in

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH ONLY FANS?

As presumably the whole World knows now in August the biggest and original fansite Only Fans (OF) announced that all adult content would be removed from their platform by October 1st. This was not a surprise to those in the know and industry experts butt lead to a massive media frenzy with gay and straight porn performers and content producers panicing like crazy at the potental loss of a lucrative income. Mainstream media, news outlets, the adult industry and endless social media all went into melt down. There were conspiracy theories aplenty, accusations, recriminations and the newer competitors moved apace to benefit from the fall-out. One week later after what was classed by many as one of the worst PR disasters ever and endless bad publicity OF changed their mind and said adult content could stay for the time being. Had the trust gone though and how sincere is that change of heart?

Only Fans started just 5 short years ago in 2016 and it has purportedly made Billions of Dollars during its very short life along the way becoming a brand name synonymous with a new way of communicating with talent, watching porn and other things of interest. Up until the 19th August anouncement it had 2 Million content producers and 130 Million paying users. In the First week of the global pandemic in March 2020 alone over 60,000 content producers opened an account and started selling their clips and access. It was set up by very reclusive and press shy Tim Stockley from Essex in the UK with a 10K load from his father and it soon employed Tim’s brother too. In 2019 75% of the comapny was purchased by the extremely dodgy Ukrainian Leonid Radvinsky who has a ‘past’ as it were who moved the company in arguably a riskier ‘clickbait’ direction but more on him later.

Although the company did not plan it OF became synonymous with adult content and porn which supposedly the originators disliked intently as they wanted it to be more a kind of ‘paid twitter’ where fans could engage with celebrities and influencers for a monthly subscription usually between 5 and 20 bucks. Producers earn 80% of the monthly income and OF keeps 20%. As with VHS, DVD’s and the Internet porn has a habit of moving in to any new realm and fully taking over and boy did it do that in the fansite World. It should be noted that it does have a certain amount of success with celebrities with the likes of Justin Bieber, DJ Khaled and Cardi B having lucrative fansites and of course they are not showing themselves fucking or jerking off in the shower daily. 

The teen superstar film and TV actress now turned 23yo Bella Thorne set a new OnlyFans record when she earned over $1 million within 24 hours of joining the platform in August 2020 and more than $2 million in less than a week by promising nude pictures which turned out to be lingerie shots_ – her record has now been beaten Four times over. Besides celebs and adult industry girls and guys OF was also the home to paid fitness accounts, those offering Yoga instruction, Wellness and cookery tips and a whole load more which is much closer to what the original idea was for the platform and seems to be the direction they are keenest on in the future. The problem was that their brand name just could not be separated from the adult world which it became increasingly associated with to the chagrin of the owners and eventually comedians, journalists and the likes of Saturday Night Live just pushed the sleaze side driving the image home even more. The adult side was also a MASSIVE cash earner for Only Fans.

As with other trailblazing successful companies competitors move in as soon as the profits appear. Often and almost certainly in the case of fansites the new guys on the block tend to do things a lot better and much slicker. The straight world has some great newer fansites and we are even better served in the Gay World. The Second biggest company to OF is JustForFans which is owned and run by a well-known gay scene personality Dominic Ford with a good business record going back over 15 award winning years. Just For Fans is manned by a staff entirely made up of sex workers who know the industry, its pitfalls and benefits extremely well. To really underline the difference especially in the gay world between OF and JFF the latter are huge supporters of the gay industry regularly sponsoring queer events the World over from The GRABBY’s to DomCon via CLAW and onto The Ravens Eden Awards and Maspalomas Fetish week in Spain etc…..whereas OF have never sponsored or supported anything and we believe that applies in the straight world too. As we said OF does not seem to like the adult industry although they do love its cash and it is something that they have drifted into by mistake which has taken over and what is worse to many it is now their unwanted identity. 4MYFans is another gay owned fansite fronted by Porn megastar Austin Wolf who is no stranger to regular AT readers so are coming from a good place too for us and then we have ManyVids and RawFuckClub which many will remember as being the new identity of Owen Hawk’s wonderfully sleazy fetish studio Dark Alley Media.

So, as adult content even reluctantly was such a big earner for OF what caused what seemed to many the suicidal worldwide business announcement of August 19th – there are many conspiracies and theories yet the default reasons it is thought boils down to these.

1 They wanted to go back to their ‘cleaner’ paid twitter roots and drop the adult content completely in favour of the lifestyle, fitness and mainstream celebrity world. They are imminently launching OFTV their television channel which will concentrate on the mainstream stuff and adult content creators are simply not invited. So, the direction of flow for the company was moving fast away from adult imagery and clips.

