The Nifty Archive is an archive on the internet collecting and publishing a wide range of erotic stories via their website. The site is run by the Nifty Archive Alliance , an official not-for-profit organisation and recognized as a tax-exempt organisation by the US IRS.
The Nifty Archive started as a personal archive of both stories and pictures made available to the public via anonymous FTP at CMU by a student who became later a staff-member. In 1993 the current webmaster David approached the initiator Chris and offered his help and support. In March of that year they started the task of catagorizing and merging of all uploaded stories.
The archive had to end public access to the site in April 1993 because Chris, his postmaster and also his boss received harassing email about the FTP-site. CMU requested the hostmasters to remove the pictures because many of them were copyrighted and there was no age-restriction to the FTP site. The university allowed Chris to re-open the access to the stories section.
Around June 1994 Nifty also enabled GOPHER access and about a year later FTP-access was limited to reduce the heavy CPU load on the system. Later the archive enable WWW access and a HTML welcome-page was created to enable easy access to the archive.
In 1996 Chris left the CMU and David asked help from the internet-community to find a new home for the archive. Only few offers for resources materialized and commitments made by individuals weren't followed up. In that same year the Communications Decency Act was passed which forced the site to use some form of age-verification.
The site had to close down for a short time but after the CDA was ruled unconstitutional and the archive found place on The Gay Cafe using several methods for parental control, Nifty was reborn.
Another hiccup followed in 1997, when The Gay Cafe had a dispute with their ISP and had to shut-down their site and all mirrors. Another appeal from David led to finding some extra high-capacity mirror sites and since then the archive is online.
In April 2000 the Nifty Archive Alliance was formally incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. In March 2001, the IRS determined that the Nifty Archive Alliance was a tax-exempt charity under IRS Code 501(c)(3) making all donations fully tax deductible to U.S. residents.
Originally the archive consisted of gay erotic pictures and stories. The (mainly scanned) pictures were often copyrighted and due to the lack of any age-control, had to be removed from the site.
Currently the site doesn't only contain gay stories but also other erotic stories. All stories are categorized and indexed using several properties. Stories can be searched and sorted on publishing-date, author name or content-type. The main groups used to catagorize are: gay male, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender / transsexual, bestiality and information.
Most of these main-categories contain several sub-cat's allowing searching stories on specific preferences. A single story can be found in several of these groups. For example, a story about two students having their first experiences in college can be found in both gay/college as gay/beginnings. All categorizing (except the transgender stories) is done by a single person, the previous mentioned David and authors who upload their stories can provide the tags for the available groups.
Currently (May 2009) the archive contains some 15.000 files, totaling nearly 3,5 Gb.
The archive offers authors of stories a platform to publish their own stories. Authors can upload their own stories to the website provided that they accept the organisations publishing rules regarding copyright, distribution etc.. Another source of the stories are several USENET groups containing all sorts of erotic stories except heterosexual stories.
The archive uses several techniques to prevent unwanted access by minors. Currently the archive supports the following parental control systems: Cyber Patrol, NetNanny and CYBERsitter. Nifty adheres the SafeSurf and ICRA Content Rating guidelines.