Hookup potential: 3/5 Features: 5/5 Design: 3/5 Content: 4/5
- An active and engaged community of fetish-lovers
- Slightly more tailored and attractive design and features than AFF
- Exercise more caution about meeting members than you would for a “vanilla” adult dating site
The Full Story:
ALT.com is AFF’s kink/fetish “adult dating” site. Despite being owned by AFF and representing a subset of their database they do seem to have made a reasonable effort with ALT to tailor the website to the targeted demographic. As the interface and features are largely the same as AFF’s, I’ll try to concentrate this review on the points of difference. (If you want to read the AFF review to learn more about the generic shared features, it’s over here.)
I made my account a while ago, and finally got it upgraded it to GOLD status the other day. I logged in. This is what the home page looks like. Yes, another Christmas tree. However to my eyes it’s a Christmas tree with a slightly cooler color scheme than this one, though I obviously can’t speak to everybody’s aesthetic of web palette.
The first thing I noticed once my eyes adjusted to all the visual clutter was that there was a banner ad for Penthouse staring me in the face (Penthouse? Really? On a FETISH site?) I think the site just rotates the banners through the various FF properties, but it was still a bit of a “lolwut?” moment.
ALT does have several offerings that distinguish it from the regular AFF site. For example, in your profile there’s an extensive list of fetishes that you can classify yourself using. Doing so will make it easier for other people into similar kinks to find you, and will advertise your kink/s to the other members. To see for yourself what I mean by “extensive”, look at the full list here. The site also provides members with a “Fetish consent worksheet” and the ALT.com toolbar, which is an IE plugin that lets you know when you have mail in your alt.com account, when your ALT friends are online, etcetera.
Figuring at this point that the best way to find out about the site is to chat to some of the people who use it, I logged into the “newbie” chat room. You can see a list of the chatrooms here. I’m thinking that the “Topical” rooms’ relative popularity gives an indication as to the levels of the site’s patronage amongst the various fetish groups and subcultures.
The chat rooms seemed active and full of genuine and intelligent people. The half-dozen or so I spoke to told stories tinged with ambivalence. Most had met people from the site, some had had good experiences, some had not. Those who had experienced both regarded the ALT.com “culture” as quite different to AFF’s. For one thing, they said, people on ALT.com tend to meet in public and socialize with others from the site first, before getting into anything sexual or kink-related. Because a lot of them enjoy inflicting or receiving pain of some sort, it’s important for all parties to be confident that they haven’t just hooked up with a Patrick Bateman-style serial killer. This “feeling out” process can (and should) take longer in this sort of environment than in one that’s just about the quickie “vanilla” sex hook-ups.
Some of the women also talked to me about having been lied to and misled by men masquerading as women, doms masquerading as subs, unemployed bums masquerading as high-flying corporate executives, etc. As elsewhere on the Internet, people on the site are sometimes less than honest about their desires, appearances, financial statuses, etc. It does seem to be the case from what I was told, however, that it’s a site with a real community and one through which you will have no great difficulty meeting and interacting with people in the real world.
Overall I decided that I’d rate this site a little higher than the main Adult Friend Finder one due to its superior design and stronger community feel-though it’s obviously only going to work for you if you actually have some fetish or kink in the first place to explore.
How about the rest of you? Any experiences at ALT you’d like to share? Comment away!