Dec 012013

Setting up event pages on FetLife involves knowing and understanding a few of the site’s quirks.  Below are a few points that may help you adequately and accurately create an event page:

Problem: User having difficulty using “Events Near Me”

“Near me” relates to matching the city you have listed on your profile to the city listed by the event. If you want to explore other places, you can do so either by clicking on the state/province/country from that same menu, or to go to the “Places Menu” (located at the top of the screen), and selecting the location you want to look for events. That said, there is no “miles from” radius search.

I’m not a FetLife support person, but I play one on TV … or was it that I slept at a Holiday Inn?

Actually, I’m just someone who spends (way too much) time on FetLife, trying to figure out some of the ways it works (and doesn’t). In the instance of events, I created my own event ( to try things out, re: searches and the like.

You’re right: It does make a ridiculously large jump from a local city when you go to a state-province-country. Unfortunately, that’s the current nature of the beast. And, yes, you do need to do multiple searches, considering most event organizers do not think of the FetLife search factor (ie locations as keywords and search terms) when creating an event.

If you look at the event I created, you can visibly see terms like Sudan and Belarus (listed as part of ‘location’ section), Tilsa, Singapore and Enid (listed in the ‘description’ section). Contrary to what seems natural, you cannot find this group when using Sudan and Belarus in the search box. However, you can search using the terms and places listed in the ‘description’ section (eg Enid and Singapore).

What you can’t see (but an event organizer can, in this case, me), is that the event was created to be held in the city of Whitehorse/province of Yukon, in Canada. So, you could find this fake event via both the events (near me) and places menu, using Whitehorse, Yukon and Canada.

The event organizer, when creating an event, must put in a location; this is done via pull down menus, and is tied to the same (somewhat awkward and limited) database as the Places menu (eg, there are no cities in Australian territories, and other things, as discussed >here). However, this forces the organizer to put in a location that may or may not be where the event is being held, and/or a more major city, useful for searching “near me.”

What can be done, as an event organizer?

  • Consider which ways an event is searchable. When creating the event, and answering, “Where is the event taking place” and “Address”, be aware that neither of these fields is searchable. What is? The event name, tagline, description and the pull-down location (entered at the bottom of the page);
  • Don’t use abbreviations (as FetLife generally doesn’t search or index keywords less than three characters, eg “GA”)
  • Don’t use county names – unless specific cities are included as well. It may seem logical to include them as a reader, but are essentially useless in terms of a FetLife search.
  • Try to incorporate cities and towns that may be useful, especially in the event’s description section. For example: “This annual event is held in Marietta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, with attendees coming from all over the metro area, including Roswell, Smyrna, Peachtree City…” Each city listed would serve as a keyword, and would especially help this event be found by those searching “near me”.

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is the invisible-to-the-viewer location, made by the pull-down menu by the event’s creator, that creates what is searchable using the “places” menu.

TL;dr – Using “near me” is based on an invisible-to-viewer location, drawn from the event’s creator’s choice, and is tied to the flawed Places menu. It may or may not relate to where an event is actually being held.

No, FetLife does not currently have a way to search by radius from a location.
Yes, it could be helpful – but other changes would need to be made too.

The impetus, and continued discussion on this topic, can be found here.

Sep 232013

Written by, and posted with explicit permission of shadow (i999shadow).


Because of STella and the renown of the public meeting as a “Munch”, the term has become associated with a food related public available event.

There is no One True Way to run a Munch, and people are free to run their Munches as they see fit. There is, however, a great need for clarity and consistency when the BDSM community interfaces with the vanilla community, and with our outreach efforts to the kinky people out there seeking to become members of “the scene”.

For that reason alone, the use of the term “Munch” should be exclusively for gatherings that are open -but not necessarily limited to- new people that want to find community and do not necessarily know anyone in the scene. By keeping the term “Munch” to that context, anyone anywhere in the world can pull up a search engine on a computer, type in “Munch” and find a meeting place of like minded pervs to help them along their own path.

Co-opting the term for other uses (private parties by invite only, meetings at locked facilities, including play at the event, etc.) makes the ability to outreach difficult and creates confusion for people seeking Munches in their own neighborhood, as well as for scene members who want to connect up with like minded pervs while out of town.


Munches are frequently the first contact with “warm bodies, real people” for kinky people finding their sexuality. Some folks come after living out their fantasies only through fictional novels (you will get to know who they are fairly easily), while most will arrive having spent some time finding out what they are on line (known as VR- Virtual Reality). They are seeking the “next step”, making contact with others like them. Like you. Some newbies are also long time computer players and are seeking to verify the players they have met on line.

Munches are wonderful places for people to check the references of folks in the community and see that those who “claim” experience really have it. Many established BDSM communities also like their munch to be their “vetting” system. This is the first place anyone new to the community MUST come before they can attend any other BDSM related event.

The Munch system gives the community a place to “look over potential new members, get a chance to know them personally rather than as just as on line personalities, and decide if they like them enough to invite them to something more intimate/personal. Many dungeons will NOT allow anyone to come in off the street without having been cleared through the local “scene” Munch, even though they advertise the Dungeon in national magazines. It is another tool to protect the privacy and anonymity of the players inside.


Munches should, whenever possible, be held in public accessible places. Restaurants are great, for they provide safe, well lighted, comfortable venues for new people to safely explore meeting those in the scene. Coffee shop style sites are idea, for they remove any financial barriers that might make attendance difficult. Most everyone can afford a cup of coffee or a scoop of ice cream to enjoy while getting to know others.

Coffee shops are also perfect places for the deniability factor. MANY of the people in scene and out want some level of confidentiality. Maybe they have a high profile job to protect, maybe they have small children, or have other public issues. The reasons are varied- and they don’t matter. We respect each individuals right to control their level of exposure just as we respect their right to control their bodies or their property.

For whatever reason, using a public space that seems “innocent” gives those coming to a Munch the deniability clause. Everyone can claim- successfully- that they were not at a BDSM event- they were in a public coffee shop. The best possible restaurants are those with closed meeting rooms out of the way of the main dining hall. Especially for the larger Munches (several of which i know currently run over 30 people at a time), having that space helps lower the public profile of the group. 2 or 3 like minded folks sitting quietly at a corner table at a Denny’s works fine, but once you have a regular group of 12 or more, it helps to have some separate space. Large crowds draw attention from the vanilla folk, and that cuts down on deniability and might bring the wrong attention.

Large crowds also make more noise and tend to be a bit more “rowdy” and loose. That impinges on the other patrons of the establishment- and is non-consentual inclusion of the public. Having a private, separate banquet or dining room for your event also means that scene folks can feel more comfortable being “themselves”, they can socialize with others in their lifestyle roles rather than maintaining vanilla facades, and they can frequently do some discreet ‘sharing’ or show and tell about new toys or scars & piercings. It is hard to control that kind of interaction once it is admissable, so do try to keep it to a minimum.

