BoyLover.net (other names: BLN, BLn, bl.net) was one of the world's largest online boylover communities, and was the largest online message board for boylovers. It was started in 2002, and shut down by an FBI raid in 2009.
BLN was started and run by LostBoy for its lifespan, starting on May 1, 2002, and ending November 25, 2009. Within a few months of its initial creation, the site underwent a major redesign and restructure after it "became a battle zone for interpersonal flaming, insult, and damage." The redesign gave the board a friendlier feel and allowed it to better progress into a supportive environment. Language-specifics forums, as well as a room for under 18s, were features of the site.
On July 27, 2003, BLN established BoyLoverLinks.net as "a worldwide directory for the internet boylove community."
Server transfer, tech issues, and FBI seizure
Somewhere in 2004, the BLN server was transferred from one location to another resulting in minor downtime. During this time an IP address was provided for users to visit the board with.
On November 18, 2004, one of the BLN hard drives powering the site failed resulting in further unexpected downtime. The IP address access was pulled and the site, as well as BoyLoverLinks.net, were both offline. It was stressed that no data was lost due to the hard drive failure. Emails were also unable to be sent to either BLN or BoyLoverLinks, and LostBoy provided a gmail address.
Between November 18 and December 2, 2004, the FBI seized the server hosting BoyLover.net and BoyLoverLinks.net as part of an investigation into the websites regarding their legality. BLN Relations Admin Joecool4218 had informed users via BoyChat that BLN had been taken offline due to a pending FBI investigation in response to a comment by another BoyChat poster. At the time of the seizure, the site had 15,000 registered users.
BLN was back online by mid January 2005 with no compromised user data. Two weeks of data was lost due to the sudden nature of the downtime.
Main article: Operation Rescue
On November 25, 2009, a complex international investigation being run by Europol seized the BoyLover.net server and arrested some of the site's senior members of staff. Joecool4218 and JagDawg were arrested by ICE, and LostBoy was arrested by Dutch police. In New Zealand Loren was also arrested. BoyZoom, Loren's site, was shut down by other members of its administration temporarily. On December 1, BoyZoom announced its permanent closure.
On March 2011, a press conference held by Europol following the conviction of LostBoy provided details of the three-year investigation named Operation Rescue. It was announced that there were 184 arrests and 670 suspects were identified and investigated. They also stated that, at the time of the conference, 4202 intelligence reports had been distributed to over 30 countries.
BLN was run through the Ultimate Bulletin Board software and had forums for a variety of languages including Spanish, Dutch, Russian, and Hungarian. There were also various forums for entertainment threads and pictures or videos in addition to literature forums and an area specifically for members under 18 years of age (where those over 16 were not permitted). In December 2005, the most popular forums were The Porch and The Entry, with The Poolside following in third. Of the foreign forums, Das Deutsche Zimmer and El Caurto Hispano were the two most popular with 91212 and 79998 posts respectively.
Site design heavily featured: large, illustrative photographs; strong use of bright colors; and a multitude of icons. Color scheme was occasionally transformed, in recognition of significant or tragic events, to a monochromatic theme.[Citation needed]
Members were categorized according to their post count, with a member starting as "New Kid" and eventually becoming "Elder Brother" at 5000 posts. While this made it simple to tell oldtimers from newbies, it often led to members posting playfully in order to increase their post count, and hence their status.
Site management was highly organized, and a team of Buddies were responsible for welcoming and guiding new members of the community. Highly respected members were sometimes named Mentors. Only one member, Friend, had been named Mentor.[Citation needed]
The site also featured a free online magazine called Modern Boylover Magazine which started in 2006. The latest issue of MBM was published in December 2015.
BoyLover.net's rules and guidelines were intended to safeguard the site's legality according to United States law. A complex, three-tiered organization of nearly 100 volunteers served users of the site and enforced site policy.
Site administrators were been criticized for taking a cavalier attitude toward security problems.[Citation needed]
Some portals had warned against BoyLover.net on grounds that the site allowed off-site image links, making IP harvesting relatively simple. Due to this, visitors were advised to turn off images when loading BoyLover.net forums if they are worried about their surfing habits being analyzed by unknown and potentially hostile parties.[Citation needed]
The following was taken from BoyLover.net's home page:
- BoyLover.net provides a safe, supportive, and legal environment where boylovers, boys, and others interested in boylove can share thoughts, opinions, feelings, and experiences. Its forums are online meeting places where questions, advice, and debate take place freely in an atmosphere of comfort and mutual respect, and where educational material and information about boylove can be shared.
- BL.net: The Reference Shelves - Our Look and Feel (Internet Archive, 2009-05-14 05:06:07) Accessed November 22, 2018.
- BL.net: The Reference Shelves - The Board's History (Internet Archive, 2009-05-14 @ 05:06:37) Accessed November 22, 2018.
- BoyLover.net Emergency News Page (Internet Archive, 2004-11-14 @ 04:14:52) Accessed November 23, 2018.
- BoyLover.net Emergency News Page (Internet Archive, 2004-11-19 @ 02:16:54) Accessed November 23, 2018.
- BoyLover.net Emergency News Page (Internet Archive, 2004-11-19 @ 02:16:54 Accessed November 22, 2018.
- BoyLover.net Emergency News Page (Internet Archive, 2004-12-12 @ 05:35:14) Accessed November 22, 2018.
- BC Digest - Re: Boylover.net servers seized by FBI (December 2, 2004, Joecool4218) Accessed November 10, 2018.
- BC Digest - BLnet and Individual Tragedies Lead to Progress? (December 6, 2004, Curtis) Accessed November 10, 2018.
- BoyLover.net Emergency News Page (Internet Archive, 2005-01-20 @ 02:48:29) Accessed November 22, 2018.
- International child porn ring tied to Roswell, Cumming (Internet Archive, 2009-12-12 @ 19:12:32 Accessed November 22, 2018.
- I got this news from the BZ... (BoyChat) 2009-11-25 19:38:56 EST Accessed December 1, 2018.
- Re: B/Z down to? (BoyChat) - 2009-12-1 12:00:46 EST Accessed December 1, 2018.
- Operation Rescue | Europol Accessed December 1, 2018.
- BoyLover.net (Internet Archive, 2005-12-03 @ 00:46:03) Accessed November 10, 2018.
- BL.net: The Reference Shelves - The Membership Journey (Internet Archive, 2009-05-14 @ 05:06:42 Accessed November 22, 2018.
- BoyLover.net Privacy Statement (Internet Archive, 2009-09-07 @ 17:12:06) Accessed June 13, 2018