There Should be an app for that – why your favourite fetish and sex sites don’t have an app

There’s a whole bunch of sex and fetish websites that people will state they feel there should be an app for.

I don’t want to sound like “old man shouts at cloud” when I say I sometimes don’t understand the obsession for apps (said as someone with pages and pages of them on my phone) particularly when there’s an otherwise functioning and mobile optimised website.

But, of course, there is a benefit. Be it push or real time notifications. So a ping to say someone you follow on OnlyFans has new content or that someone has messaged you on Fetlife or bought something from you.

Would you want it?

But, even if this were possible. Would you really want it?
Perhaps a satisfying ping as someone subscribes on OnlyFans but then a string of notifications as they like/comment on your every post.
Being sat with someone showing them something on your phone and then suddenly a pop up dick pic. Or, if you’re in a meeting and it flashes up on screen to others you’ve had a message from a Mistress.

The reality

But, still.
That side of things is a separate discussion.

Here’s the reality.
For iPhone users. Every app has to come through the Apple Store and is approved by Apple.
For Android users. Every app comes through the play store and is approved by Google.

Adult content is forbidden. Whilst, some have tried little workarounds, it’s not just the app *release* that goes through approval, but every subsequent update.
If you have found a way to pull a fast one, they can just as quickly pull your app.

Whilst a pulled app wouldn’t stop those who’ve already got it from continuing to access it, it would be vulnerable as it wouldn’t be able to receive future updates.

“But don’t Fetlife have an App?”

Fetlife used a little workaround by bypassing the stores. This cannot be done for Apple, but can for Android. It basically allows the user to download the APK file and install it directly.
However, this means the app hasn’t gone through some of Google’s other checks. But also, whilst globally Android may have 76% of the market share. It has under 40% of the US market, and around 48% of the UK and Canadian markets.

The US market is by far the biggest of their market (55% of traffic, according to Alexa) so an app only usable by 40% of that is immediately unavailable to over a third of their market regardless of who uses what device outside of the US. I don’t have all of the stats available – but I’d make an educated guess that around 50% of Fetlife’s market do not have an Android phone – and then when you consider a chunk of those do not want the inconvenience of manually installing the apk (which I believe some devices won’t allow) it’s really a lot of work for a small part of their audience.

Incidentally. Fetlife have officially abandoned the app. If you do have it installed there is no ongoing support for it so, it’s already a security risk and inevitably will start to run into problems due to not getting updates. If you have the app, I’d recommend deleting it.

“What about Whiplr?”

Oh. Jesus. I just checked and apparently Whiplr is still a thing.
They obviously managed to get the app passed, but they did so with some heavy, heavy, restrictions.
Every uploaded photo needs to be approved and nothing vaguely adult is permitted. An adult dating site with no adult content. Amazing. So, no nudity, a lot of toys were not permitted to be shown. Users generally had a frustrating time.
A lot of folk I spoke to often didn’t understand why their pictures were rejected and it seems even showing limited cleavage was disapproved and anyone asking more questions for help were dismissed with “it’s Apple policy”

An app with potential?

Fetish.com launched an app earlier this year and it’s possibly one to keep an eye on for how things play out.
They get around a lot of things by making the app a very limited version of the site.

So, whilst it’s a site that permits adult and sexually explicit photos (providing they’re of you and only you) you cannot set an explicit photo as a profile picture.
This means folk can browse profiles without seeing adult content.
Any adult content you do have uploaded can only be viewed by someone on the website who is also verified as being 18+
Even the forum, the only section app-only users can access is a ‘Kink Academy’ section which is generally more educational and kinda like advice and how to.

So, they currently get around things with a much reduced version of the site. Of course, it can still provide push notifications for messages, spanks and people visiting your profile. Perhaps this is an avenue others could look at for limited functionality.

However, particularly when it was first launched – this became an app that the stores automatically recommended to people. In the short term at least there was a massive influx of members who thought it was an easy hook up or came along to troll. Whilst this got dealt with quickly, it was off putting for some at the time.

But for the future?

Unless laws and policies change, this is going to be how things are. It makes little sense spending time, effort and money on developing an app which is going to be limited in user base and at risk of future laws or tech changes (i.e. if users can no longer install apk files, something which the Android stores are pushing away from)
It’s certainly a case of asking what benefits a heavily “lite” version of the app could bring.