Noise levels are not nearly as critical to privacy issues, and language can be slightly less restricted. Do remember, however, that this is STILL a public venue, and the staff should NOT be exposed to WIITWD without their consent. Many Munches that have discussed the groups focus with the restaurant in advance, kept their members discreet, paid their bills with nice tips, and left the rooms clean have been not only welcomed back, but been given unusual leeway by those locals. Restaurants that are treated with respect can become so comfortable with BDSM folks that all drinks are gratis, staff are assigned exclusively to serve and clean up, or even allow fetish wear and give discounts to the BDSM regulars.

Having a regular meeting place is also vital for public postings and word of mouth. Many Munch notices may end up posted on servers and bulletin boards far away from the control of the host. If your Munch is held every Wednesday at XYZ Diner, people will expect that indefinitely. Your postings about a Munch will travel all over the net, and many will be permanently added to announcement lists you have no control over. Regular attendees will depend on you being there- come rain or shine- and quit checking for location or time changes.

A Munch needs a permanent place and a regular time just as much as your local Police department needs a dependable phone number. Munches can frequently become the life line and the backbone of a BDSM community. Frequency of Munches varies from place to place. Some are as often as every week, others only once a month, depending on the area and the attendance numbers. You might want to start out with a once a month Munch and then add dates as the attendance grows and folks show a preference for when it’s most convenient for them to come.


You will need a name for your group- hopefully something less colorful than “The local adult sex gang’. You need this for 2 reasons- One, to have something to call it when you write e-mail announcements, and Two, so that new folks entering the restaurant can ASK for the group without fear of standing around looking for the kinky people.

Pick something that can be spoken without blushing. Something that can be announced over the loudspeaker if need be. Something innocuous. “The Computer Club” has worked for years in every city i have ever been in. “The Monday Club” is another nice one ( of course, use the day of the week you actually meet to avoid confusion). The Munch bunch is nice, and doesn’t out anything, but *might* be so normal sounding that outsiders could be confused.

Some groups also mark their tables at small restaurants so that you can see them from the door. A simple piece of plain rope by the “reserved” sign works beautifully. A glove, or even a leather rose. i once attended a vanilla event on a crowded public beach- the ladies hosting the event marked our picnic spot with black and blue balloons. It was a wonderful “in” joke.

Remind people that are new that YOUR name may not be your real one either- and that they can create whatever pseudonym they choose to use in the scene. Names are more often than not entirely fictional.


It varies all the time. Ages can range from from 18 On up- we have a wonderful lifestyle and people of all ages love to gather in together. All genders, sexual orientations, and BDSM preferences will eventually show up, and should be given equal respect and the same warm greeting. Try to make contact with new faces as soon as you notice them. A warm handshake and a personal introduction around to one or two of the regulars is always nice.

“Your kink is not as good as my kink” should NEVER be the first rule of a good hostess, although the occasional odd person looking for illegal connections (child molesters, etc.) should be asked to leave immediately.


Some Munches are just chat- folks talk about whatever they feel comfortable with in small groups, or all at one table. Larger Munches usually take on the “eat and meet” system, letting people arrive, get food or drinks, eat, and then have an informal “meeting” at a preset time later in the evening. The meeting can be as simple as each person introducing themselves with their on line name/e-mail address or what they “think” they identify as (Dom, bottom, switch, submissive, crazy), or as detailed as how long they have been in scene and what other scene related work they do (do they own a Dungeon? Are they a toy maker? A ProDom/me?).

Folks will want to know if they need to be “experienced” or have some kind of “role”. Let all your guests know that everyone is invited, at whatever level of experience or type of play. If you get contacted by a nervous newbie, offer to sit them next to you and hold their hand till they get warmed up to the room.

Try to keep the “introductions” short (less than 1/2 hour total) and low key (quiet enough so that no one else in the restaurant outside of your group can hear you). Some people come to Munches to “meet the meat” and use the place as their own trolling grounds. Other people find that they can ONLY meet new play partners comfortably at Munches, as the dungeon or other BDSM events seem too “pushy”. Remember, this IS a social gathering, and a wonderful place for folks to get to know each other.

This is the gateway for many new to the scene to see that the players are not all dressed in tear away leathers and the women don’t have 8” stiletto heels on all the time. You can set the tone- and the rules- as you see fit. i personally suggest that while casual dating and first meetings at Munches are wonderful, do not let the occasional trolling Dom/me turn the event into his or her private fishing hole and cruise every newbie as they come in the door. It is uncomfortable enough for new people to go to an adult event, and their first few times should be as pressure free as possible. So You’ve got the Place and the Day….


Be it called BDSM, WIITWD (What it is that we do), or “the scene”, the kink community has more venues today for information than ever before. You no longer have to sneak into your local adult book store and post a 3×5 card on a bulletin board hoping that like minded people will see and remember your event.

The best starting point is always the nearest large BDSM organization’s web page. New York has TES, San Francisco has JANUS, Washington D.C. has Black Rose. Check the web sites of the largest BDSM organizations you can find on line- and e-mail your particulars to them. Check with the links below at the bottom of this page.

Include in your search the gay/leather/alternative lifestyle community organizations, If you can, visit your local Leather shop/ adult toy outlet and pick up the free publications and newspapers to contact as well. Most adult entertainment publications will include Munch announcements for free on their web sites/ in their monthly newsletters.

Start your OWN web page. Free web page hosting is everywhere now- AOL, Yahoo. and most larger servers offer free space for your page- and free help setting it up. Listing it for search engines to find as “BDSM, Munch, Your City Adult Events, D/s, Leather Events” and other possible combinations assures you of the widest audience possible to get the word out.

Your mail lists are another great place to put the word out. Write up a nice announcement, and post it- regularly- on whatever e-mail lists you are on. Even the nation wide lists will have people from your neck of the woods on them (usually lurking in the dark) that can benefit.

Some magnificent people in scene actually collect and redistribute all the Munch announcements they run across, so maybe your post to the Canadian Master/slave mail list will end up being distributed to the New Orleans fetish wear list, where it will be seen by your next door neighbor…. who loves to dress up as Lancelot during his submission scenes… and *he* wanted to meet someone local. You never know where things will end up on the net- or how you might contact others seeking community.

If you attend a local Dungeon, or have access to a Dungeon in a nearby city, contact the Dungeon Master about posting a notice in their lobby for like minded local folk to find you. Ask local costume stores, saddle & tack shops and even hardware stores to let you post a small notice about a “Munch”- vanilla customers will ignore the information, but the local kinky people will immediately know what you mean- and will hopefully attend.


Use the word MUNCH in the title and the first line. Give the name of the group that people may ask for at the door if necessary. Give the regular day/date/ and time. Give a good address, Name the establishment, and give the phone number. Put in a nice set of written directions from the closest major freeway(s). Link to a web site for a map if you have access. Put in YOUR name (scene or real, your choice) so that people will know who is in charge, and add some kind of contact info for yourself (e-mail is safest, easy to use, and confidential). Then add any pertinent rules or information about the location as you choose.


Every Munch sets their own tone and their own style. Gorean events are NEVER hard to miss, and Het only Munches can be mistaken for PTA coffee meets. Make sure that YOUR Munch is a credit to the community and not a detriment to your reputation as a class act.

Part of the success of long standing Munches is their reputation as a clean, polite groups that welcome strangers, keep their voices low, and act like adults. The way they have done that is with published rules that are fairly “common sense”, but enforced quickly, even handedly, and as politely as possible.

