as well as mistreating them.
All that stuff has been well documented in the links, so I won’t go into the details. I learned all of that and still I stayed, mostly because I didn’t have an established presence online that could carry me through.
Then, horror of horrors, reports started popping up about people receiving used toys from them. A few times it popped up on the Eden forums. Of course, the cheery admin were quick to say this was false, citing the fact that there are two difference facilities for shipping and returns. In one of these posts I suggested that they add this information to their FAQ since it seemed to keep coming up. The answer? No, they wouldn’t. Can you say giant red flag? Edit: Added link to the thread where they state they won’t add this info to the FAQ. Okay, edit two. Within a few hours of me linking to that thread it magically disappeared. Classy, guys. No worries though. Here’s the copied response that was given:
Her loss. Sad as it is, that’s a pretty ridiculous line of thought to begin with and if anyone is spreading said rumors one should consider the source from which said rumors sprang.
There are always going to be haters. It just means we are so awesome they want to knock us off the pedestal.
That being said, we will not be adding anything to the FAQ or anywhere else to dispel said rumors. While this may seem like a counter intuitive response, we have our reasons.
Still, I believed they surely must have two facilities. Surely no sex toy store wouldn’t separate these things. It took very little research on the site to prove their stance wrong. All it took was a quick glace at a package from them and a look at their Returns page. The two separate facilities? Yeah, they’re both located at the same address. Same street, same number, same suite.
So what was Eden’s response when presented with this information?
The used toy thing is bullshit. I once received an envelope of concert tickets for a show one time that had water in it, a weird smell, and most of the paper inside the envelope had deteriorated and started to mold… were my tickets used? Lets be honest here, no company is going to sell used toys.
The thread is worth looking at for their response on a number of issues, but most disturbing is the fact that they do not deny having only one address. They do not provide some second facility location that must have somehow been overlooked in research. No, instead factual reports are dismissed as “bullshit” without any evidence, other than anecdotal, to refute it. The thread is closed to comments, left to be quickly buried in the spam.
Within an hour of that post, another fun one cropped up. This one continues to ignore the address issue and brings up another great topic: negative reviews. Or rather, how we should be “reporters” when we review and not focus so much on negative things. I’ve already made a statement on how I feel about that.
This whole thing makes me feel very stupid. I believed a lot of lies that were fed to me for much longer than I should have. I’ll own up to that. Maybe I’m gullible, maybe I didn’t want to see anything past points. Whatever the reason, my eyes are open now.
It’s not because of forum drama or poor treatment of members that you won’t see reviews for Eden anymore, even though those things piss me off like you don’t even know. It’s the lies and the unethical business practices. It’s the fact that I don’t want to continue to send customers somewhere they might end up buying something used thinking it’s new.
Like A Jelly Dildo
Now I come to my dilemma. I’m gonna use an analogy those reading this should understand. Telling you not to shop at Eden is like telling you not to buy a jelly dildo. I can tell you it’s unsafe, likely to burn your insides, and may even give you cancer. Many (hopefully most) of you will take that information and decide to buy something safer. Some of you, on the other hand, are gonna decide that spending only $10 on a dildo is more important.
I’m big on personal responsibility. Once you have the information, you have to decide what to do with it. I’ve given you the information I have. Now it’s up to you what to do.
I will take it one step further though. If you came to me and said there’s nothing I can say to stop you from buying that $10 jelly dildo, I’m gonna at least recommend you use a condom with it. So now I’m gonna give you the equivalent of a condom for buying from Eden.
If you must buy from them, here’s how. First and foremost, if you’re gonna buy more than one item, take advantage of the points. Hell, everyone else does. Secondly, do not pay full price. Eden runs anywhere from 4-6 different sales every week. There is no reason to pay retail on anything from there. Lastly, and most importantly, buy new releases. This limits the likelihood of you getting a used item. The new releases won’t likely be featured on regular sales, but every few weeks site wide coupons will come out which can then be used on new items.
Or Buy Silicone
There’s a better option than working the system over at Eden though. Give your money to companies that deserve it. From one stop shops to indie manufacturers, there are plenty of quality places to buy things from. Both SheVibe and Lovehoney have good selection, good prices, good sales, and on-site review programs. They, along with the other sites listed here, are the silicone to Eden’s jelly. No condom or intricate system required.
Well, that was quick. I updated this post with the link to the thread discussing the FAQ early in the morning on 12/9/13 (original post dated 12/8/2013). Within maybe an hour tops I was notified that they took the thread down. I was running some errands at the time, but when I got home I tried to go on Eden. The site wouldn’t load. Not a case of “I can’t login.” The whole site literally would not load. A quick check on Twitter confirmed that others could access the site. Apparently they blocked my IP from accessing any part of Eden. ‘Cause, you know, I might spy or something.
