Fetlife Membership | Invite Only

Many of you I am sure, are unaware of the recent change Fetlife has made to its membership. Fet recently announced that Fetlife membership will be by invite only and the ability for new members to sign-up has been removed. This means the only way in which new individuals will be granted Fetlife membership is through an invite from an existing member.

In the condescending & unprofessional announcement made by Fetlife's founder, John,  it was further announced that for the time being, only premium (paying) members will be permitted to send invites in a limited quantity. How many, you may be asking? They will only have one (1) invite for every two (2) months of premium Fetlife membership they have purchased. Yep.

Why has this happened? Basically, they can't handle their business.

Fetlife Membership | Invite Only

What immediate impacts does this have?

Well, clearly it impacts those who are not yet members and/or are new to the community and lifestyle. It's common knowledge that Fetlife has become the pinnacle for the BDSM community, for now anyway, and because of this, for many, it is the first source for "getting their feet wet" within BDSM.

Many who join Fet, join because they do not know anyone within the community or lifestyle. Fetlife is literally their first step. As you know, even I refer those to join Fet and browse their forums (groups) to review discussions and possibly learn more about their interests. It provides exposure and an awareness they may not have had before. More importantly, for many, this is their very first step to meeting others within their respective interests and local community.

With this new system, clearly, they will not be receiving an invitation to join nor will they have an opportunity for exposure.

Outside of that, what are Fetlife's forum boards (groups) significantly used for? Local munches and events!

So, if you're an event organizer or an attendee, you can pretty much count on seeing the very same faces at every event. Again, more importantly than that, if you're new to the lifestyle and want to get out into your local community, have fun finding out when and where those events will be taking place.

These are merely a couple of examples, the direct impacts are endless for both existing members of the community and new members looking for exposure.

My thoughts? Well, my response to the announcement was as follows;

Fetlife Membership | Invite Only | BDSMtalks | BDSM talks | BDSM

Knowingly or unknowingly Fetlife has become the premier source for the BDSM community. They have personally claimed that they are not merely a 'community' website or dating site, but rather a "social network" and with making such claims comes great responsibility.

Personally, as someone who has spent many years in corporate and executive management, someone who now operates his own corporation and provides consulting services for other businesses... I can't help but focus on the negligence in business decisions Fetlife has made (there are others), but for today it's Fetlife membership.

If you are someone who doesn't value intellectual stimulus, I invite you to skip down to my closing thoughts.

Somewhere along the way, Fetlife went from being someone's hobby project while living in their mom's basement to becoming a business - a brand. Maybe it was when it began accepting money for premium memberships, maybe it was when it began accepting payment for advertising or possibly when it surpassed 4 MILLION members. Whatever the reason, it is a business.

For reasons unknown to me, this sentiment hasn't seemed to reach its leadership. I don't believe this could be argued, simply take a few moments (if you're a member of course) to review the way in which its leadership addresses the community in their announcement boards, the scandals in which they have been involved with (I've referred in previous articles) or simply their decisions. Hard to argue that there's good business acumen anywhere.

I have long stated that Fetlife was 'big time' social media being run as a small time operation and with recent decisions, it has never been more evident.

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Let's skip how it impacts members and let's look at it as a business further.

There are advertisers currently paying a handsome monthly fee to have ads on their platform. Specifically, there are dungeons, events, munches, and communities all advertised on Fetlife. Do you think these individuals have paid to advertise to existing members who already know about their existence, or do you think they have paid these fees in an attempt to attract new members?

Closing Fetlife membership seems like a very smart business decision for ongoing business relations with their advertisers < sarcasm.

How about this, anyone consciously think about or recall CollarMe or bondage.com? Let's take it a step further, how about MySpace? Yeah, I didn't think so.

We live in a technological age where if you sleep for even a moment, you will become nothing but a blip on the map and Fetlife has slowly been walking that line for some time. Unfortunately, with their current decisions with relation to Fetlife membership, they are fast approaching the point where they will merely be a thing of the past; left with only a 'handful' of loyal members.

To survive, you must be innovative and proactive. You must have solutions for your problems. You cannot be reactive.

For a business to say; we have too many customer service complaints so we are closing the doors, is business suicide. It's really that simple. To say; "those that are smart will understand" is probably the most ignorant statement I have heard any business owner say in all my years.

I suppose that's what makes Twitter, FB, IG, Snapchat and so many others what they are in very short amounts of time and Fetlife, for all it's worth... merely a glorified forum board after more than half a decade.