The rules should be included alone with all your announcements, right after your date/ time/ place and just before the directions to your Munch (that way no one can claim they “never read that far” yet they found the place!). One rule is inviolate for most Munches- no one under 18 is allowed. Better to be safe than sorry, for the legality of even discussing WIITWD with minors is dangerous. Check the I.D. of anyone who seems even close to underage, and if they are, politely ask them to leave. If necessary, have the restaurant escort them out. No amount of outreach is worth facing charges of “contributing to the delinquency of a minor”.

After searching hundreds of Munch announcements, a brief listing of what is (and is not) acceptable behaviors to guide the newbies and remind the old hands are listed below. They have been taken with minor changes from Munch announcements for all sorts of locations. Not all of them will pertain to your venue- a private back room in a restaurant that serves liquor will allow more loose talk than a small diner with 6 benches on the Interstate. Use common sense, and adjust the rules as your group grows and changes.

Most of the items are needed every time, in every Munch announcement, to let new folks know what to expect. The following should give you all the examples you might need to host the Munch of your communitys dreams. Good luck.

It’s a get-together for folks who share a common interest in BDSM . . .(our common bond..) If you’re shy or unsure of yourself, this is the perfect place to be… everyone is friendly and non- judgmental. Give us a try.

You’re welcome to stop by and join us. Munches are a great way to meet other people involved in the BDSM scene, ask questions, and share experiences. This is a casual, friendly and non-threatening social environment.

We’re lucky to have a private room at the back of the restaurant. Dress in what feels good to you, but keep it vanilla (covered up as necessary) until you’re behind our door.

The restaurant has a full menu at reasonable prices. Please try to get to the munch in time to order your food so they will have it to you before 7:30 to make things go smoother. Calendars are passed out then and it is really disruptive if the food is still being delivered.

Yes it is MUNCHTIME!!! XXXXX Munch…..TAH DAH! The munch will be held XXXday, theXXth from 7-10 pm, atXXXX, XXX N X Street (behind the cockfight ring).

We love meeting the new people! If for some reason we don’t talk to you, come talk to us, we don’t bite….ok it is negotiable. Or just sit on the side for a while and get comfortable.

We will have calendars of local events for the next 2 months that you may be interested in attending. Please do NOT leave any of them in the restaurant. Those who come to the munch get to know about upcoming events before anyone else in the community. Munch attendees will get to sign up right away for those events that fill up fast.

Dress as you wish, within reason. Please bring cash (+15% for tax/tip). No playing. The restaurant folks are scene friendly.

Please dress conservatively and act appropriately in this public meeting place. Confidentiality rules apply.

This is *NOT* a play party, and we are not meeting at the Exotic/Erotic Ball, so please do not wear fetish clothes, demonstrate your toys, punish your partner or demonstrate other behavior that will call inappropriate attention to our group. We want this to as safe an environment as possible for new people interested in WIITWD.

If you’re new to the Scene, or just slightly curious about BDSM, a munch in a public place is a safe, non-threatening way to check out some like-minded people. You can watch us from a distance and not even introduce yourself, if you like.

There is no play at this munch. Occasionally, someone brings a toy or something small to show off discreetly, but that’s as far as it goes. Respect the other patrons.

Please keep the fetish-wear to a minimum, and use a cover-up when entering and exiting our meeting place (this includes collars, cuffs, leashes, etc).

Nudity: NONE, so please do not even think about it. Do not push limits.

No Scenes, or S/M Play allow, but light D/s is always fun and in fashion. Please respect the Non-D/s patrons of this establishment with your actions and words.

No recording devises, cameras, or videos of any type allowed.

Everyone in attendance is responsible for placing their own orders and handling their own tabs.

Toys, heavy play, and sexy clothing are not a good idea. This diner is popular with the cops.


Well, that’s the basics of How to Host a Munch. Being in charge of an alternative lifestyle community gathering point can be exhilarating, but it is also a responsibility to be taken seriously. Make your Munch regular. Never forget to attend. Be patient. Never forget that some post you put out 12 months ago for your weekly gathering could, easily, be hanging on a wall in someones bedroom while they gather their courage to get in their car and attend it. That was my experience. Thank heavens, the Munch i waited for was- and still is- hosted by a true pillar of the community, the wonderful Miss Vicki. It is the direct descendant of STella’s first Burgermunch, which was still held on the same street, every Thursday night at 8 pm, come rain or come shine when i wrote this. And the best parts of gracious hostessing, i learned from her. My personal hugs are hers forever.

copyright 10-22-02 by shadow, all rights reserved. This document may be reposted and reprinted only in it’s entirety including copyright and author contact **WITH PERMISSION from the AUTHOR**. Failure to abide by the laws of common decency will result in inhuman revenge. Ask around. i can do that. It will be painful.
Sep 222013

Originally written by shadow, posted July 03, 2003.
(With thanks to Argent (Hal), Miss Vicki (keeper of the flame), nadja (the first list Master and font of history), Schwab (great memories) and the Wonderful STella, who started it all.

(Author’s note: In just the 4 years since i first researched and wrote this history, the amount of revisionisim and historical inaccuracy made it imperative to footnote and provide original postings on ASB as verification. As long as ASB archives are available, this information is accessable to all, abeit in a lengthy process, direct interviews, and e-mails).

Munches are traditionally considered a way to get like minded people together in a public venue for light socializing, usually on week nights , and require nothing more than showing up.

Week nights have become the chosen times for such events so that they do not interfere with Dungeon “Play parties”, usually held on Friday and Saturday nights.

Munches have also evolved into the main venue for welcoming newbies into the scene in a non-threatening environment that is easily accessible and requires no knowledge of any protocols, scene history or any “letters of introduction”.

Munches are the one place unsure new people can wander in and find “family”.

The ideology of having a “munch” has spread like wildfire across the planet as WIITWD becomes more available to larger numbers of people (thanks to computers and the Internet), and the event has mutated far beyond it’s conception principals.

With that in mind, it became apparent that some kind of “primer” or “general ground rules” should be set out for new munch hosts and hostesses to use as a tool in their toy bag of social skills.

Nothing in life is set in stone, this primer included. Take from it what you will, change what you need to suit you, your venue, & your community.


In these times people are accustomed to having instant access to adult information via the web. With the flick of a search engine, you can find munches all over the place, mailing lists and web sites filled with BDSM activities, events, even National conferences. Kink activities abound in every city across America, even as Civil Liberties laws are ignored or mutated by conservatives, and no matter what, like minded adults will congregate for entertainment and social interaction, and keep trying to create venues where we can do this easily, without fear of retribution, job loss, or social distress.
Adult organizations that have information about WIITWD are easy to contact, and the question of anonymity is given deep consideration. This was not always the case.

Sometime in the early 80’s, when the “Internet” between Universities and Military establishments became more accessible due to a proliferation of computer terminals, the first message boards were set up about sex.

Sex questions- sex answers. People wanting to know that they were not alone started using the anonymity of the keyboard to tell the other voices in the dark about what they did- or wanted to do- and exchanged information. ( also known as and referred to as ASB) was the largest and most used. Even today, it’s archives of postings are some of the most comprehensive and widely used informational records on the net. Eventually, spamming caused them to move to soc.subculture.bondage-bsdm.

