Launched in 2008, fetlife describes itself as a community of kinksters by kinksters. By the end of 2012, the member count was over 1,700,000 users. Fuelled by those into the scene, those curious, and those that have read the 50 Shades trilogy. It certainly seems to be the place to be… or is it?
Claims about lack of safety and bullying on the network are rife. There are countless stories to be told. Moderators are known to have breached users privacy by sharing private email addresses of popular female members at fetlife gatherings. Some of this information was used to locate a person’s home.
Another occasion, a young lady in Belfast took to fetlife to share an unpleasant experience she had. She told how she had been assaulted on a night out. Instead of words of kindness from her ‘community’, she was told by fellow members that it was all her fault because she ‘smiled’. Read more of this story here: http://jezebel.com/5958113/kink-community-tells-sexual-assault-victims-its-all-their-fault
If you’re new to the scene, you’re out of luck.
Other fine tales tell of younger folk with a genuine interest. When they join groups with the aim to learn more and further themselves they get told they are sluts, that they should not be on the site. On one occasion, a young looking girl was banned from the site within an hour of posting an introduction which then recieved in comments that belong in the domain of pedophilia. Instead of banning the commenters, the girl herself was banned.
Fetlife claims that their community is safe. However, this claim is false. In reality, no social network is safe. Most social networks take action based on cyber bullies whom are often banned. But, not on fetlife. Speak out about about the way you or others are treated and you will soon find yourself in trouble.
On Christmas day 2012 a frustrated fetlife user posted this open letter on fetlifes facebook wall:
All I want is peace, safety and the ability to trust you when I’m being a victim of Cyberbullying.
I don’t want enemies, I don’t want wannabe Kinksters and I definitely don’t fucking want psychotic serial killers running around on your website, making me feel unsafe about having a awesome and fun SSC kinky lifestyle that was supposed to promise awesome adventures in KinkLand…
Instead it’s become a breeding grounds of sorts for psychopathic predators.
John Baku, you are not fit to run FetLife if you continue to let Cyberbullying go on longer and you let it all go too far and it rots in Internet Hell.
So I started this:
You’re finished. Expect a subpoena soon.
Amy Draconian Lovecraft (Known as MurderedLove on FetLife)
Amy then followed this up with the following announcement the very next day:
‘I’m leaving FetLife.com today! Yay! I’ll be a proud member of CollarMe, Homemade BDSM, SlaveRegister, bondage.com and BDSMFriendBook effective immediately today since FetLife’s just a baby wannabe Kinkster website who doesn’t care about real BDSM. If you wish to add me on my new profiles, hit me up. No more drama from the wannabe Kinksters, no more Cyberbullying torment from predatory assholes, no more serial killers, no more flakes who is obviously vanilla folks and no more bullshit! Yay!’
As of today, (28th Jan 2013) Fetlife have not commented on the facebook posts, yet suprisingly, they haven’t removed them either.
Amy isn’t the first to make such comments, others are leaving in droves. Fetlife’s community is no longer a kink one, the real kinksters are leaving for other alternatives. They are fearful of being tarnished by these countless tales. If fetlife doesnt change its ways soon, its bubble is going to pop.
What are the alternatives?
Amy mentioned the following “CollarMe, Homemade BDSM, SlaveRegister, bondage.com and BDSMFriendBook” However, Amy missed another: kinkpeeps.com (now rebranded as bdsmspace)
Maybe Amy hasn’t heard of it. Not suprising because kinkpeeps is probably one of the internets bestkept secrets. They have a very strict anti-bullying, anti-trolling policy. It also has a more social network feel to it and perhaps more feature-rich.
Edit: Since the original publication, fetlife claim to be investigating and clearing up the problems with greeters, pedophiliac comments and several other issues. It appears they are trying to correct some wrongs, but have they shot themselves in the openly admitting to allowing some pedophilia content? Not wanting to be tainted, I myself have removed my profile from the site and joined one of the newer up-comming sites.
Edit: Updated for clarity.
If you have had negative experiences with fetlife, or if you have another tale to tell, drop them in the comments below.
Update: We have been consistently getting reports that we said that, and we quote “Fetlife is sending people out to rape women”. To clear this up, I would like to state here and now that we never, ever, at any point stated nor implied this. That comment solely belongs to the person(s) who have been writing articles on other blogs and websites. Please direct all such comments to them sites.
The purpose of this article is to highlight problems that existed at the time of writing. No website or social network is immune and you should exercise caution when signing up, such as creating an email address specifically for a website and keeping it separate from your eBay, PayPal and Amazon and other accounts that may hold your personal name and home address.