Sexuality Happens

Eden Fantasys: Not A Place I Trust

There have been a fuck ton of posts this week about what’s currently going on, and has been going on for years at Eden Fantasys. They are written by bloggers, reviewers, educators and former employees. More keep popping up. Who’s writing these?

AAG

Ask Garnet

That Toy Chick

Sarah Sloane

Sarah Bear

Epiphora

Brit Is Shameless

And others. I, of course, wrote one solitary post on them back in 2008, and then was accused of libel and slander, despite what I feel was a fairly upbeat ending. When that happened, AAG and That Toy Chick and I seemed to be alone in our plight, supported by a few others (including those associated with the sex blogger calendar, and whose info was leaked), and I was ridiculed via email for caring that a company that wanted to re-sell generic Chinese sex toys as brand name, who was angry at me for having a blog outside of work (which I had before I started), for taking a friend/victim of domestic violence to the ER, you name it. I was told I was being silly.

And now, it has all surfaced again.  EF has banned, with seemingly little reason, one of their top reviewers/forum participants from everything.

I’ll put out this: I do not know Epiphora. I respect her as a reviewer, and a blogger.  However, we haven’t ever chatted much, I don’t always read her site, and while I know of her and about her, I wouldn’t consider her a friend. This post is not written in anger of her banning (although I strongly feel she deserves to know exactly why, and aruge for reinstatement if she’d like, and at least her affiliate money), but more so, this post is  just reminding people of this history behind this company of silencing and screwing over members of OUR sex-positive and OUR blogging community.

A list?

Let’s see. AAG had to take them to court to try and get the remainder of her pay which they denied her, and then they screwed her over by sending an expensive lawyer to the midwest to try and prove that she had to sue the company rather than the owner, and do it in NJ. I promise that cost them a lot more than the $1200 they owed her, but they did it. AAG STILL hasn’t gotten her last 2 weeks of pay.

They tried to get out of paying me hundreds in affiliate money, claiming they had shut my account months earlier. When I sent them screen shots taken that day of my open account with money in it, they had their current affiliate manager sending me a strongly worded hurtful letter, accusing me of slander and libel.  Everything I said could be backed up by other employees, and I told them this. I got paid.

The Cock Wrangler, who was my replacement, was screwed over by them.  He’ll be putting up a post on AAG’s blog shortly.

That Toy Chick had to get multiple people involved to get her back pay. A woman from the government helping out TTC recused herself from TTC’s case because the owner (Fred Petrenko) was so vile and misogynistic to her.

Sarah Sloane left her full time position. I don’t know why, but I know Sarah and I know she is very dedicated to any job she does, so I’m going to assume (not say, but assume) that she fell victim to Fred’s common “I say one thing, in writing, and you do it, and I change my mind, and get angry at you” ploy, or to the “I’m not going to pay you what you’ve earned” schtick, or something else equally frustrating that many (not all, but many) EF employees have to put up with at some point..

Matthew, so I hear, needed to take emergency time for family. I’m not sure of the details, nor will I share them if I hear them. It doesn’t matter – family emergencies fall in the same category as domestic violence emergencies in my mind.  He was fired, just as I was yelled at for taking my friend to the ER and to file a police report (having told the boss I was doing so).

Delilah Douglas was there before I was — she hired me to help her out. She was “let go” randomly one day, about 4 months after I started. Why? Because he thought I was doing a better job and she was being “lazy” by fact checking and editing reviews, articles, etc.

That’s a lot of people who actually worked for them, aside from reviewers, members, etc.

I worked there for 1.5 years. I took my work home with me, and put in multiple extra hours on the weekends, I promoted it everywhere, I used my blog status to get other bloggers involved. I gave my heart to EF. I was instrumental in creating the profiles online, the online forums, the ability to be ranked, the have vrooms and bees, to learn about materials.  I wanted EF to be the best.

And it is the best site out there as far as functionality. I would never argue that point. Their custom made platform (made by web designers back in Moldova, at least while I was there) is rivaled by none. Fred’s son used to take the pictures, do the video, etc. I don’t know if he still does. Fred’s partner/girlfriend at the time used to be the head buyer, as well as run much of customer service, etc.  I don’t know if she still does. Keeping it in the family, and using cheaper out of county labor makes it much easier and cheaper to create an amazing site.  Giving people raises, and then taking it away a month or two later due to the “economy” (which happened to me and TTC, way before the recession), makes it cheaper. Adding things to job descriptions does the same. I was hired on as a review editor, and left as the PR Liason/Review Program Manager/Affiliate Manager/Community Outreach Educator…with no change in pay.

So no. There are no other sites that rival EF’s forums and searchability and materials listings.  Many don’t offer as high payouts on affiliate programs (although Fascinations just launched their affiliate program last week with 30% payout at GoFunLove.com and GoodVibes offers 25% for brand ambassadors with exclusivity). But other programs treat their staff well.

Babeland is known for doing so. Good Vibes is known for doing so. Smitten Kitten is known for doing so. Early to Bed, Tool Shed, Oh My, Enigma, Sugar, etc — they all have positive employee history. Heck, most of my Fascinations co-workers have been working for the company for between 4 years and 15 years.  At EF, very few non “in the family” people were there more than 9 months or a year.  What does that say?

There has been comment drama on other sites about phthalates. Lots of sites sell jelly toys. That is no what this is about.  This is about a company that treats their employees well, that treats the community well.

Not only did he blatantly outright lie in 2008 about never having had google docs (which I know multiple former employees will attest to), but then he said this, in the forums:

I can tell you that there are far more efficient ways to spend an advertising budget than via community support. You might be surprised by how insignificant the business generated by affiliate deals with sex blogs actually is.”