Most users from that time forward had access via their Universities, and the University with the best access, the largest pool of users, and the congregational point for kinky people, was Stanford. The personal computer, microprocessor, and a host of other innovations were being born in the Palo Alto area, and it drew lots of young, hip, adventurous people from all across America.

Now, any given munch has the policies and objectives its organizers set for it. This may, and often does, include being a low-key, comfortable place for newbies to meet some BDSM people, and the munch announcements often say so. But it did not start with that objective, and it does not always have to be that way.

The very first munch, according to several who were there, was a gathering of 13 folks at the “Flames” coffee shop at El Camino Real and Lawrence Expressway in Santa Clara, California. There was no play at this first meeting, it was merely a matter of sharing a meal and meeting each other face to face, discussing what could be done to further filling the void these people felt in the sexuality and their lives.

The original idea for a mailing list started there as well. Originally it was called BABES – Bay Area Bondage Enthusiasts Society, and later BAST, Bay Area Sexually Twisted. The first operator, nadja, set up the list and worked with the continuously growing Kink community. This was the first place that many had ever had to actually talk in real time about their sexuality, desires, fantasies, and the darker aspects of BDSM. It also encouraged some conversations that were sexually explicit about illegal activities. Nadja eventually had to expel a member of the online community for the kinds of topics that could jeopardize the entire group. That incident created a permanent rift in the on line community that was growing.

Members grew, and people wanted to meet face to face. Many people were referred by friends to the list, and the list membership was the core of the southern Bay Area Kink community. These lists were discontinued when the Communications Decency Act came into effect, and the BurgerMunch list was split into 2 separate types of on line communications. An announcements only list is now run by Vicki, and the discussion list was handed to Marcie and Laura Lee who renamed it as Frenzi.

After that first meeting in Santa Clara, a new venue was found and announced. The Munch concept would be the “BurgerMunch”. STella announced it to the regular posters on and posted to the new discussion list that she would be at the outdoor patio seating area of Kirk’s Steakburger joint on California Street, Palo Alto, California, at the same day and time every week, and she hoped others would join her. This has been dated, according to legend, as April, 1992, althought some question the exact month. Vicki is fairly certain that the date of the first BurgerMunch was 23 April 92. Reserch has shown it was prior to Jun 1 1992, as others were beginning their own versions by then based on what they had heard was happening in Palo Alto. *(Footnote 1,6).

At first attendance was spotty, sometimes it was just STella, but as more people became aware of the BDSM community on line, more people came to see faces attached to the names they had become familiar with reading on alt/ The community of WIITWD was being born.

Postings show a lively regular event by June 1993. *(Footnote 5).

By Sept. 14, 1993, munches (sometimes erroneously using sTella’s term Burgermunch) were running in Portland and Vancouver, and was one was announced (Seattle SouvlakiMunch) for Seattle *(Footnote 3).

People joined the lists on line and learned about the BurgerMunches which were announced weekly; many of the members on the lists were not Newsnet users and had not been involved with the* hierarchy news groups.

Over time, more people came, the “munch” was talked about, and the event grew. After a while, the whole outdoor patio area , directly adjacent to the sidewalk in front, and fairly open to the public in places, had been taken over by BDSM people one evening a week on Thursdays. With half a decorative cinderblock wall, and a lattice work overhang, it was not a secure place to meet or talk about WIITWD.

Stella once defined a burgermunch as:
“a BurgerMunch is when somewhere between three and fifty perverts, some of whom bring vegetarian food from a nearby restaurant, meet at my favorite burger joint (Kirk’s Steakburgers, 361 California Avenue, Palo Alto, 6 pm) to talk about everything including bdsm, to plan future scenes and parties, and, now and then, to share a little pain right out there in front of ghod and everybody. Do check us out if you’re ever in the area. Any non-holiday Thursday of the summer (this winter, for the rainy season, we may move elsewhere, if I can find a good place). ” *(Footnote 7)

The BurgerMunch was a success. It became pretty “out.” People would show each other marks and bruises, or tattoos, cuttings, brandings, and they would show each other toys. After a while, there were floggings going on in dark corners of the patio. The police were called, complaints including used condoms in the shrubs.  *(Footnote 2).

For a while, someone brought a portable massage table and would give massages.

By July, asb. posts openly noted that scaring the vanilla people (“mundanes”) was part of the fun of the burgermunch. *(Footnote 8).

Those activities, the noise levels up and down the street , and a determined feeling of some of the regulars to deliberately bother the vanilla crowd eventually doomed the burger munch. Kirk’s was no longer happy with the loud crowd (many of whom quit ordering food there from their limited and admittedly less than stellar burger and hot dog menu, and either brought their own (sushi was popular with the vegetarians) or didn’t eat at all), and lost all of their regular clientele on Munch night due to the overt sexual activities of the BurgerMunch group. Some felt even the staff was intimidated by the groups activities.

When the entire alternative lifestyle group was eventually kicked out of Kirks in October 8, 1993, *(Footnote 1, 9), many of them went with STella and started meeting at the park down the street, *(Footnote 11) while the rest decided to meet indoors, evolving into the idea of a “regular meeting place for everyone- old and new- to meet”. Vicki became the eventual sole owner of this event.

The attentions of the police cars now loitering around the area, especially the park where sTella had moved to, along with some growing philosophical differences, as well as the colder nights, all fueled this change in locale and focus. Burgermunches were still being held outdoors there well into December 1993 * (Footnote 12).

The second group that had split off from the idea of public play began munches at Antonio’s NutHouse about 1/2 block away from Kirk’s. Reminders of regular meets were out by Jan 1994 *(Footnote 13).

STella asked the second group not call their meeting a BurgerMunch because that was her name for an event where public play was encouraged. STella did not trademark the word. It was used as late as May 28th, 1994  *(Footnote 4, 14, 15).

Her group eventually was forced out of the park by a combination of cold weather, changes in city policy about park closing times, and STella’s personal wishes. That group of players has moved into a more private venue, and disappeared from the public history of BDSM, although they were still playing and interacting with the Nut House munch bunch from time to time as late as July 17, 1994 *(Footnote 16).

The group that split off from STella’s (Antonio’s Nut House bunch, eventually known as the Thursday munch or Vicki’s munch) evolved with 2 philosophical requirements, and grew in size over the winter as many joined them in the heated environs of the Nut House.

1. This gathering was not a play party. The open to the public venues were *not* appropriate for BDSM activities.
2. They wanted a non-threatening place for new folk to discover BDSM. The second group felt that the location should be as open (visible) as practical so new folk could observe without “outing” themselves. *(Footnote 17).

Since play was being discouraged at the second group, and STella had asked that the name “Burgermunch ” be hers exclusively and denoted a play based gathering, the second group, meeting at Antonio’s Nut House began to use just ”munch” to denote what they were.

STella was not focusing the BurgerMunch on “newbies”. She wanted to socialize with BDSM people, and to create a situation where they could get to know people in a non-intimate environment. She succeeded far beyond her wildest dreams and will forever be linked with the term “BurgerMunch” as well as founder of the world wide phenomena known as munches within BDSM. *(Footnote 18).


