Why have we been running it for several years now, even though it doesn’t feed us? Why do we test adult toys and constantly provocatively search for new products (books, TV and film)? How does lascero.com source merchandise for reviews? How does the site make money? How do we test toys? You can find out all this in our illuminating article – which surely should have been here from the start.
Lascero.com was founded 7 years ago (more on the origins in the About the Project section) and the only person who has lasted is me, as editor-in-chief. The rest of the editorial staff is constantly changing, editors and testers come and go, respond to emails (and don’t), and so on and on. But why all this if it doesn’t feed any of us?
Why does Lascero still work
A nice question that has been helping me in recent months is WHY. This project is not about money (see below), nor is it about prestige … All I can say for why Lascero still exists is fun and the desire to explore something new. There is always something to write about, test, review – but often even enthusiasm is not enough. That’s why you often see time gaps between articles.
How do we acquire toys?
In the beginning, we bought 100% of our toys with our own money. And believe me, it’s no fun to test (and most importantly pay for) about 1-7,000 CZK worth of toys per month. We’ve been doing this for 2 years of our existence.
When Lascero.com was quite stable on the Czech market, even sex shops started to notice us. We started to make arrangements with them for special discounts on toys if we refer to them from the review.
So we had to pay (and still do, actually) even if it was a third less for toys. The fact that we got a cut of the toy’s price fortunately never obliged us to write what we really thought of the toy. And our appetite and rigor grew throughout all the testing. However, we’ve now had more than 100 toys under our belt. Previously, we didn’t mind the gel material, the tedious use and the unthought-out controls. However, this quickly stopped:)
Why own photos and videos?
We used to use original e-shop photos – we didn’t have our own equipment and didn’t really care about the articles any more. It’s just that readers were asking for them. So we started creating something that the e-stores themselves had been doing for years – we took and shot original photos of new toys and gadgets. We have over a few hundred videos on our YouTube profile, and together they’ve had over 3 million views. You can see how the quality of the videos has risen/fallen since the beginning.
With custom photos, you can get to know a product from the Erotic Toy Reviews section many times more than just from the boring manufacturer photos that every sex shop has. And thanks to them, you can even better choose the most suitable toy for yourself.
How do we test toys?
When making the actual selection, it’s important that we have as many types and brands as possible in the review section of the magazine – variety is key. Otherwise, we can’t offer you sufficient feedback and advise you, in any of the rankings announced, which toys are worth buying:
Once we’ve selected the toy, ordered and paid for it, we take a picture/photo of it and hand it over to one of the editors. Couple toys to those who are in a couple of course – women’s toys are tested by girls, men’s by guys, and occasionally the reviews include opinions from the other sex – the editor’s partner for example.
What is important to us in reviews?
- Materials used,
- quality of workmanship,
- control methods,
- functions (vibration, rotation, heating, vacuum, …),
- type of charging (if the toy has one)
- lasting for 1 charge (if the toy has one)
- pair use (lesbian/gay and straight)
- and price.
All in all, we have a quality mix of each toy that we compare to the others – reviewers can’t be beginners. They love toys, they love discovering new ones, and they can also compare because they’ve tried a lot.
In a special post, we answered our readers’ most common questions about real sex toy reviews.
Length of Testing
In actual testing, we test toys for about 3 weeks to a few months – trying to find out how they work, how they charge, how they handle and of course how they are used. We compare them to past pieces and look for similar advantages (or flaws).
We address materials, workmanship and longevity. We’ve capitalized on quite a bit of our experience with different materials, brands, and types of toys in writing the updated 2. “edition” of the e-book How to Choose a Sex Toy. It may not seem like it, but being a sex toy tester is not an easy “job”. Most importantly, the bar is constantly rising and just about anything won’t impress you and knock you off your feet. So it’s getting harder and harder to please us.
Technique for Review
For shooting and filming – we currently use a Canon EOS 80D camera (+ fixed 50mm and 24mm lenses). Previously, it was a Canon PC1106 and a SONY HDR-CX160E digital camera capable of shooting in HD quality, even an HTC Desire Z mobile phone, iPhone 4s, iPad Mini 4 (especially for erotic event reports) or a borrowed Canon EOS 70D DSLR (for example, for Bondage tutorials). For still photos, we use a Joby GorillaPod mobile tripod.