He doesn’t care about the sex blog community.  I was used to bring in bloggers on board because I could and because it helped get him traffic. AAG was the same way. Then they realized they could bring in big name bloggers by wooing them (see AAG’s post above) and get them to bring in other community members for free, without having to actually pay someone. How many people promote EF/Eden Cafe/Sexis on their blogs, on twitter, on facebook, as they are writing for them, or trying to win a toy, etc? Tons. For free.

Now all sites have similar review programs, contests, etc. It’s the age of social media. But how many sites also say publicly that they don’t care about the community, don’t need the community, lie about members of the community, block reviewers/forum posters without any information, etc.

Just take a second, and think about how many complaints you’ve heard about Babeland and their treatment of the community. How many have times have you heard something negative about Good Vibes and their community relationships? Have you ever heard of these places blantantly fucking over members of the community? I haven’t.

Yet there are countless people who have been mistreated by EdenFantasys, and those are only the vocal ones. The ones with blogs, the ones willing to stand up.  I’m sorry, but what does that say about a company?

I don’t shop at Walmart. Why? Because people spoke up about their mistreatment of employees, and I don’t support that. I try to shop local or at least regional whenever I can, because I can enquire as to how people are being treated. I no longer trust any claims that Walmart might try to make, because they’ve been proven to screw people over…over and over again.

I don’t shop at Eden Fantasys. Why? Because people (myself included) spoke up about the mistreatment of employees, and I don’t support that. I try to shop smaller sex toy stores/sites, where I can enquire as to how people are treated. I no longer trust any claims that EdenFantasys might try to make, because they have been show to screw over people, members of my community none the less, over and over again.

I am not telling you what to do. I’m just giving my opinion. I don’t judge those who shop at Walmart, and I don’t judge those who shop at EF. Just educate yourself first.

-Essin’ Em

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9 comments

9 Comments so far

  1. Naphtali May 17th, 2010 1:11 am

    How fucking disappointing. I really wanted to be a reviewer, but thanks a lot for the heads up!

    BTDubs, I’m not sure if I’ve commented on any other posts, but I’m a huge fan! I linked you to my blog. Hope that’s okay. If not, let me know and I’ll take it down. <3

  2. aagblog May 17th, 2010 6:46 am

    One small adjustment to what you said about my case.

    Fred didn’t send a lawyer out to me. Instead, he used his local lawyer to communicate about my case to a lawyer in my town. In essence he hired two layers of lawyers so that he could avoid paying for my work.

    Sigh.

  3. Britni TheVadgeWig May 17th, 2010 2:31 pm

    You know how I feel about this. And for him to say that he doesn’t care about the affiliates– when I look at my numbers for just the last two wees of commissions I generated for them just from my blog. Heh. He damn well should be caring because that’s a hell of a lot of money. And if he continues to treat people like this and lose all of us, people that generate sales like my blog did, that’s a lot of business to lose.

  4. Aida May 17th, 2010 3:47 pm

    All I can say is WTF.

    Sigh.

    I’ll probably keep using EF to get information about products (they DO have a fantastic site, and it’s super useful), but buy my toys elsewhere as much as I can manage. It’s so sad to me that they currently have the market cornered in terms of good-website-age and thus so many people keep turning to them even when they have such shady, shady business practices.

  5. Epiphora May 17th, 2010 4:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. You know first-hand what happened to people who actually worked there, and your experience is VERY valuable. Everyone who reviews toys should read this post.

  6. The Beautiful Kind May 18th, 2010 3:40 pm

    I’m sad to see the list of people cast from the garden of Eden. Your blog post is like reading the Old Testament, right down to the names.

  7. dominadoll May 20th, 2010 11:44 am

    I quit EF after what they did to you and AAG. You were the reason I joined EF in the first place and also the reason I quit reviewing. So, I am not surprised by this latest news of what they have done to Epiphora. It seems to be a recurring trend.

    I was however very surprised (astounded) to learn about how unethical and sneaky they have been after reading MayMay’s post with their fake links-
    http://maybemaimed.com/2010/05/19/edenfantasyss-unethical-technology-is-a-self-referential-black-hole

    In my mind, this is unethical linking practices, and I hope Google penalizes them for it. Worse however, is their treatment of individuals, especially those who worked for them, and the way they have mislead and misused their bloggers/writers and employees only goes to prove how shady they really are.

    And, I also want to thank you for saying nice things about me and the Sextoy.com Reviewers Program on http://britisshameless.com/2010/05/bad-move-eden-fantasys/. I’ve worked very hard to be honest and open and fair with all our reviewers, and to provide a good program for reviewing sex toys.

  8. Amber May 20th, 2010 3:29 pm

    Well written post. I reviewed all of maybe 2 or 3 times for EF and quit them a year or so ago, I won’t air my opinion here in your comments, but safe to say I just never felt right about their service or their company policies.

  9. A. June 26th, 2010 5:41 pm

    I’ve been hanging around EF for awhile now, never joined, but looked around enough to familiarize myself with the top contributors’ names and whatnot. Gradually noticing how many of them seemed to not come on anymore. Prompting further investigation.

    Ephiphora’s banning unearthed a whole slew of poor practices on the part of this company. I think I still will not be joining EF. Thanks for this post and your relation of your, and others’, experiences – it’s a useful warning.

    And on a more personal note – thanks, more than you know, for not bothering with Walmart. It’s ironic, these companies that claim a concern for the community.

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