We Went to Kirk’s and All We Got Was this Lousy Hamburger
From: STella Date: Fri, Oct 8 1993 1:28 amWell, tonight, BurgerMunch attendees were told by the cops that we were no longer welcome at Kirk’s, that any of us who congregated there would be arrested. The senior manager was there, complaining about vegetarians with their (imported from nearby) sushi, talking with carnivores and their burgers.Do NOT eat at Kirk’s, do not MEET at Kirk’s, and watch the newsgroup, since someone will likely announce a followon event, at another location. Especially, stay away on Thursdays, if you look like you might be one of Those People.When I started the Munches, a year and a half ago, I thought it would be worth doing, but never expected that it would work out as well, or last as long, as it has done.There will be other opportunities for us to get together, other places. Someone ELSE will announce them, because last week, when the sympathetic night manager told us the owner wanted her to kick us out, I suggested that we move elsewhere, and come back in a few months. I was told by many that “we don’t want to, this is a great place”, and by others that “you’re just copping attitude”.Not my cops, but I’ll own some attitude….Please, as a matter of fairness, and a favor to me, since the only contact either the owner or the police have for the group is MY name and addresses (yes, my home one too), do NOT give shit to the STAFF at Kirk’s. They have been unfailingly polite, respectful and helpful to me personally and to the other attendees at the Munch. Do, however, refrain from going to Kirk’s on Thursdays expecting to find BurgerMunchers there. You will not find us, and you MAY be arrested for trespassing. I will be in the small park at the end of California Ave, opposite the CalTran station, next Thursday, unless the new Munch coordinator (if in fact someone wants to do that) announces a different site.

If someone chooses to organize a weekly get-together, I suggest that putting its location on the poster kiosk in front of Kirk’s would be a good idea. I know that a lot of people offline know about the Munch, please try to spread the word. And remember what the I Ching says: What has happened once will happen again. BurgerMunch was my baby, and now it’s leaving home. I’m VERY pleased at the way it grew, and gave other folks the assurance that they could meet people and find friends, and I’ll be delighted as other areas start up their munches, and as the Bay Area finds its next opportunity.

STella%thelema.u… STe…
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Where I am is Here, Where I live is Now. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.


Rumors of My Arrest…
All 3 messages in topic – view as tree
From: STella – view profile
Date: Fri, Aug 20 1993 5:27 pm
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp
Not yet rated
Rating: show optionsFYI: I have not been arrested, kidnapped by space aliens, nor raped by a giant swan.BurgerMunch has not been cancelled or moved, and will not be so unless I have posted annnouncements of that to, to the local list in the Bcc line, and to various irc-folk as I see them on channel, which will happen, if at all, the day before a Munch at latest. The simple, and relatively uninteresting, truth is that, at about 10:30 last night, an hour and a half after Kirk’s closed, a cop did ask us to break it up, and we did. No problem, they have my name and number, and I’ll be touching base with Kirk’s, since the cops did say they’d had complaints (about rubbers in the shrubbery, for ghodsake) from Kirk’s, and I figure Monday I should speak with them, find out what THEY actually think is a problem, and settle things with them. Or we can take our several hundred dollars a week elsewhere, to one of the backup sites I have in mind. For the moment, however, I am not in jail, Kirk’s is still the site of BurgerMunches, and I presently expect this to continue to be the case. Too bad, though, that I haven’t been kidnapped by space aliens — would be a lot more entertaining than the current dreary set of eviction/separation/cartrouble hassles.Here, swanny, here swanny-swan….
STella%thelema.u… STe…
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


From: Elf Sternberg – view profile
Date: Tues, Sep 14 1993 7:28 pm
Email: e… (Elf Sternberg)
Groups:>There is one in Portland and one in Vancouver, geesh i wish the seattle scene would get with it.Okay, then, let’s organize one. If I get enough email by Friday to justify creating one, I tentatively announce the First Ever Seattle SouvlakiMunch !!! (“Munch” is ™ someone, I’m sure) Where: Costas Greek Restaurant 4559 University Avenue (corner of 46th and University) Seattle, University District Reservation space in the rear of the restaurant. When: Wednesday, September 22 (First day of Autumn) 7:00 PM — Whenever. What: A Munch, of course!


From: STella – view profile
Date: Wed, Sep 15 1993 6:05 am
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp (STella)
In article <275uip$…> e… (Elf Sternberg) writes:
> I tentatively announce the
> First Ever Seattle SouvlakiMunch !!!
> (“Munch” is ™ someone, I’m sure)
I have never bothered trademarking it, except in the usenet Nice-guy(tm) sense. It’s one of mine, but I won’t flame you for using it to describe any get-together that is completely open to newbies, lurkers, and other such. A lunch or dinner that one has to RSVP to, to get on the list, and be informed of where and when, is not a “munch”, as I’ve been using it and encouraging its use, but Oh well, if you don’t follow MY rulez, I’ll take away your petunia! So there!
STella%thelema.u… STe…
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Where I am is Here, Where I live is Now. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.==========

From: STella – view profile
Date: Tues, Jun 8 1993 7:30 pm
Email: STe…@thelema.uucp (STella)
In article wi.7… writes:
>for committed couples ( or places where we can meet such ) in the San Jose
>to San Francisco area. We are not looking for partners to swap with, rather,
>we are looking for people with common interests so we don’t seem so damned
>alone. We don’t have any hangups about non-hetrosexual life styles. We are
>just looking to meet people committed to each other, while embracing the
>leather persuassion.

Not all people who come to BurgerMunches are committed couples, but I can think of more than a few such. And even if you’re mostly looking for other couples, you might occasionally find something of value in words from the non-partnered BurgerMunchers. So give it a try, if you want, and see how you like it. BurgerMunches occur each Thursday evening, starting about 6pm, at Kirk’s Steakburgers, 361 California Avenue, in Palo Alto. We meet in the outside seating area, and I’m the one wearing denim and a whip. Hope to see you soon! (And if you’d like to chat with me before meeting, either email me a phone number, or write from your own account (I don’t give my phone number to anonymous strangers, for reasons I’m pretty sure you understand) for mine.)

STella%thelema.u… Don’t blame me, I voted Libertarian!
1016 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


First mention of “munch” in ASB:
Sep 20 1993, 9:08 pm

First mention of Rhode Island munch:
Oct 13 1993, 12:19 pm

First mention of Bugermunch in asb:
Apr 2 1993, 2:47

Ontario burgermunch:
Apr 8 1993, 1:43 pm


FOOTNOTE 8<hr />


From: M. Madeleine – view profile
Date: Sat, Oct 9 1993 6:56 am
Email: an29… (M. Madeleine)

M. Madeleine here. Quite shaken.

I just had my world yanked out from under me.

I knew something was wrong a week ago. The train had a new schedule. The train that ran express to burgermunch didn’t quite anymore.

At Burgermunch, there was talk of discontent from the owners. One of the managers came out and said the owners had asked her to chase us off, but she said she would try to go to bat for us. Nervous.