As background we use a mix of white, black and red velvet = exactly the colors of our logo. 🙂
We used to use a simple plain A6 white quarter paper – it’s quite visible in the different quality of the photos and the videos themselves. In the future, there are plans for a photo booth or straight photo table to make it easier to take pictures of all sex toys (of any size and shape).
To edit videos we use free tools like GIMP, High Quality Photo Resizer and Videopad Editor.
How does the site monetize?
Now, first of all, you will learn how the project does/does not earn… How is it actually possible that there are no distracting flashing advertising banners to entice you to buy who knows what? Find out in this article…
Surely you’ve wondered if all toy reviews aren’t bribed by retailers and manufacturers – yes it would be the way to go – and yes it would be easy. It’s just that in the long run (for us it’s been 4 years long) you can’t do it unbiasedly like that. So no – reviews are not bribed, we don’t hide the downsides of toys, we hit them nicely when there is an opportunity. And that a lot of toys have solid drawbacks, even though they cost a few thousand.
Lascero.com has costs all the time – we have to pay:
- toy reviews (admittedly often only 2/3 the price),
- own hosting/server for stable site operation,
- external graphic designer and developer,
- emailing tool,
- and promotion on external websites (so that as many Czechs as possible know about us).
So how exactly does Lascero make us money if there are no underpaid reviews? There used to be several paid advertising links in the sidebar (and two more on the main page). But we’ve removed all of those ad spaces.
The main income of Lascero magazine is received affiliate cooperation – selected e-shops offer a certain commission on the price of the toy (5-25% excluding VAT) for arranging the sale. This price is not paid by you, it does not increase the final price of the product – it is always deducted from the merchant’s margin.
To check that, prices through “us”are the same as with a “pure” link:
We even added the phrase “By buying here, you support the creation of new reviews and tests” to the review results – because that’s exactly what it is. When you go through the links at the ends of the reviews and buy a product (perhaps one recommended by us or another), we get a commission on that order.
And again – we want Lascero to be a long-term project, so we can’t recommend low-quality (albeit well-sold) toys to you – it would backfire and you, as our readers, would never trust us again. We will never allow that.
So we have expenses and income – how are they related? For the first 3 years, we simply subsidised the project out of our own pocket. The low notoriety of our site, few reviews, not quite polished texts – this resulted in us not being able to afford much in the way of toys or pop-ups.
Things have gotten better and better in the last year or so – we have a balanced budget. Basically, everything we make in commissions we put into reviews and promotion, or better equipment (camera and camcorder) – otherwise we couldn’t afford to buy toys like We-vibe 4, Fun Factory Stronic, We-Vibe Thrill and a host of others that you just can’t get for a few hundred or lower thousands.
In the language of numbers – the turnover of the magazine is about 40 000 CZK – when you budget it for 1 month, it comes out to about 3 333 CZK – you will admit that it is not a big amount. Especially when we have to pay for toys (and often in one month for more than we “earn”).
You can help us too
Hopefully, with this article, you’ll forgive us for the occasional gaps between articles – it’s unfortunately not easy to dedicate yourself to just one project out of sheer enthusiasm and a desire to explore everything. Especially when, even after years, we see that it’s not an outright commercial field and it doesn’t make a living. And we are probably the biggest of all.
But we’re hanging in there! And we thank you for following us. Whether it’s on the site itself, via RSS or Youtube channel, Facebook profile, or subscribing to our newsletter with the latest e-shop discounts.
Please be loyal to us. If you would like to get involved with Lascero in any way we would be only too happy – do you have your own toy reviews? Here they are! Want to contribute an article? Thank you! Even if you don’t have anything to offer, at least help us by mentioning or recommending us to your friends. It doesn’t cost you anything and you will help us a lot.
Erotica and sex toys are still taboo, so they don’t get talked about much – stir up the stagnant waters and help our lascivious site. Thank you for reading this far:)