It’s hard to overstate the extent to which OnlyFans has reversed the overall downward trajectory of being an adult entertainer.
Before the subscription service launched in 2016, so-called websites — video platforms that aggregated stolen, freely-popular pornography and generated revenue from banner and video ads — were caused many of the biggest studios to go out of business.
The rest range from paying top performers thousands of dollars per shot to a few hundred in general.
OnlyFans’ clean, streamlined interface allows individuals over the age of 18 to sell and buy monthly subscriptions to its image and video feeds too luxuries for Instagram. There, the power is in the hands of the people who create their own work: A creator with a few thousand monthly subscribers can earn up to $25,000 per month posting content, all while still retains full ownership of those photos and movies.
And as these creators built lucrative businesses, they built companies with them.
That’s why an announcement from OnlyFans last Thursday that it would ban sexual activity altogether, starting in October, led to some panic in the porn industry, Brian Gross, an industry publicist said. He added that among his clients, there is also palpable sadness that at a time of growing respect and sympathy for sex workers, one business The business they helped build is trying to get rid of them in the cold.
Then, within a few days, the company reversed its decision, announcing in a tweet on Wednesday: “We have the necessary guarantees in place to support our diverse community of creators and have halted the planned policy change on October 1.”
“Thank you everyone for listening to your voice,” it said.
The change was partly due to the backlash from the creators, who started leaving the platform in large numbers.
“You have really successful hard-working content creators who put in a lot of time and work and have a consumer on the other end who wants to buy that content,” said Gross. . “You go through one article after another about how successful it is, and for some reason the outside world doesn’t want it recognized.”
Matthew Camp, an artist who posts gay pornography multiple times in an interview, said in an interview that he sees the company’s proposed ban as a means of paying for lip service. It is increasingly difficult for credit card companies to process transactions involving pornography.
But on Wednesday, the company said it had reached an agreement with its payment processors. An OnlyFans spokesperson told The New York Times, in an emailed statement: “The changes proposed on October 1, 2021 are no longer needed as banking partners have ensured that OnlyFans has can support all genres of creators.”
‘As simple as beautiful?’
Dannii Harwood became OnlyFans’ first content creator in 2016. Since then, she’s combined her work on camera to run a management agency with over 200 OnlyFans creators as guests. row.
According to Ms Harwood, Tim Stokely – the site’s founder – and his partners “didn’t have much choice” but to change the original rules. Those credit card companies are simply too powerful, and although they are increasingly hesitant to process payments for pornography believed to be in the hands of religious conservatives, there are concerns. Other legitimate concerns: Consumers of pornography are among the most likely to dispute transactions. Credit card companies also don’t want to process inadvertent payments for documents where consent issues later arise.
A representative for Mr Stokely did not respond to a request for comment, but in an interview on Tuesday with The Financial Times Mr Stokely blamed the change entirely on the banks, saying if the situation was With them changed, new bans around pornography will be lifted.
Ms. Harwood notes that many of OnlyFans’ most successful performers are not those who post pornography but are masters of the art of “teasing and provoking”.
She herself never posts sex photos on her feed.
Instead, she starts earning $50,000 a month from subscriptions and special requests, for which an additional fee is charged. Men pay her to do daring acts, like opening doors naked and driving around in her underwear.
Through direct message, she chats with her fans daily, learning about their habits, sexual predictions, and insecurities, becoming what she likes to call her “online girlfriend”.
“Once a subscriber has seen everything, they move on to the next creator. It has been proven time and time again with my girls,” she said Friday. “I keep telling them: ‘Less is more.'”
But Ms Harwood doesn’t deny that if the ban goes as planned, some regular porn actors are likely to have moved on to other sites.
The largest of them is Justfor.fans, which, according to founder Dominic Ford, currently has more than 14,000 verified creators, 2,000 of whom completed the registration process within hours of OnlyFans change terms of service.
In an interview, Mr. Ford, a 46-year-old former gay porn actor and producer, said the site is poised to bring in about $20 million in revenue this year. He would love to take the business that OnlyFans had planned to turn down.
But he has to face his own set of obstacles. He is currently working on plans to require documentation and consent forms for all performers.
“That’s a good thing,” he said, making things more professional. “We’ve released on every movie I’ve ever made.”
However, he will have to hire people to handle a lot of paperwork. It will be costly.
Some industry players, including Mr. Gross, believe that cryptocurrencies will provide a major payment solution. But the bulk of most online sites’ revenue comes from automatic, recurring subscriptions. And there is no way to do that through most cryptocurrency payment systems. “There is no towing mechanism in place,” said Mr. Ford.
According to Wednesday’s announcement, performers may not feel the need to quickly navigate to other sites. For OnlyFans, decisions can be made with self-preservation in mind.
“Remember what happened to Tumblr?” Mr. Gross said, referring to the decision to ban pornography in 2018. “It’s completely irrelevant.”
Mike Isaac contribution report.