For the last couple of month I have been running tests and collecting feedback from selected readers about the design of the website. The main points of criticism were:
- Due to the static welcome page new content is hard to find
- The category landing pages are just ugly
- The way pictures cramped at the top of the articles look bad
- The light box is not working properly
- Especially in longer articles the layout could be better
Embarrassingly I had to agree to all points of criticism. Most of them were due to me not being able to deal with WordPress correctly. As you might have seen from today’s posting I have started addressing them and spent some time last week finding plug-ins that work for me in order to make the articles more attractive. Over the next couple of weeks there will be some additional changes to the website. And MAYBE (that is a big maybe) the comment function will be reactivated. So stay tuned and check back on ToyTorture.com in a couple of days.
I am delighted to announce that after weeks of negotiation Amazon.com is acquiring ToyTorture.com per April 1st 2013.
With last year’s success of “Fifty Shades of Grey” BDSM has entered the cultural main stream making more and more people curious of kinky sexual activities. Through its success the book was one of the best selling items on Amazon’s websites throughout the world drawing attention to the newly developed market of kinky items for the average person. In Amazon’s strive to deliver the customer a wide selection of products satisfying the most discriminating demands they looked for an expert source on BDSM toys not only to improve their purchasing competencies but also to give their customers a source of orientation.
In the few months after its launch ToyTorture.com has become one of the internet’s premiere websites testing BDSM toys. It attracts readers from all over the world serving them with reliable and independent reviews and thus making itself a perfect addition to Amazon.com’s portfolio of special interests sites. I am proud that so shortly after its lunch ToyTorture.com joins the ranks of famous and important websites like IMDb, dpreview.com or goodread.com belonging to Amazon.com.
I will remain editor of this website but look forward to benefit from the knowhow and resourced Amazon.com has to offer in order to improve the quality and experience on this website even more. It is still yet to determine how ToyTorture.com will be integrated into Amazon’s network. Please visit this website for further updates.
I know this blog entry has been promised for a long time and finally today during my lunch break I found some moments to articulate my thoughts.
After the test of the Mister S Talon Eagle Clamps I was a bit shocked: The clamps are good toy for experienced pain pigs and it only scored in the mid 7s. So I took a look at other toys I haven’t tested yet and scored them. The result was devastating. Even the ones I considered real good toys scored below 8. I wanted them to score better, but the numbers didn’t add up which got me thinking: How good is the rating system?
After a deep and critical look I came to the conclusion: It is not very good. Every toy I own is “up to the task”, even the bad ones so every toy should score 10 on this category. So the task score was influenced by other criteria which got own categories. And looking at the other ones I came to the conclusion that the rating is more subjective than I want it to be in all categories. In the end it comes down to question: Does the toy what I want it to do? And this can’t be the answer to the question if the toy is good for the reader.
Before starting this website I knew that toys can hardly be measures with objective criteria but I wasn’t aware of how difficult it was. So I need a new, more qualitative approach: The test will feature descriptions of how the toy performs in all important areas like security, handling, etc. so that everybody can decide if the performance in a specific category influences the usefulness of the toy for oneself. I hope that this new testing modus will create easier to understand and more universal reviews.
If you have any thoughts or advice for me on this topic, please let me know.
Some reader might have noticed: I have joined the Mr S Leather Affiliate Program. But since on this site also tests of products from Mr S Leather are presented I think it is worth to write a bit about why I have joined the program and what changes it might inflict on this site.
When getting in contact with the folks at Mr S for the first item of the desiderate section they invited me to join the program and after reading through the benefits and conditions I decided to join. I did so because of three reasons:
- A lot of American readers ask me where to get the stuff tested on this website in the USA because they don’t want to pay high shipping and custom duties when from European stores. So after a little research and a survey under my American friends I ended up with Mr S being the best online source for BDSM toys in the USA. This was one of the reasons why I wrote the article about basic toys and only linked products from Mr S.
- As some of you may know I will spend a semester abroad next spring. If everything plays out the way it want it to, I will visit San Francisco and I already have a way too long list of items I want to get from Mr S. Since being a student, money is always tight and every dollar of store credit will make my visit to the West Coast more fun. So if you need something from Mr S feel free to use this link 😉
- Running this site costs a bit of money and a bit more of time. So if my reviews get someone in the USA to buy himself a toy, I take the liberty of offering him the chance of giving something back to me for the effort of writing a review.
So, how will this program influence this site? A bit but not much. All toy tests will still be as objective as my subjective opinion can be (what a nice oxymoron). This means, only because I might get some store credit from Mr S it will not influence how a toy will perform. Also due to limited access to their products you will not only see Mr S’ toys tested– even though I would like to test some but can’t get my hands on them yet. What will come are links under reviews of products from other stores called “Get a similar product from Mr S Leather” when Mr S carries a similar product. This will hopefully decrease a bit the e-mail inquiries coming from the US asking where to get the product at the other site of the Atlantic Ocean.
Everything else will stay the same. Also: Don’t feel intimidate to write to me. I appreciate every comment, e-mail, tweet, even the ones asking me where to get certain toys.
Today I got my final placement for my semester abroad: I will attend North Park University in Chicago! I have been to Chicago for a couple of day during my exchange year when I was still in school and I instantly fell in love with this great city, so I was thrilled when I got the news that I will be spending an entire semester there. Also the college seems to be good: A good faculty-student-ratio and good access to public transport. However: North Park is a Christian university. This will be an interesting experience for me and the university and as well. If any Chicago kinkster, rubber fetishists or BDSM guys are reading this blog, I would love to hear all about the Chicago scene. I already know the Chicago Rubber Men and followed them instantly at Twitter. But I think there is more to know about the Chicago scene.
Getting this info also means a lot of work for me: Booking flights, organizing stuff in advance, getting immunizations, etc. Besides that I have one of Hamburg’s best tops coming for a visit for an enhanced weekend. So I sadly currently have other things on my mind than this website. I am still working on the update on the rating but it will probably take some additional days. Despite still working on the text, I already took numbers out of the rating chart at the end of the reviews because I haven’t come up with a way to make them work yet. As soon as I figure out how to make the charts go, I will also delete them 😀
Last but not least: I sent of the first e-mail asking for the permission to feature pictures from a web shop in the new category Desiderates. I am quite excited how the response will be.