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.
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 runs on a custom nginx variant of the Ubuntu/Debian distribution of GNU/Linux; it was adapted from the brightbox version.
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