This week I did a strange thing. I bought a spare ticket to Palo Alto. After all, I go there every week. When I got to Kirk’s I borrowed the key to the bathroom. The regular manager gave me a strange, spooky look when I smiled and nodded at her. I missed it and every other sign. For two hours we socialized, ate and played. Yeah, people were wacking each other. In plain view. Another sign. This time the cops didn’t catch us mid-flog. But they did catch us. My heart sunk when I saw them. I knew it was over.


The thread continues by M.Madeline and “Fluffy” as they bemoan the loss of the location. The first notes about the difference between policing ourselves and being too out are here, as they relate to the Bay Area scene.


(M.Madelaine verifys he is NOT the owner of event).

The next BurgerMunch will be Thursday 6-ish at J. Bowden Park, the small park on North California Avenue and High St. in Palo Alto. This is just across the tracks and through the pedestrian underpass from the train station. Gather under the wooden structure thing about in the middle of the park. Lots of food available by walking through the underpass to California Avenue proper: sushi, Indian, burg^H^H^H^H, dim sum, vegetarian, books, copies, etc. Bathrooms: two blocks away at Printers Ink; be discreet. Several people noted a police car there last time. We asked, he knew nothing of us and could care less; he had just chosen a quiet spot to do paperwork. At this writing they seem to have No Problem with us using the park. How to get there, after we talk about rules.

Rule A. Have a good time.
Reason: Personal fiat
Penalty for violation: You have a lousy time.
Rule enforced by: You.

Rule B. Don’t fuck it up for everyone else.
Reason: it’s bad manners.
Penalty for violation: We lose this site forever.
Rule enforced by: probably, the Palo Alto P.D.

Some of our friends are allergic to heavy perfumes and aromatic stuff and will go to the hospital. We’re sharing the park with locals and children. Two streets have houses facing the park. Some Burgermunchers are uncomfortable around public play. The park closes at 10:30pm. ”


From: Stan Schwarz – view profile
Date: Thurs, Dec 16 1993 7:17 am
Email: sschw… (Stan Schwarz)

Gentle Reader reminds us about the next Austin ‘munch. I’d just like to add a quick note to the lurkers out there to come down and join us. All the cool kids are doing it… 😉 Also, I want to say a thank-you to STella and all the others who were at the Bay Area Burgermunch last Thursday. I had a fun time hanging out with y’all ^H^H^H^H^H you all. If any of you are ever here in Texas, be sure to mail us and come visit.


Sat, Jan 29 1994 2:01 pm
Email: an46…

Once again, there will be a South of the Bay Lunch in Sunnyvale, California on Monday. We meet in the food court on the second floor of the Sunnyvale Town Centre about noon to 12:15. We mark our table with a helium balloon, a red one if possible. We are there until about 1:15 to 1:30. There is also a 12:30 lunch on Tuesdays at the Dutch Goose. And BurgerMunch is in Palo Alto in the front restaurant at Antonio’s Nut House.


From: M. Madeleine – view profile
Date: Wed, Feb 16 1994 9:16 am
Email: an29… (M. Madeleine)
Groups: ……..

Do you know about BurgerMunch? It’s an informal gathering of a.s.b-folk in Palo Alto, California. We meet Thursdays at 7:00pm at Antonio’s Nut House, on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Now, being as this message looks just a bit like a personal, and that starts withn “P” and that rhymes with “C” and that spells “clueless”, I thought I’d pass on something that I read, back a year and a half ago when I started reading a.s.b. It went something like this…Munch is not a play party. It’s not a dating service. It’s not a singles bar. It is a place where friends who have a.s.b. in common, gather to munch burgers and talk about lots of things.

All in all, it’s a pretty good group. They’re my friends.
M. Madeline
Earliest ref on A.S.B. that I can find that establishes burgermunch at San Antonios.

M. Madeleine here, taking note of a Munch coming together in an old Stomping Ground…

Johnny Bomber writes,
>Well, here we go, jumping on the Burgurmunch express.
>I’m trying to get one organized for the SE Michigan area.

Glad to hear it! Kind of ironic, though… STella once told me that Munch would’ve started there, had she not moved to the Bay Area… If you’re interested in attending one, or helping organize or whatever, send me some email and let me know…and please don’t send it from an address…

> Oh definitely… we wouldn’t want any of those ANONYMOUS posters showing up at Burgermunch… or GOSH, Heaven Forbid an Anony-un-person should actually ORGANIZE one!

And anony-mice shouldn’t announce them either, ohno! By the way, Palo Alto Burgermunch is every Thursday at 7:00pm at Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue. The last three have been great, and the management is very happy to have us. (even lets us stay late!)


From: STella – view profile
Date: Mon, Apr 25 1994 5:54 am
Email: STe…@thelema.QueerNet.ORG
BurgerMunches, as I see it, ended. The folks now doing a Thursday get-together ban playing, and chose a place where smokers must go away from non-smokers. If I’d done anything to make BurgerMunch a legal trademark, what’s now happening at Antonio’s Nut House would NOT be a BurgerMunch. But still, one can find people who read asb at the restaurant on the corner of the block Kirk’s was in. One can occasionally find me out in the front, but more often, if I’m there, back in the smoker’s ghetto playing pinball.
STe… STe… STe…
1030 E. El Camino Real, #302, Sunnyvale, CA, 94087
If I get in my own way, we will take a step aside, all our parts will touch me and we will go on, for everything within me is sacred.


Still being referred to as Burger munch by May 28th, 1994.
Misinformation on FAQ at:



M.Madeline’s outline of proper munch location, best thoughts on how to hold one.


Regular asb postings were still appearing as late as Sat, Nov 26 1994.

December 1994.

January 5, 1995 M.Madeline is no longer posting the event, Nadja is.

March 27th, 1995 first asb post of the link between events.

August 25th, 1995- Stella still attending munch, first mention of both original Thursday munch AND Wednesday night “Stanford Students” original munch after it had moved and was morphing from students to BDSM’ers of all ages. First mention of Vicki as hostess.

Searcher posts of the 2 munches and some history Dec. 2, 1996– ASB lists no longer viable for general discussion (spamming), discussion list has moved off ASB. She formalizes “rules list”.

Feb 2, 1997. This is the last posting on the original board.

Published here, written by shadow (aka i999shadow), July 03, 2003; shared with permission
Jul 102013

I’ve been involved with a few boards in the past 6 years, and had the opportunity to watch the Phoenix Niagara board up close and see the difficulties it faced. I’m going to offer a few suggestions, which I think the new BKS board could benefit from. These are based on the pitfalls that I’ve seen other groups deal with.

