|Written in||Ruby on Rails|
|Type of site||Adult Social Networking|
FetLife is a social networking website that serves people interested in BDSM, fetishism, and kink. On its homepage, FetLife describes itself as, "Similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me." FetLife distinguishes itself from competitors by emphasizing itself as a social network rather than a dating site.
FetLife was launched in January 2008 by John Baku, a software engineer in Montreal, Quebec. Frustrated by attempts to find women who had the same sexual interests as he did, Baku created a website in 2007 called “FriendsWithFetishes”. While working on release 2.0 of FriendsWithFetishes, Baku decided to launch it as a separate site and named it FetLife.
In 2012, FetLife found itself at the center of a controversy regarding its policy that users pledge not to "make criminal accusations against another member in a public forum," which many of its users object to on the basis that it prevents them from warning other users of alleged rapists, murderers, and sexual predators who frequent the site.
Members may create a personal profile and list which fetishes they are "into" or are "curious about." The search feature is deliberately limited to prevent members from finding users with specific characteristics, such as age, sex, or location. Members can also upload pictures and videos, including sexually explicit ones often rejected by other sites. They can write journal entries (called Writings), and send and receive private messages (called Conversations) with other members. Users can create "fetishes" both for genuine and satirical purposes.
Groups on FetLife are subject categories in which users may start Discussions. Members must join the particular group in order to comment on "Discussion" threads. Events are listings of in-person events such as conventions, workshops, parties, and meetings to which members can RSVP as going or maybe going.
An account is required to view content on FetLife, although since membership is free, the level of privacy offered by the site is minimal. In practice, this means the site is not indexed by search engines and, partly because of this, critics have argued that FetLife presents itself as being more private than it is.
- "FetLife Home Page". Retrieved 2013-05-11.
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