My closing thoughts are these;

Fetlife has accepted money from its members and its advertisers, it owes them far more than what it is giving them.

For the community, it started to become what it wanted to be, a 'social network' and because of that, Fetlife, whether it wants to or not has a responsibility to the BDSM community as well as it's members; both premium and non-premium.

We the community are what make Fetlife great. We are the ones putting the hours in posting in the forums (groups), we are the ones referring and encouraging others to join, we are the ones helping those within the community, we are the support system and we are the ones sharing our lives and experiences amongst each other.

Someone may have created Fetlife, but we built it.

To close the doors on the community that has built it is preposterous. It is time to put your 'big boy' pants on Fetlife, get your ish together and handle your business.

Fetlife, you are not progressing the community further, you are taking us backward.


*** UPDATE ***

July 30/2016

As of last night, Fetlife announced a more "Secure Signup" process.

In one of the more professional and well-articulated announcements that Fetlife's founder John has written, it was announced that a new, more secure process for membership signup will be in place (as of yesterday).

What is the process?

Like many of the larger social media platforms, new members will have to provide their phone number for a one-time anonymous text message to receive and provide verification in order to complete their Fetlife membership registration.

Yes, I understand for many that privacy and anonymity are important to you. However, this is a great and fantastic solution for Fetlife, it's members and the community. According to their statement, it is a one-time and anonymous process to ensure the legitimacy of those that are singing up. Thus, it makes complete sense to do so.

My opinion?

Perhaps they took the time to hear the community's voice.

This is a step in the right direction, it provides a little extra help or an extra step at least in keeping our community safe and legitimate. For all the mistakes that Fetlife makes, this decision is one I cannot consider a mistake. I personally back it and it appears they are taking appropriate steps in the right direction; I can hardly fault that.

What does this mean?

Well, it appears the FeLife membership invite only system has all but come to an end (thank f*ck), they have re-opened the doors to the community that has built them and to those looking for exposure or to explore - provided they can verify themselves.

Have you signed up with the new text message verification process? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below!

If you made it in, you can always find me on Fetlife via the link provided above.

Good luck on your journey and welcome to the community!

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  1. 2lpeter on July 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    Very well said….maybe we should start our own fetishes site

    • Master Eros on July 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm

      Lol, it briefly crossed my mind.

      Truly, Fetlife needs to either hire a consultant to break them from the hobbyist’s mindset and into that of a business or they simply need to sell. It’s no longer a personal hobby project and has grown much bigger than they can clearly manage or handle.

      You can’t operate big business with a small mindset or manage it like a hobby. Ask Tom from MySpace how that worked out.

      Or, as you mentioned, a new community social network needs to be created, a true social network, with a business savvy leadership team and do it right.

  2. Blurob67 on July 24, 2016 at 2:54 am

    What if its just a way to gain attention? Once they open the doors new people start pouring in, wanting to take advantage of the situation, knowing that if they closed the doors once they are more than capable of doing it again?

    • Master Eros on July 24, 2016 at 7:39 am

      I’d say, that would be a pretty ingenious publicity stunt.

      However, unless they recently hired a publicist… I don’t believe they hold the mental capacity.

  3. Amanda on July 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    You mention how it is invite only now…. But I just filled out a ‘sign up’ form and after doing so was prompted that they’ll email me “as [they] let more kinksters in.” Maybe they’ve changed recently between your posting date and today?

    • Master Eros on July 29, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      Hey Amanda,
      It’s been that way since Fetlife announced that membership would be invite only. I assume this for a couple of reasons. 1) They will actually let small amounts of individuals in at a time and/or 2) They are unsure about the invite only process and if they decide to change their mind, they don’t want to lose all those potential members. Having a back log of pending memberships is a sure way to save yourself from a catastrophic mistake.
      If you view their Twitter, you’ll see that no one is getting in and they are simply advising those complaining to email their support team to save face on social media.

    • Trevor Stevensen on August 1, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      And two days later (today), I’m able to create an account with the text verification code I received immediately. It took longer to find an available username then it did to receive, and verify, my identity 🙂 The process was smooth and simple!

      • Master Eros on August 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm

        That awesome Trevor!
        I’m stoked that you were able to sign-up and the entire process went smoothly for you.
        Lol, usernames are sometimes tricky..

