Experienced Experimentalists

Ariana Rodriguez

Alex and Suzanne, a U.K.-based couple, started their online journey with a personal blog dedicated the exploration of all things sex. A flood of requests turned their attention to sex toy reviewing, and thus was born. The site has evolved into a dynamic resource, offering honest reviews that bring out the best of every item, a mobile-friendly format and a monthly Buzz Club newsletter that broadens the exposure of its sponsors’ brands and awards recipients with free toys. Named Best Online Resource at the 2011 Erotic Trade Only Awards, looks to a New Year of success — but first sits down with XBIZ to talk about the inspiration, goals and future of its influential online presence.

When did you launch your first blog? What inspired it? What was your goal then and how has your inspiration for blogging evolved?

We were the first sex toy review site to offer a mobile device aware website and have been refining this since the mobile-friendly feature was first introduced three years ago.

Our first blog was in April 2005. We started it as a personal blog to explore our sexuality, finding out more about ourselves and the sex lives of others via the web. We knew we would learn more about sex but never imagined just where that first blog posting would take us. We’ve always been an open-minded and adventurous couple but once we had dipped our toe into the stream of adult blogging we were swept away, willingly with the huge momentum of the burgeoning self-published adult media.

We went from fresh-faced newbies simply wanting to explore to full-on 24-7 participants in the space of a few weeks and things haven’t stopped evolving since. We still find the online interactions sexually exciting but now we have a real-world presence too in the form of our sex toy, adult product and DVD reviewing.

Describe What info do you share with readers?

We started our site Sex Toys Buzz because of overwhelming demand from sex toy retailers. We had been reviewing sex toys on our own adult blog for several years and were turning down more and more requests for reviews and advertising because of an exclusive agreement we have with our current advertisers on that site. Even if we hadn’t had that restriction on we felt that we did not want to cover our own blog with ads, so we set up

Starting out from just the sex toy reviews from various retailers and manufacturers we soon expanded into providing a newsletter for our rapidly growing readership. This allows us to promote our clients to a targeted group of genuinely interested prospective buyers and gives subscribers the chance to win sex toys and adult products every month.

Our reviews are both fun, informative and inventive, offering advice on use of the products we test along with how to get the best out of them. There is something for everyone as the reviews are mainly written as an encounter, providing titillation too for those who don’t tend to buy toys.

What is your motivation behind reviewing sex toys? How does it serve consumers (and manufacturers)? What value do they offer?

On the subject of manufacturers it’s worth noting that we tend to be the first people in the U.K., Europe and occasionally worldwide to review new sex toys and we do on a regular basis have new models shipped direct to us before trade launches. For example we were the first to review the original We-Vibe in Europe and have been involved with product development for a number of companies. Sex Toys Buzz is a name that is trusted by developers, manufacturers and toy retailers — several of whom have stated their decision to stock new toys is based in no small part on our reviews.

We have produced a number of videos as teasers for our reviews but found that the written reviews themselves proved more popular, probably because they are more informative about how a product performs when we test it and how it makes us feel. Our readership really do identify with our style of writing which is informative, personal and utterly explicit about our experiences during the testing process.

We were the first sex toy review site to offer a mobile device aware website and have been refining this since the mobile-friendly feature was first introduced three years ago.

Adult DVD and online adult media reviews came next partly with our personal interest in pornography/erotica and partly because of our friendship with a number of figures within the porn industry including producers, directors and performers. We now review for retailers and studios including Harmony, Evil Angel, ATV, Viv Thomas and many others.

We never stand still; in 2012 we will be adding even more advanced features to the STB site. We would love to say more but we always like to stay one step ahead of everyone else so for now that stays under wraps, LOL.

As for the future we will always stay one step ahead of the rest of the testing sites out there by using the latest technologies and spotting the newest trends when they appear. That way our readers get the latest reviews delivered to them first on and our advertisers have a trusted and efficient channel through which they can promote their products.

We are respected by the general public and industry alike and were delighted to be voted Best Online Resource at the Erotic Trade Only show, voted for by the adult industry itself. A fine accolade indeed, it’s been a good year for Sex Toys Buzz and we know that success will continue in to 2012.

How would you describe your relationship with your readers? Do you communicate with them (and how)?

We use the site itself, email, the newsletter and social media such as Facebook and Twitter to let our readers know what we are up to. And readers tend to interact, providing suggestions for product review and emailing us questions if they require a personal response.

What do you think it takes to be a good blogger (as far as skills, experience, knowledge)?

Of course we can only say what we think makes us good bloggers.

We believe we offer an honest appraisal of the sex toys and products we review. We do criticize and where necessary warn prospective users away from buying a product or at least using it in a way that they would not find effective. However we tend to emphasise the positive aspects of a toy, telling our readers what we enjoyed while using it and try not to be too negative because a product that does not work in a certain way for us might be perfect for someone else.

Having an extensive knowledge of the products we review means that people trust us and that’s important online because the vast majority of the thousands of people who visit our sites every month will never meet us. Our readers know we speak from experience and haven’t just popped up from nowhere with a couple of vibrator reviews to pedal. That’s the attitude we have always taken, we only write about what we know, we write honestly and let the readers into the most personal aspects of our lives.