The Only Fans Debacle

Adult content creators won this battle but they didn’t win the war.

The Only Fans Debacle
Photo by Charles Deluvio / Unsplash

In not-so-new news, OnlyFans decided to kick off adult content from their site because of a problem with their payment provider.

There was such a pushback (read: quitting their platform) from content creators that they “resolved” this issue in a few days.

Adult content creators won this battle but they didn’t win the war.

Why? Because money talks. They underestimated the pushback and the loss of revenue and quickly backpedaled.

While on the surface it sounds like a win but many content creators are not so sure it will last, I know I would be looking for an alternative now.

We all know that money talks, but guess what? This isn’t the end of it. Money will talk again but this time it won’t be the content creators that will win, this time the corporation will.  Adult content creators won this battle but they didn’t win the war.

Over time there will be small Terms of Service updates. They might ban BDSM because of some thinly veiled definition of violence and safety. Then it might be accounts with less than 1,000 fans or less than 1,000 minutes of watch time. Then search results will change and you will be whittled away by 1,000 paper cuts.

I have zero insight into OnlyFans and their management so what I’m writing in the next few paragraphs is purely speculation on my part.

…I wonder just how long Medium will hang on?

When I read of payment provider problems with certain content and new Terms of Service adjustments, it means that something is coming. It could be that OnlyFans is looking to be acquired or maybe even an IPO. They’re trying to protect their revenue stream so they look better on paper. They're trying to grow up to be adults now.

No matter how pure the intention was when OnlyFans started, it’s a money-making machine now and money always talks. The power shifted from when a handful of content creators gave OnlyFans legitimacy in the early days to them now dictating the terms. The collective “we” created this monster because we gave them the power to do so.

Pornocalypse

On my old blog I wrote an article about how a content provider can own their content and make money. It certainly will require a lot more work and force you to become a bit more tech-savvy but why should even consider this "do it yourself" route?

Because of the Pornocalypse.

The pornocalypse was first penned by Erosblog.com writer Bacchus (NSFW link) in 2013 where he lamented the giant media/retail corporations censoring and hiding adult related content and products. Amazon loves to hide erotica results but will show you erotic romance novels instead.

This was 5 years before Tumblr kicked all adult content off its site. Today OnlyFans is rattling the cage and I wonder just how long Medium will hang on?

You remain at their mercy, community or not.

Bacchus’s solution was to buy a domain and host everything yourself. Set up payment subscriptions, make sure you can filter out people less than the appropriate age for adult content in your area, and start producing your content.

But what about accepting payments and dealing with marketing?

An adult content creator’s revenue is tied to how many eyeballs visit their site and ultimately pay them. Places like Medium create a community where people interact and find new content. If you take yourself off these sites your income will surely suffer.

So what happens when payment providers start complaining that you advertising your erotica novel or you sharing your non-family friendly boob shots are too hot to handle for little Johnny and his Mommy? They tell you to clean up or you won’t get paid, they threaten you with your livelihood.

You remain at their mercy, community or not. What do you do then?

The simple answer is you look for alternative ways to market and accept a different payment option.

One way is to accept Bitcoin. The article I've linked hints to Adult stars already doing this to get around payment provider problems. In fact, it's the best way to fight political correctness and promote social justice.

If bitcoin owners vote with their wallets and show the world that people can’t be kicked out of the entire financial system simply to enforce political correctness, then sex workers will regularly utilize bitcoin as a cypherpunk tool for lawful censorship resistance. (Selling sexual content is a perfectly legal job.)There are roughly one million creators on OnlyFans, the majority of which are women in the sex industry. Paying women in bitcoin is the most direct, actionable way that any porn consumer can promote social justice.

With Paypal and Venmo clamping down on naughty content, a decentralized payment system with no central banking institution sure sounds like a viable option to me.

What about the marketing part? This is where things get a bit harder.

Facebook wants to be family-friendly while catering to right-wing wackos.

Medium, Twitter, and all other major social media platforms are great at amplifying your work but you remain at their mercy. Why? Because they’re centralized systems and they can flick your sorry ass off them in a second if you farted by accident in their general direction.

This is where a decentralized web ring can make a big difference. Decentralized social media, like Diaspora or Mastodon, are great ways to be part of a network but “own/host” all your content. The only problem is that they’re a bit “techy” to get started.

Why is sex, sex work, the expression of the most powerful force in the human universe so frightening to people?

You can join or build a new community where you control what you want to share and the only place your content resides is on your laptop. So, if you decide to hang up your boots one day, you can delete your decentralized node and no one will ever see your stuff again.

The Pornocalypse Will Come For You

I hate to say but if history is a guide, the pornocalypse will come for you and your content if you’re not hosting it yourself. Also long as your content is legal and you’re allowed to operate such a site, no one can shut you down.

A wise adult content creator will start thinking of an alternative to OnlyFans. They might consider buying a domain, using the Ghost CMS to sell content, or joining a Diaspora Pod (I'm on there).

These are all the things I think about because the Internet is turning into a repressive cesspool. Instagram hides the nipple. Facebook wants to be family-friendly while catering to right-wing wackos. Tumblr tumbled. OnlyFans is turning into OnlyFamilyFriendlyFans. It's coming for all of us.

My mind swims because it doesn't make sense to me. Why is sex, sex work, the expression of the most powerful force in the human universe so frightening to people? Why do we let little Johnny and Mary watch war movies but we hide their eyes when two consenting adults slip into bed together?

That question is rhetorical and deserves a post all by itself one day, but make no mistake, the pornocalypse will come for you one day.