  4. John on August 2, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I tried to setup a new profile and made it to the text message account verification screen, but after typing in my phone number, I never received a text. Waited 10 minutes, no text. I tried to go through the process again, but was then receiving an error message that the username and email address I used were already in use…even though I never completed the setup process before. I emailed two different support addresses they provide and haven’t received a response in over 24 hours. Today, I attempted to create a profile with a different user name and used a different email address…same problem. I made it to the phone verification step but never received a text after plugging in my number. Very irritating. Anyone else have a similar problem?

    • Chrissy on August 2, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Yes, I am having the same issue. I keep getting an error message. I do not have access to Fetlife IT, to contact them about this issue. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

    • Master Eros on August 2, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Sorry to hear guys.
      I know their email for support is support@fetlife.com and they ask to email using the email address associated with your profile.
      Perhaps try that email and if you have, I see they sometimes reply on Twitter. So, if you have Twitter give them an @FetLife shout and ask if they are currently having issues with sending verification texts as you have not gotten yours.

  5. Amber on August 4, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    “..they have re-opened the doors to the community that has built them and to those looking for exposure or to explore – provided they can verify themselves.”

    So now, new members need to verify themselves whereas all those people already in can remain as anonymous as they’ve always been. Personally, I would never provide my cell number to FeLife, regardless of their claims of a one-time anonymous text. Now, if everyone already on FL must verify themselves in order to remain as members, then okay, i would reconsider but as it is, not a chance in heck i’d give them my cell #. So out i stay it seems!

    • Master Eros on August 5, 2016 at 12:01 am

      Hi Amber!

      Although I can understand your view, I believe it’s the natural progression of things. The way one registers for any social media platform 5 years ago to now, is all quite different. I am not sure I would say, I am not signing up for X because their process isn’t the same as it was 5 years ago and all those people didn’t have to do it.

      Natural progression; which I think FL has been behind on and ties into the point of others previous not being verified to the same degree. I believe, this will slow down the bs membership sing-ups and provide FL the opportunity they are looking for to deal with the unverified, nonsensical accounts that are currently there. Ultimately providing a better experience for both new and existing members.

      Slow down the new, gain a better quality of new and have an opportunity for time to deal with the crap of old to improve that quality as well.

      However, I get that some are even sketch about providing something as simple as an email to FL let alone their cell number. So, I respect it.

  6. Ketaki on August 4, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    I had tried to signup a while back and I could not. I did receive a communication that they would send an update. I did get an email link that easily let me create an account with OTP verification. Which I think is very good idea if one mobile number can have just one account linked and they can protect the member data.

  7. Reena on August 8, 2016 at 4:34 am

    Ive had the email to click on a link and enter a mobile number in. Im from the uk and it just wont accept my number..ive tried 07..ive tried 00447 what am i doing wrong

  8. Abbey on August 16, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Absolutely ridiculous. I just sent them an email because it wouldn’t let me sign up. It says it can’t send me a verification code to my number.

    • Master Eros on August 16, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Abbey,

      Sorry to hear you and others are having issues with their system sending the verification text message.

      Are you or anyone else by chance using an app that provides a phone number to maintain anonymity by chance, like the “Text Me” app? As I know many verification systems don’t recognise these apps. Although they provide a working phone number, they are IP and not service provider based.

      Thus, they simply won’t work for verification processes.

  9. af on October 23, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    Can’t sign up if you have no mobile .. I guess they really don’t want new people. Sad business practice.

  10. Samara on January 2, 2017 at 3:49 am

    Got the same problem with the verification process. There was no error message but didn’t receive a verification SMS either.
    I already was sceptical when asked for a number, but since a friend referred me I thought it was okay. Now I just feel scammed. T_T

    Perhaps they did not anticipate that they would get a lot of registrations from outside of US/UK…? (Wherever they’re hosted …)

    Since information has a value I guess I just gifted them my email address connected to country, state and phone number (!).

    Well played, Fetlife, well played…
    My pleasure! ^^ Guess I am already learning the ropes haha (sorry…).

  11. Kococapri on April 30, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Well unfortunately fetlife also has age limits, appearently I’m too old. It’s really disappointing to be discriminated against because of my age…

  12. Jeff on July 3, 2017 at 8:49 am


    I’m too old as well. I adjusted my DOB to see what it takes. After a few minutes it accepted a DOB for the year 2003. So we are good if we are 14 but not good if in our 20’s, 30’s, or above. Based on their requirements they should be shut down. I was looking for like minded individuals not children.

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