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.

  One Response to “Creating Events on FetLife”

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