Written by Melanie Darmawan
Image courtesy of Only Fans
Ever since its launch in 2016, OnlyFans has successfully established its position on the internet, as well as the porn and sex-work industry. At the moment, the site has just a little more than 30 million registered users worldwide, 450,000 of which are content creators. INSIDER reported the site has an average of 200,000 new users signing up daily. It is popular among young people for its lax content policy, which allows content creators to put out revealing pictures of themselves.
Although the site is most known for its lewd and nude contents, the website has no limitation of what kind of contents can their content creators put out. Users can subscribe to their favourite creators to get new contents every day, or they could also give them one-off tips. Although OnlyFans take 20% off their creators’ weekly incomes, Timothy Stokely, the founder of OnlyFans, are confident and proud to say that the platform has paid over $700 million to their content creators.
Although the main idea of the site is similar to one of its rivals, Instagram, content creators and influencers like Monica Huldt admitted that making money off OnlyFans is so much easier than on Instagram. On an interview with Business Insider, she claimed that content creators, especially female content creators, often face demonetisation issues on Instagram, as the platform does not allow users to put up any content with any sort of nudity.
On the same interview with Business Insider, Huldt also admitted the minimum cost for putting up contents for OnlyFans. While Huldt’s consumers on OnlyFans are satisfied with her simple selfies and minimum makeup, Huldt normally spends around $1,000 every month for Instagram—as she needs to pay for sets, professional photographers, as well as professional photo-editors.
With its phenomenon-like popularity, it is quite rare to talk to anyone—specifically young adults—who are not aware of this site. It is even rarer to talk to anyone who has not, at least not publicly, considered starting their own OnlyFans creator account. Young women all over the UK have turned to OnlyFans for money, some are on it as a side hustle, while others are treating it as a full-time job. Students are earning the most money in their family, some may have found themselves as taking on the role of the breadwinner of the family.
On an interview with The Tab, nineteen-year-old Imogen Duffield, better known as Imo, is in the top 1% for all OnlyFans content creators. Although she did not mention a specific number, she noted that she was earning five times more than the average graduate salary in the UK. Top content creators have been able to finance themselves for trips to Asia, pay off loans and mortgages, as well as keeping up with the high-end fashion trends.
An increase in numbers
OnlyFans has always been popular among young girls all over the internet who are looking to make some extra cash on the side, however, it has been reported that the site received a 75% increase of sign-ups worldwide and 42% in the UK in early April, when the pandemic has resulted in many young people to lose their jobs and usual income. New users have admitted they were surprised to be earning more money than they were expecting when they started the job.
Worried about rent and living costs, Mark, a performer who lost his job from a five-star hotel, told BBC that he turned to OnlyFans, even with the lack of support from people around him. “They told me I was selling my soul. They had assumed that I was going to be having sex with everyone and posting videos of it.” Despite this, however, he pushed through with his decision and he has not regretted it ever since. “OnlyFans paid my rent. It’s paid for my good. It’s paid for my car to keep running. It has literally paid for the necessities of living.”
The ugly side of OnlyFans
Although the rewards sound exciting, veteran OnlyFans users do not give out recommendations lightly. As with any other platforms, being a content creator on OnlyFans require a lot of work, time and effort. On the same interview with The Tab, Imo shared how much work she has put into her contents, similar to Huldt, Imo takes her own pictures and videos for OnlyFans, “try having ten jobs at once after having orgasms on camera all day and then tell me my job is easy money.” Commonly, content creator works alone—only a small percentage are couples and even lesser for more than two people creators—this means that they have limited emotional and legal support, which are commonly given to workers in other industries. “We have no official employer, no union when things go wrong, we can’t take our boss to tribunal when our content is leaked.”
Recently, OnlyFans had gotten itself into a lot of trouble as massive storage of pornographic contents were leaked. The Independent reported around 1.5 terabytes worth of pornographic photos and videos were leaked, which equals to approximately three million pictures or 750 hours of high-quality video. These videos are then found on pirate sites like PornHub.
It is more troubling to know that most of the contents leaked were women’s contents, as reported by iNews. Not only that, but women creators have got their information and personal details leaked alongside their pictures and videos. On an interview with The Tab, Rose, a university student who has been working with OnlyFans for a few months, shared that she had been stalked, doxed and received death threats from other people over the internet. “The normalisation of the abuse of sex workers in this society is horrifying.”