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Thorne in Your Side

The Best Reviews Money Can't Buy

This week the FTC did something that if in forced, should have a pretty dynamic impact on the online adult press - They ruled that if you take money or other renumeration for giving something a good review you MUST disclose it or face up to a $11,000.00 fine.

One of the longstanding tenants of XCritic has been complete and total honesty in our reviews sometimes brutal honesty. Our reviewers are completely disconnected from the Adult Industry. They don't aspire to become porn stars or porn producers, they don't take kickbacks and they have no window into who advertises on the site and who doesn't. They are as autonomous as reviewers can be.

TThis has been an extremely infuriating situation for some adult studios who run under the expectation that porn reviews and ratings can and will be bought.  I don't want to point fingers at any organizations or sites for setting this precedent, many have developed that reputation for themselves. 

Honestly it shouldn't matter if a publication offers this, studios are the ones who need to take the responsibility not to ask for this, not to expect it and not to perpetuate it.  It's a massively important issue and one of the very reasons why the adult industry is in its current slump.

Here's the issue: When a consumer comes to a review site or publication to find out what is good and what is bad it's the responsibility of that publication to HONESTLY let them know. If a piece of shit is recommended to them and they go off and spend their hard earned money (and in this economy every dollar is hard earned), plop in that adult title and find out that it is indeed shit, then they begin to get the perception that ALL PORN is shit. After all here's a title that's been rated highly... So it must then be representative of the other high rated porn out there, and conversely that must be shit. So why pay for it when equivalent shit is available on the tube sites FOR FREE. 

Add on to this fact that the people who produce and star in the porn may not be aware that the reviews of their stuff have been bought and then you get a pool of creative people who think that their shit doesn't stink. If all the movies you produce get high ratings is there really any motivation to improve what you do?  

It's a house of cards, and that house of cards has begun to fold onto it self. Consumers think that all porn is crappy, producers think all their porn is great and studios think they can continue to buy good reviews. Not here.

It's time for the industry to recognize that we are in a new era of adult entertainment where the old rules and tools no longer work.  The porn tube sites have made mediocre porn a dead business model.  If adult studios are going to survive it's going to be because they are able to produce content that some shmoe with a flip video camera can't.  This starts with opening the doors to open, honest and constructive criticism of the work that's out there. Porn producers need to start recognizing their job security lies in their ability to use the tools at their disposal to make a product that is far superior to anything an amateur can produce.

This means well shot, well lit and well thought out porn with the cream of the crop performers having sex in a way no amateur can. The adult industry is now in the business of producing a premium product and it needs to act that way. The era of 'if we shoot it they will cum' is over. The tube sites and user generated adult content is here to stay and the only way to build a business in that environment is to produce something that people WILL pay for.  

An essential element in this equation is an adult press who openly and honestly assess when the industry hits its mark and when it can improve.  This is something that studios need to support, even when it stings the egos of those behind the lens. For good criticism can help elevate, it can help point out where to improve and it can reward the hard work of those who produce the very best, the kind of content that people will gladly and eagerly pay for.

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