(Pocket-lint) – There are a handful of content-sharing platforms that allow creators to earn money online. Patreon and OnlyFans are popular options, but OnlyFans is by far the most controversial because it lets creators upload any kind of content, including porn, and lock it behind a paywall.
OnlyFans has been around since 2016 and is widely used by sex workers, though celebrities like Cardi B and Bella Thorne have also recently begun using it to earn an income. Some TikTok creators also point their followers to OnlyFans, where they promise exclusive content in exchange for money.
In May 2020, CEO Tim Stokely revealed OnlyFans had been seeing about 200,000 new users every 24 hours and 6,000 to 8,000 new creators joining every day. Subscriptions also shot up 50 per cent this past April – possibly because Beyonce mentioned OnlyFans in a new song, or as BuzzFeed reported, because more people have been using it during the pandemic to earn money from porn.
Whatever the reason, here’s what you need to know about OnlyFans.
What is OnlyFans?
OnlyFans is a content-sharing platform based in London. Creators can use it to offer videos, photos, and even chances to chat one-on-one for a price. It is popular in the adult entertainment industry. The New York Times even ran a story in early 2019 that claimed OnlyFans had changed sex work forever, dubbing OnlyFans “the paywall of porn”. But OnlyFans is used by all sorts of creators.
OnlyFans was founded by Timothy Stokely and is a website only with no official apps. It currently has around 30 million users and 450,000 creators.
Who uses OnlyFans?
Models, musicians, actors, physical fitness experts, and influencers all use OnlyFans to generate revenue. They can receive money directly from fans on a monthly basis or from tips and the pay-per-view feature. Blac Chyna, for instance, charges fans $50 a month to access her OnlyFans page, and rapper Rubi Rose made $100,000 on OnlyFans in two days by posting photos from her Instagram.
Actress Bella Thorne also claimed to make more than $2 million on OnlyFans in one week. Here’s a small selection of notable people on OnlyFans:
How to join OnlyFans
Go to the OnlyFans website to create an account. You can create an account from scratch, or you can join with your Twitter or Google account. Once your account is created, you should be routed to your Account settings page. From Account settings, you can change your username, email, and other preferences. The sidebar on the left lets you access your Profile, Security, and Notification settings.
Go to Profile to change your display name, set a subscription price, and more.
How does OnlyFans work?
Home is where you can see your feed – a stream of content shared by those you follow, including your close friends. You will also see suggestions for more people to follow on OnlyFans. At the top of the Home page, there is a search bar so you can look for other creators and users to follow.
From the Notifications page, you can see your notifications. Go figure, right? These include past interactions, liked, subscribed, tipped, and more
Ready to start sharing? Go to the Create posts page to compose a new post and share it with your fans. You can even add media or start a poll.
If you have contacts, like someone you subscribe to or even a fan, you can go to the Chats page to start direct messaging them. Self-explanatory.
Menu slides out from the right, where you can see your display name, user name, and the number of fans and followers. You can also access your profile from here, as well as bookmarks, lists, settings, cards, bank account info, and enable a dark mode. You also log out from this menu.
How to earn subscription money
To start earning on OnlyFans, you need to add your payment information, verify your account, and set your subscription price. After you’ve done all that, you’ll be free to start creating posts and locking them behind your paywall.
Add payment info and verify account
Once you’re logged into OnlyFans, go to the Menu and select Add Bank. You need to be 18 years old and you will need to verify your account. OnlyFans will ask for your personal data, like your name, address, date of birth, and your ID document such as a passport or driver’s license. It also asks if you plan to post porn. US creators will also need to complete their W-9 form (learn more about this from the OnlyFans Help hub here).
Set subscription price
To set your subscription price, go to the Menu, select Profile, click the Edit Profile button, and look for Subscription Price. There, you can set an amount per month. You must add your bank account or payment information before you can set your price or accept tips.
How to earn from pay-per-view messages
There are additional tools you can use to make money on OnlyFan, including pay-per-view messages or PPVs. This is content that you share, via message, with your fans, but they have to pay to view it! You can send PPVs to individual accounts by going to into your messages, composing a message to the account, attaching your media, and clicking the price tag in the bottom right to set your price.
To send PPVs to all of your fans at once, go to the messaging page and select New message and All subscribers. Add your message, attach your media, and click the price tag icon to set your price. Click send, and it’ll send to all of your subscribers.
How to become a fan/subscribe to creators
OK, so let’s say you don’t want to be a creator and instead you want to be a fan on OnlyFans. Create your OnlyFans account and then go to the Home page and start looking for someone to follow. Once you find them, you can tap the star icon on their profile to favourite them or save them to a list.
You will also see their subscription tiers on their profile. Actress Bella Thorne, for instance, charges $20 a month, though she does offer subscription bundle deals, too. Currently, she has 46 posts locked behind a paywall. You can see when she is online because her profile will say “available now”.
Her profile also links to her Amazon wishlist, where you can purchase items for her, though this is separate from OnlyFans, where you are not guaranteed access to her or her content (unless you’ve DM’d her and asked). Make sense? This is one example of what it’s like to be a fan and subscribe to a creator on OnlyFans. As we’ve explained above, you can also PPV or tip a creator.
Note: If you want to subscribe to a creator, first add a card (Menu > Add Card). When you subscribe to other users, OnlyFans will charge your card.
Want to know more?
Check out the OnlyFans Help hub here.
Writing by Maggie Tillman.