Box Menswear model and Only Fans uber creator Chris Hatton - photographer Lee Edwards Finnegan.
That might seem like a silly question to anyone who watches adult entertainment, but while most people would just dismiss it as another porn site, it’s actually far more nuanced than that. The business model behind Only Fans has led to some mind-boggling pay outs when it’s done well so it’s no wonder people are flocking to not just watch, but to join.
You only have to look at some high-profile celebrities who have signed up in recent months when personal appearances and marketing deals dried up due to the pandemic. Atomic Kitten’s Kerry Katona took to Only Fans only recently due to it being so lucrative, especially if you’re a well-known name. Ex Love Islanders are also no strangers to having Only Fans pages as you can do it from your own bedroom, especially in lockdown when there’s literally nothing else going on.
Money to be made
A quick look at the numbers shows you the scale of Only Fans. At the latest count a few months ago, they had paid out over £725 million to over 450k content creators. There are over 24 million registered users worldwide so you get an idea of the kind of figures we are talking about.
According to Vice, Only Fans has enjoyed over a 75 percent jump in new users signing up to use the service since Covid-19 struck which works out at about a mind boggling 150k extra users every 24 hours. Seeing as Pornhub gave away their premium content for free at the same time, with porn stars giving heavy discounts too, the industry clearly had a captive audience with money to burn.
Hatton proving to us it's all about the bulge on Only Fans
Only Fans was originated by business man Tim Stokely in Essex back in 2016. Stokely himself is somewhat elusive, preferring to let the content creators take the limelight. The business model itself is such that anyone can join if they prove who they are with government issued photo ID and a working email address. You can charge your subscribers anything you like but whatever you make, Only Fans takes 20% of everything. That might seem like a lot but it’s a standard percentage amount you would pay if you were a musician with a manager for example.
Straight foot forward
Creating content couldn’t be easier and straight guys know how much money they can make from gay guys that are willing to pay up for juicy pictures and videos. One of the top Only Fans creators, personal trainer Chris Hatton, has allegedly managed to pay off not one but two houses due to his Only Fans earnings.
Chris says on his page that it’s for the pics that are too risqué to put on the usual social media platforms (Instagram doesn’t allow full frontal nudity for example). His rugged good looks are exactly what works on Only Fans. If you wanted to see a porn star you’d go to a different site, Only Fans creators do better with a more authentic, amateur look. One of the reasons it is such a runaway success is that there is next to no competition and the choice of creators is almost endless.
Anyone with a half decent body, some tattoos and a high vis jacket can rake in the readies simply for going about their day and videoing it. Something as simple as filming yourself urinating at home and you can make a mint. The more menial the task the better if you’re wearing shorts or joggers with no underwear.
The market for this is huge (pardon the pun) and these lads know it and know where it comes from. The pink pound has always been golden goose when it comes to disposable income, so if you’re following a few different Only Fans creators, you’re looking at forking out practically the same as a monthly gym membership.
Ready to hit the slopes is Bjorn The Viking
It’s all about the figures on Only Fans, once you’re a ‘top creator’ it's incredibly lucrative but before the big bucks come rolling in though, you have to start somewhere. We had a chat with Only Fans newbie Bjorn The Viking, real name Rob Hamish Johnson from London. A lot of people use a pseudonym due to the nature of the content but similarly, when you’re promoting on your other social media platforms it’s hard to avoid especially if you want to cross promote.
We asked what made him want to start on his Only Fans journey, ‘It was a combination of many things,’ says Bjorn, ‘I lost one of my jobs that I got in lockdown after 4 months. So, one part of it was that I have to pay my rent and pay my bills. It was 70 percent a financial decision and the other 3 percent curiosity, to explore that avenue, liberating and empowering.’
Bjorn goes more into the nitty gritty, telling us 'I’m more of a top but for whatever reason I love to get my bum out and a friend of mine said If you’re going to show it anyway, why don’t you try and monetize it! I agreed and then losing my job was the push I needed.’
It’s all about content and consistency on Only Fans so we asked him how his page was looking so far? ‘I have 10 pics up. A vid of me having sex, getting spanked, you can’t see my face in any of them though. There’s one of jerking off, again no face and another of my ass you can see my face a bit.’
Get this man some Box undies!
Showing your face and personality works wonders on the site to draw in followers and subscribers and he says it’s definitely something he’d consider. We wondered if it was family or maybe a relationship that would stop him doing that however.
‘I have a great relationship with my family and I don’t think it would stop me, they are open minded and my dad didn’t even flinch when I told him’ Bjorn tells us ‘It wouldn’t impact on a relationship, the only sort of person I would want to be with is if they were open minded too. I wouldn’t want to be with someone who said to take pics down or not have an Only Fans page.’
With a 75 percent increase in new sign ups and punters wanting more of an authentic look, even though Bjorn is gymming hard after lockdown, it’s not always about the chiselled muscles but more authenticity and all about how far you’re willing to go.
Bit on the side
With any kind of huge money-making businesses comes the inevitable side hustle. As we said earlier you can’t put certain types of nudity or porn on your Instagram page but the more followers you have on there, then the more traffic is driven to your Only Fans site and the more subscribers you get and so on. The same as with Twitter and Facebook to a lesser extent.
Only Fans big gun Paul Cassidy does some light farming
Real them in
Once upon a time, ‘buying’ followers was a thing where the numbers mattered more than the interaction but now, you need real people to see you and go to your site. This is where meme accounts come in. We’re talking all those funny Instagram and Twitter pages like @itslitgayshit or @drinksforgayz with mini vignettes on gay life to make you hoot. If you have an Only Fans site then you can pay to get your pic on their sites and drive traffic to your account. Competition is huge and getting bigger so creators need all the help they can get and they are willing to pay for it.
Consistency is the key to keep up your percentages and engagements. And yes, we know this sounds like a marketing seminar but, as is true with all social media, it’s all about the content. The pressure is on to maintain your position and keep your fans paying and entertained.
Seeing as there is so much money to be made from the pink pound on Only Fans it stands to reason that the majority of male creators aren’t gay. When you know your fans are all subscribing to see you potter about the house in your jocks with a semi, you’re literally making money for nothing.
Paul's licking the lid of life on the beach
Just the tip
Anyone on the site will tell you that most of their money come from ‘tips’. Stokely says that a creator with 10,000 followers (not subscribers) can make between £500 and £2500 per month but some of the top creators in the world are on an eye watering £100k per month. With tips, a subscriber can message you privately and ask for something specific and pay you for it. This is all through the site though and they take their 20% as before so if you get a £5k tip, a grand of that goes to Only Fans.
Where Only Fans goes from here is anybody’s guess. With this amount of money flying around it’s only a matter of time before the taxman comes a-knocking. There are already stories surfacing on the grey area’s the international site lives in and how much the company has paid in taxes to HMRC. Add to that the fact that BBC3 aired a chilling documentary on the amount of under-age content creators circumventing the vetting system and you have an insidious side that is possibly already out of control.
For now, the money keeps rolling in and you have hard working content creators making more money than most of us have ever seen. We wish Bjorn all the best on his journey and not to forget us when he’s handing out invites to his Ibiza boat party!