  1. Keep your board small. The larger the board, the longer it will take to arrive at decisions, and the more likely that there will be splintering down the road when there are disagreements. I’ve seen a few boards (including Phoenix Niagara) decide to expand their board (in the case of PN from 3 to 6) either because the board wanted to share work between more members, or because they wanted to appear to give more representation. More representation is a good idea, but meetings quickly become bogged down, and the longer each meeting takes and the more disagreement you have to deal with, the less effective your board will become. Board members lose steam, and suddenly your entire board is floating dead in the water.
  2. Make use of advisors. Find experienced and level-headed people that can make suggestions to the board. When you don’t have a clear answer, ask those advisors what they would do. The choice is still the boards, but you’ll have a more informed decision. It’s also best that these people not be invested in the group so that they are as unbiased as possible.
  3. Appoint a spokesperson. This person is in charge of writing FL postings, which should be okayed by the rest of the board prior to posting. Knowing that it is one person talking through an account, and that the person has the backing of the board is important for your members and shows stability.
  4. Members don’t need to know EVERYTHING. Beyond a quarterly or annual update, members don’t need to be made aware of every decision, unless it requires them to do something differently. This is important, unless the board likes to be challenged on every decision it makes. Board members are supposed to be elected based on their ability to make decisions in the best interest of the group for a set term. Allow them to do that, and if you don’t like it, vote against them at the next election.
  5. Appoint an ombudsman. Again, this person should be removed from the group if at all possible. They are there to handle members complaints against the board, and to participate in any appeals to the boards decisions. They keep the board accountable. At least one board I can think of could have benefited greatly from this when one member made unilateral decisions (but since he was the spokesman for the group it was assumed it was a unified decision), and could have helped remove this person when it was alleged that he was also pocketing group finances.
  6. Share the work. If you need help, develop committees. Committee members must follow the boards decisions, or be removed from their post. Committee members do no get a board vote.
  7. Value your volunteers. Events can’t run without the support of your members, and without their active participation.
  8. Enforce the rules. This was Phoenix Niagara’s biggest pitfall a few years back. The Chief DM and board didn’t enforce them equally, and as a result people didn’t feel safe at the PN parties. It wasn’t long before the group went from 80 regular attendees to 25.

Written by and shared with permission of MasterMatt84. Thank you.

Jul 082013

Below are those that have referenced in their resources.  Please take the time to visit them, their organizations and their pet projects, as thanks for helping making this site a success.

Thank you!
❧ joy

Jump to Websites/Blogs | Jump to Non-locality based Groups

Last updated: March 23, 2017 at 18:59 pm

Blogs – Websites

Fetife Groups / Gatherings / Resources (non-locality based)

Mar 162013

This message is not another debate, or opportunity to weigh in on what I think about the enforcement of TOUs, about idiotic management (other than my own mistakes), or what the site can and cannot do to protect. Several have heard loud shots, appearing to be coming from the site’s foundation; though, whether these blows are the ultimate death knell of FetLife is uncertain.

However, ultimately, it isn’t a case of IF FetLife implodes, but WHEN will it happen, and HOW – whether its death is by implosion or a slow trickle of migration and neglect.

Please understand: I’m not saying these things to be a prophet of doom, but simply recognizing the life cycle of any one method being “the way” to find information. Before there was FetLife, there was Yahoo groups and Geocities, and IRC chatrooms and newspaper ads and probably notes on papyrus. Before there was Facebook, there was MySpace and bulletin boards and … There is always a before – and an an after.

Regardless, Group Leaders, NOW is the time to consider your own organization’s communication and outreach strategies.

  • Does your group have a standalone website? A Yahoo or other group?
  • Does your group maintain an email list? When was the last time it was backed up? When was the last time addresses were checked?
  • How do members contact group leaders on and off of FetLife? Is there a generic email address? (eg
  • Is your group’s visible information accurate, correct and timely? Are you still referring to yourself as a “new group”, even though you’ve now been around for five years? Do you still list your munch location as the place that burned down in 2011?
  • Revisit your group’s name and description, on FetLife and elsewhere. Consider the tips in @this thread, especially about including keywords.
  • Test your group’s ability to be found, Try to search various ways, on and off FetLife, to find your group. Do you show up when you use the “Places” tab on FetLife? when you search by your city? How about other ways?

FYI: Did you know that when you search in Yahoo groups for the keyword “munch”, it only comes back with 139 links (many of which have nothing to do with BDSM)? When you consider that FetLife has over 71,000 groups, and about half have a local component, that listing is far from complete or accurate.

Consider not just who your members are today, but the people looking for you in the future. Don’t equate “being found” with “being out”; there are several ways to promote your group that will help in a search that are less obvious than others. Even if you have a strong FetLife presence, and even if FetLife only gets bigger and better, Google doesn’t search FetLife – which leaves those searching in the dark.

Taking the time now will help your group survive – and thrive – regardless of chaos in the community at large.

Let’s help each other. Spread the word.

PS: I’m in the process of migrating The Munch and Adult Local Link (MALL) Directory to the standalone site Please feel free to check it out, and to verify your gathering’s information.

I am not abandoning FetLife for the foreseeable future, but expanding the potential reach of The Directory by giving it potentially larger visibility, and therefore, continuing to provide an avenue for people to find your local organizations.

REV: 2013 March 15
For those with Yahoo (or other groups), be sure your “Related Link” points to an up-to-date, valid resource.

Mar 162013

The basis of this post, in part, is a thread in Leadership Forum. In addition to my (modified) cross-post below, I suggest reading the thread, Actively Recruiting for Munches, for other suggestions, as well as any that may be added here as well.

Prior to the emergence of FetLife, I was the owner of a successful Yahoo group geared to lifestyle newcomers (GDsN). As part of my goal for the group to be an information resource, I gathered and organized links for local groups around the world. As I would add each group to GDsN’s listings, I would also email the owner of that organization (most at that time being other Yahoo groups). I introduced our group and its purpose, asking them to cross post our link in their listings, and invite them to join our group as well.

Before joining GDsN, I spoke via Messenger to most prospective members. This gave me a chance to speak to literally dozens (hundreds?) of group leaders. Below are some ideas for growing your munch that I’ve picked along the way:

  • Use greeters. Be on the look out for lurkers. When possible have someone meet newcomers near the entrance. Make it apparent (without being obvious) which is your group (eg a particular centerpiece, a unique part of the restaurant) to prevent the newcomer from having to ask facility personnel;
  • The more people involved in the process, the better chance that visitors will turn into members. Do not rely on a single individual to do all the reaching out (due to personalities, schedule conflicts, etc);
  • Don’t end the “greet” at hello. Do your best to connect guests to others that may be a good fit for their interests or personalities. Afterward, don’t forget follow up, via calls, IMs or emails;
  • Cross pollinate with other nearby groups. (eg a western Atlanta suburbs group whose members often visit an Alabama group, and vice versa.) Don’t be greedy with members or presenters; sharing tends to multiply rather than diminish;
  • Be familiar with other groups in your area. No one group will serve the groups of all people. If your group is a bad fit for some reason, know enough to not take it personally, and to know where to refer the person;
  • Self patrol and self control. Too often (though, not always by any means), those that get involved with helping newcomers, tend to be putting themselves at the front of the line for “fresh meat.” Be aware who is more likely predatory. Be mindful of ways to educate, inform and protect (while avoiding stepping into gossip and relationship smears);*
  • Order group business cards. VistaPrint is super cheap (often, just pay shipping). You can list the group’s web information, without personal identifiers, so several may carry them at a minimum cost. Be sure and have pens on the tables, so people can exchange numbers, Fet IDs, etc.