Like the rest of the world, I have a cell phone. An attempt to login from there gave me the error “Your account has been locked. Please call [some number].” Beck, who made a post shortly after mine, had the same problem. For a while we both thought they had shut us out without notification, but emails were found in spam.
So apparently “disabled” is the word we’re using. I have no idea what this means in terms of if this is permanent or temporary. I emailed for clarification and was told it “means that your account is no longer active.” Which didn’t really answer the question I had, but okay. I emailed again and have yet to receive a response.
Let me take a moment to draw your attention to the text in the email for a second. “Due to numerous violations of the Eden EOC.” Okay, just no. I have never gotten a warning for any activity on the site. The only flags ever thrown on me were in the ridiculous positive review thread. Two on a post where I said Dangerous Lilly’s blog post on negative reviews should be required reading for reviewers. One marked “spam” and one marked “I’m personally offended by this post.” So yeah, that’s just not valid. I then posted that the flags weren’t valid, that it was hilarious to even flag them (’cause it was), and also that throwing up flags for no reason was against the EOC. That post was then flagged. Twice.
I never got any email from admin discussing those flags or issuing me a warning or anything. We can rule out “numerous violations” to somehow mean “repeat offender.”
What activities can result in an instant “disabled” account, as per the EOC?
There are some actions that can result in immediate suspension or banning: defamation, bullying, threatening, spam content, fake/spam reviews, and plagiarism. These will be decided on a case by case basis. Depending on the activities in question, we reserve the right to temporarily disable your account pending your response to an e-mail from us to prevent further abuse from occurring. You will also be issued an official warning and that will remain in effect even after your account has been reinstated.
Here’s where I have a multitude of issues. The first thing that set me off was that “fake/spam reviews” and “plagiarism” are listed in there, but I have watched both of these go on without banning. There was one member who was a few fake reviews shy of 100, literally posting up to 5 a day. But, ya know, let’s just let that go on for a while. I literally lost count of the number of plagiarized reviews posted or I’d offer you a list. Clearly the “immediate suspension” rules have a lot of lax in that “case by case basis” clause.
Since I’ve never bullied, threatened, posted spam or fake reviews, or plagiarized, that leaves the one I’m guess they’re citing me on: defamation. Which is where my next big issue comes in.
to harm the reputation of by libel or slander
In order to prove libel:
There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, first, the person must prove that the statement was false. Second, the person must prove that the statement caused harm. Third, the person must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. (Via Wikipedia)
So, no, my post wouldn’t fall into the insta-ban “defamation” category because:
1) Everything I said was fact. Most everything documented with links, though some have since been removed. I did not say “Eden is selling used toys on purpose” nor even “I know Eden sells used toys.” I said there are not the two addresses they claim, which you can verify for yourself. I said it has been reported that people have received what appears to be used toys. You can put those two FACTS together and come to whatever conclusion you want with ‘em.
2) Clearly I put research into the statements, as there are multiple links that span a number of YEARS.
But let’s just say I was on here making up all sorts of random shit rather than posting well researched facts. Even then, that counts as ONE violation of EOC, not numerous ones. WORST CASE scenario is one violation and that one isn’t even valid.
I’d love to know what they’re claiming are my “numerous violations.” I seriously debated emailing and asking, but somehow I know I’d get some asinine response and you know what? It’s just not even worth the migraine I’d get from reading it.
I have emailed about the time span of my “disabled” account as well as verifying that my commissions would be paid to me in the most polite and civil manner I could muster for a company that booted me for honesty. I’ve been told I will get my commissions, though now I have no way to track them anymore. I’d like access to my Affiliate Dashboard back, even if the account remains blocked from everything else on the site. Somehow I don’t think that’s gonna happen, but whatever.
I have been told that previous members whose accounts were marked “disabled” were told they would be reinstated upon signing what amounts to a hush contract. I’m not doing that, so I guess we’ll see if the account ever gets open again. At this point, just pay me my commissions and we’re cool. I don’t want any part of the forums, or the reviews, or the site. I just want what I’ve earned and anything earned in the future.
So that was my day today. One for the books, right? Thanks for that, Eden.
I’m also ever so slightly sad about not getting an epic banning post like Epiphora did. Of course, because that post didn’t quite go the way they had hoped, I’m sure. Also because posting about banning me would just send people over here to see why. Instead they’re going the “sweep it under the rug” route, which just makes me even more certain they are hiding stuff.
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