2 It has been rumoured for almost 2 years that they wanted to float on the stock exchange which would have been tough with its ful on adult image and the fact that there was alledgedly underage clips and extreme sex and general illegailty on the platform which is the end result where the public can freely upload content with moderators asleep at the wheel that would have scared investors like crazy. The content moderators at OF have always been seen too many to be about as on the ball and on topic as a Fox News presenter covering San Francisco Pride, which brings us to number 3

3 The BBC Interational news outlet has done two expose’s on OF the first of which was at the request of the British Police and a very well-known child protecton organisation – Childline. The second of which was, you guessed it, published just a matter of hours before OF suspended adult content supposedly for good on August 19th. The information the neutral independent News guys found was incredibly damning on OF in particular that their content moderators were as much use as a floppy dick at a gang bang and that they were allowed to give producers who broke the rules on such things as underage content many chances to stay with the company – sort of 3 strikes and you are still not out. Also, they found underage stuff was rife on the platform and they even posed as a teen content producer with very clear illegal age declared and the site allowed them on and to stay indefinitely.

4 The new majority owner Ukranian now based in Florida, Leonid Radviski is a nasty piece or work. He made his fortune in the pre-internet adult world not by producing or marketing dodhy adult content itself as far as we know but instead by directing for a price customers looking for illegal content especially underage, Pre-teen and bestiality via providing password and paid for clicks to the ‘best illegal sites’. To many he originally wanted to push the company towards adult but recently so much evidence seems to point towards him being on board with the ‘new cleaner’ direction. Then of course there is the reputation and heavy accusations of money laundering that he is alledgedly been involved with – which again leads to the next point.

5 Like many large multi-national conglomerates there is always the situation of them not paying anything like their fair tax bill. In particular In July 2020 the well respected Sky News organisation reported that OnlyFans had not paid value-added tax for the previous three years, and could face heavy penalties from tax authorities. As many companies know like the former Rentboy.com that once the tax guys get their claws in you then it can all be over pretty fast and changes of business direction maybe urgently required. Then of course there is the eternal stench of money laundering that has dogged Radvinski for two decades and OF could be a fantastic extension for this activity possibly, one can only guess but that the authorities were on them like a rash.

6 As we reported in our death of X-tube feature, the adult industry met with the credit card companies in late June and agreed to tighten up their act by yep, October 1st – the same date OF announced that all sexual content would be removed from their platform….coincidence or not?. Certainly the financial institutions had been feeling the pressure from the far right and religious bigots to steer clear of adult material online always with the same unfounded slogans of teenage slave trading, revenge porn and child protection, but this had become much more sensible since the knee-jerk unresearched initial salvo’s were fired at MindGeek/Pornhub last Winter. To most industry insiders it would have been near impossible for OF to hit the credit card companies criteria by October 1st damaging their planned mainstream future operations so did they take the easy route and just pull the plug?. In his only message on the subject the originator Stockley said it was the Banks who were running scared of adult not the credit card companies.

7 One of the weapons used by the knuckle dragging religious believers with their entirely fictious 2000 year old made up book from the likes of the hideous Exodus Cry besides the financial routes was to attack online porn by political avenues. This was much easier when the super-sized warped brain of Donald Trump and his transvestite GOP buds and closeted gay Republican escort hirers were in power but a tad harder now the adults have taken over the White House again. Yet with Americans split right down the middle on everything from Masks to Lockdowns there is enough red meat swallowers out there who will devour any old tosh and also enough Senators also with more interest and opinions on unproblematic porn than say a glonal pandemic, Afghanistan or Climate Change. On 10 August 2021, US Congresswoman Ann Wagner announced a bipartisan coalition pressuring the Department of Justice to investigate OnlyFans for child exploitation, citing increasing reports by law enforcement and child safety organizations that minors are being sold on OnlyFans, as well as instances of sex trafficking and image-based abuse. Over 100 Congress people signed the petition…This was just 9 days before the OF announcement of course!!!

8 Many in the industry had foretold problems at OF for a while. In fact, this writer in a presentation for the Fetish online event CLAW stated at the start of the Summer that ‘Only Fans was a ticking time bomb and the only question was not whether it would go off but when, and how soon’. Over the last couple of years there has been so many complaints from industry users of Only fans with many having their accounts suddenly and inexplicably closed down and money taken from them. In fact, the International adult performers Union have successfully got back over $100,000 from OF for their members who had moneys taken wrongly from them. Recently, the site has been making rule changes for providers almost on a weekly basis. Suddenly they were asking for images of model release forms held against the performers face to be uploaded which is way beyond standard insustry practice even by the most professional big studios…this would be near impossible for content producers to do especially for older or earlier completed shot content, The following week any clips with poppers in were removed and the following week it was outdoor clips and then any containing people in the background, and on and on it went. Well-known International porn star and AT contributor Dallas Steele had 15 great money earning clips pulled by OF in just One week without notice or explanation. The direction of travel the company was taking away from its adult content suppliers seemed very, very clear.