In addition, here are some specific things to consider in your web presence to build traffic and increase visitors to your group:

  • List specific cities and locales that are served by your group. Consider a list such as this one to increase the likelihood that your group will be found in a search. (eg You may be the Cobb County Munch, but if you don’t describe yourself as meeting in Marietta, Georgia, you could lose out.)
  • Be careful with acronyms. They can be cute, but if they don’t convey who and where you are, especially when being searched, your “audience” won’t necessarily find you, especially if you don’t spell it out.
  • Double check abbreviations (eg B’ham Munch may seem clearly Birmingham, except it won’t likely turn up in search results)
  • Take the time to spell check and have more than one person proofread the listing. What is obvious as you’re writing can be vague or nonsensical to another. Common words that are misspelled or used wrong include: Dominant/dominate, consensual, bestiality, you’re/your, they’re/there/their.
  • Join groups that encourage promotion, such as Advertise Your Small Group or FetLife Information & Group Advertising.
  • Make your group’s link your tagline and/or include it in your “websites listed.”
  • Consider your phrasing. To include a statement like, “We will no longer have drama like in the past” can cause someone considering joining for the first time to hesitate. Avoid in jokes and other appearances of being cliquish.
  • Make sure the page is up-to-date. If you have links to other places, verify them regularly. If you list an address or phone number, ensure it is current.
  • Avoid cliches like the plague. (grinz)
  • Periodically search for your group as if you were new. Can you find it in more with more than one search? For example, do you show up in both Hollywood and California?

Hope these ideas help. I welcome other suggestions you may have.

Good luck and much success!

Mar 162013

Could your group use more members?

or do you ever wish there were more groups in your area?

When a person searches for groups, they most likely to do it one of two ways: 1) The search bar, or 2) The places tab. Neither of these methods will help your organization be found – unless you include the right information in the Group Name and “About & Rules”. Just because most people brush over reading the group’s rules, do not ignore the value of this page’s content.

The tips and information below are gathered from researching FetLife’s specific quirks and search engine optimization:

Here are some tips to increase the frequency your group is found in FetLife searches:
  • If you are a munch (or munch-type group), list yourself as such. To find local groups, people will often use their location + keyword “munch”. Without using this specific word, your organization can easily be missed;
  • Be explicit what cities your group serves. “PNW” isn’t near as useful for a search as “Washington”. “In the mountains” says less than the towns that your members come from. “Space Coast” is a common nickname, but spelling out that your group serves Melbourne, Cape Canaveral, etc is more likely to connect with individuals doing a place search; specific locations, like this example are great;
  • Keep in mind that searches often require 3 or more letters for solid results. Don’t rely on “TN” to lead kinksters to your Tennessee group;
  • Don’t sacrifice the ability to be found in the name of being discrete. At least give general location information such as “meets in the northeast Atlanta suburbs”; however, county names are less effective than city or town names;
  • Spell check the title and content of the group (especially any keywords);
  • It is so easy to write from familiarity. You know what you want to say; it’s easy to assume that what you’re intending is what is being conveyed. Read it out loud. Have someone else, preferably someone unfamiliar with your locale, read over your description;
  • Use your group’s description to your advantage to keep things fresh and informative;
  • Take the time to “test search” for your group. Can you be found by city(s)? state/province?(s) country? In both a place search like this and the search bar. NOTE: it can take a couple of hours for changes to reflect in the search engine;
  • Preferably in the title, list the full name of your group (eg “TES” vs “TES – The Eulenspiegel Society”);
  • Don’t rely just on your event postings to make clear who/what your group is. Make sure it is clear and consistent;
  • No matter how clever your group’s acronym name is, it doesn’t necessarily make it locatable. (eg searching for “SMART” reveals literally 106! groups);
  • The “rules” and “restricted to” sections (on the “about page”) are notindexed and not keyword searched. Don’t rely on it to solely express or advertise your geographic area or limitations;
  • Pay close attention to use of spacing and characters other than those of standard English. eg “Fort Worth” vs “FortWorth”, “Montreal” vs “Montréal” (edit as of August 7, 2011);
  • Is it clear where your group is located? “NE Kinksters” could be North East, New England, Nebraska, or many other options;

When searching for groups on FetLife, results are displayed in the following order:
1. Those with the keyword in the group title AND in the group description;
2. Those with the keyword only in the group title;
3. Those with the keyword only in the description or in the title but as a derivative.
(Within each of those categories, the results are shown in group ID # order.)

Therefore, if “Cuba” was the keyword, here is the order of how various (hypothetical) groups would be sorted in a FetLife search:
Group: “Kink Cuba” / Description: “For kinksters in Cuba”;
Group: “Kink Cuba” / Description: “For island nation kinksters;
Group: “Kink Islanders” / Description: “For kinksters in Cuba“;
Group: “Kinky Cubans” / Description: “For island nation kinksters;

While many of these tips specifically relate to FetLife, the information in general is applicable wherever your organization promotes itself.

Please share how these tips have worked for you, and any other suggestions.

Mar 012013


Below are some resources that can help you grow your organization to its fullest potential:

Tips for Advertising in Groups

  • Read the rules and “stickies” for the groups you are in. Many groups will allow you to introduce your organization, especially if it is not in direct conflict with the primary group. Eg A general discussion group on a fetish may let you post an introduction if you start a local group related to that fetish.
  • Introduce/promote your group in the appropriate local (state/province/country) thread(s). Include info such as: Group name, description, purpose; When, where you meet (or how to find out where); Contact information for leader(s) and/or greeter(s); Any suggestions or restrictions on conduct, attire, dress code, etc.
  • Advertise Your Small Group
  • FetLife Index of Groups
  • New Groups Announce Yourself!
  • All Things Kink – Free for organizations

Targeted Lists / Groups (if applicable, ensure your group is listed in these places)

Groups for Owners & Moderators

Makin’ it Pretty: Formatting posts, etc

Other Reading Suggestions

Last updated: March 19, 2015 at 1:05 am
Sep 032011

Of course, no one reading this would be guilty of any of these mistakes.

For convenience sake, when I say “you”, I’m really referring to those other guys that make these all-too-common mistakes.

Saying where you are – NOT!

When groups name and refer to themselves by geographic generalities (eg Valley Kink, NE Whippers, Bay Area), group seekers get lost.

Cute Acronyms, or SMART ain’t smart!

If you don’t spell out who you are, where you are, what the group’s focus is, than how will anyone know?

Outdated event or group information in the Description Section

If the group formed in 2009, is it still “new”? Is the “next munch” really six months ago?

FYI: abbr’s = GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)

When abbreviations are used, as clear as they may be when reading, they are nearly useless when searching. Yes, TX = Texas, but tell that to a “Places” or keyword FetLife search.

Doing it right – the wrong way

Your membership is restricted to those in Istanbul and Constantinople; it says so right there in the group rules. Problem is the “Rules” and “Restricted to” sections – neither of which is indexed (read: searchable).

Speeling erors R bad!

I have seen group names with the city or state misspelled. Think this is just a matter for the Grammar Police? Nope! Try finding that group in a search.

Want to exchange more tips, tricks, and information for managing FetLife promotion? Check out the thread Keywords are Critical.

Good luck!

(Crossposted in The Munch And Local Link (MALL) Directory)