As the company is less keen to talk to the press than say Prince Andrew or Putin’s boyfriend we will probably never know the full reason but it is probably a combination of many of the above factors. 

What happened next? – Well, the bannig decision was met with a widespread backlash by creators and consumers of OnlyFans and the entire mainstream media plus everyone’s socials went ballistic. It resulted in one of the worst PR exercises & business decions  since the Taliban started up a Little Mix tribute act. So, the U-turn and blame game started in earnest. Six days after the initial announcement, OnlyFans said that they would be reversing the decision and that adult content would be allowed on the site citing that they had “secured assurances necessary” to do so. The trouble is they used the word ‘suspended their decision’ which had a temporary feel to it. So are they being honest or just trying to milk as much money with deceit from the adult industry over the final few weeks who surprisingly were not prepared to wait until October and started jumping ship from OF in record numbers with immediate effect of their original announcement. Can both content creators and fans trust them anymore, have the competitors stolen the march on them, will OFTV work, will their cleaner creators be anything like as popular as they hope? Will the sins of their pasts and reputations finally catch up with them? Is the new player on the block (See at the bottom) going to change everything. Our opinion is that the loose moderating and illegal content on OF was always going to catch up with them and the pretence of turning over a new leaf or the increased barriers put up to creators would and will drive them away to the better more user friendly and just plain supportive fansite alternatives.

We spoke to Dominic Ford the boss of JustForFans for his thoughts. ‘We increased our payouts from 70% to 80% because we knew people were looking for an alternative to OnlyFans and we didn’t want people to lose income by choosing us. Even though OnlyFans has reversed course, we will maintain the 80% payouts and hope that people decide to use our platform. Unlike OnlyFans, we have never turned our back on the sex worker community, and we hope people decide to use our platform, which won’t cause them anxiety every day as they wonder if they will be kicked off OnlyFans *again*’. He added ‘we used to average 50 new models a day. right now it’s between 1000 and 2000 a day. Now that OF has taken the pressure of people leaving, I suspect that will drop down again but now OF has shown it can’t be trusted. So I hope users will use us instead.’

This is of great importance to many gay performers as the very best content creators now make a nice income from fansites and some are full time fansite creators & for them and it is their livelihood. We should always bare in mind their is a lot of BS in the fansite World and the average earnings of performers on OF across the board is just a measly $7 a week this includes several of the self proclaiming ‘Top 1%’ or ‘Top 3%). One well known former gay studio exclusive who polled in the Top 20 earners on fansites recently ‘was doing so well’ he had to start a gofundme page to get a couple of thousand dollars for a legal issue so it should be assumed that the ‘millions’ that many producers claim are earning are about as fictious as a JK Rowlings tweet in support of Trans people. That said a handful at the top who produce great quality content or dominate a niche or equally spend a fortune of time chatting with fans do well on the fansites ( We are talking over 800 tweets a month minimum which is over 1 an hour EVERY hour day and night24/7 all year long…so a full time job and level of commitment is needed). Rather than another victory for the religious nut jobs in their eternal war against porn to combat their extremely boring unlived lives the OF action was probably always coming due to the Wild West way they allowed content to be uploaded and then policed by moderators together with the attitudes of the men in charge and where they came from and wish to head next.

There is no doubt we will be returning to this story and we will watch developments for you carefully and keep asking all the key people the right questions. Who knows we may even get some answers from the bosses of OF itself but we are not holding our breath for that as that is as likely as a gay porn studio opening up in Hungary.

Two new developments which may change everything are firstly the sudden rise of the newest trend of paid for personal audio/videoclips currently taking the celebrity and sports world by storm. This is where you pay say $100 or a couple of hundred Euros for a personal message lasting about a minute from your favourite star and surely porn fans will lap this new industry up and possibly dent the ‘connection’ they get for subscribing to one guys fansite when there is plenty of better sex action to be found on other large porn streaming sites, big studios or website studios. Secondly, as OF was always classed as ‘paid twitter’ surely if that player entered the market with their financial backing and massive brand recognition then it is likely the industry would change forever. So, now in September we have Twitter itself launching their new paid premium access platform which if they get it right may make the last 5 years of Only Fans and the fansite phenomenum look as successful as Madonnas last 3 albums.

Master

Written by Paul Stag

Paul is an international porn star and a long time editor for Alphatribe magazine.

WriterFan

What do you think?

11 Points
Upvote Downvote

FOLSOM SF BECOMES MEGAHOOD: DIFFERENT NAME, SAME FILTH

Manfred “Lohengrin” Stavenhagen receives LFC Award 2021