What is OnlyFans?

OnlyFans creator Isla Moon in a white dress with blue flowers, standing amid plants in a garden.
Isla Moon is an OnlyFans creator who runs two profiles where she posts adult content.Isla Moon
  • OnlyFans is a subscription-focused online platform with messaging features.

  • Creators can post content behind a paywall, and users pay to access it.

  • The platform has become popular among adult-content creators, with some making millions of dollars.

OnlyFans is an online platform where creators can publish paywalled content and chat with subscribers.

A creator's followers can access the content by subscribing to their account. Most subscriptions cost a few dollars a month, but some accounts are free.

Subscriptions, however, are not the only way creators can make money on OnlyFans. The platform offers a variety of monetization options, like direct messaging, tips, pay-per-view content, livestreaming, and more. Some OnlyFans models make millions of dollars a year selling pictures and videos to their subscribers.

OnlyFans has become a popular way for adult-content creators to make money.

Read about how a creator made millions of dollars on OnlyFans without any social following

The platform has grown exponentially since it was founded in 2016 — and there's a lot of opportunity for creators. OnlyFans exploded during the pandemic, reporting a 75% increase in sign-ups between March and April 2020. The company's most recent tax filings show that OnlyFans users spent over $5.6 billion on the platform in 2022, and there were over 3 million registered creators for almost 250 million fans.

Woman standin in front of a gym machine wearing a sports bra and gym shorts. She has long brown hair and is wearing a black mask on her eyes. She holds a cat in her arms and smiles at the camera
Bryce Adams has amassed almost 1 million subscribers on Onlyfans.Courtesy of Bryce Adams

Why OnlyFans is controversial

Adult content has been the main source of controversy for OnlyFans.

Celebrities like Bella Thorne, Blac Chyna, and Bhad Bhabie have taken advantage of the popularity of the platform and begun sharing content there, sometimes sparking backlash. When Bella Thorne made $1 million in a day, sex workers accused her of "gentrifying" the platform and failing to acknowledge their work.

OnlyFans also stoked the ire of sex workers when it tried to ban explicit content in the summer of 2021. It reversed the decision almost immediately.

Security concerns have also been raised about OnlyFans. For instance, a 2021 BBC investigation found that underage people had published explicit content there after finding ways to bypass the platform's age-verification system.

Another major issue for OnlyFans is revenge porn. A 2024 Reuters investigation found that over 120 people had filed complaints with the US police because they were included in explicit content published on OnlyFans without their consent.

Creators on the platform who publish content that is not safe for work also say that content leaks are frequent. OnlyFans has put measures in place to prevent screenshotting and downloading pictures and videos to try to limit this practice.

OnlyFans did not respond to a request for comment on the issues outlined above.

Another source of controversy, particularly among subscribers of adult-content creators, has been ghostwriting. Some creators have outsourced chatting to assistants or outside agencies to keep up with the high volume of interactions with their subscribers.

Read more about a secretive OnlyFans management firm whose former employees said they were 'ghostwriting' and chatting on behalf of creators

Recently, some creators have turned to using different forms of artificial intelligence for their content, including chatbots that can interact with subscribers. Some in the industry worry this may erode the trust their audiences have in them.

Read more about how OnlyFans creators are using AI for chatting, image generation, and more

AI generated image of a woman with ginger hair standing in a path between yellowing trees. She wears a white top and jeans.
An AI-generated picture of adult-content creator Jessica Moore, made using the platform My.Club.Jessica Moore/My.Club

How much does OnlyFans cost?

The price of an OnlyFans subscription can vary widely depending on the creator. Many creators set their price at a few dollars a month, but some also charge up to $25 or $30, while others keep their pages free of charge. Some models maintain multiple profiles at different price points to cater to different audiences.

OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of each page's earnings, while the remaining 80% goes to creators.

"I was absolutely in the dark," said creator Morgan Edwards, who uses the pseudonym "Kitty K" online, about establishing the price of her page on the platform. "One of the things that I did was really just sit back, observe, and sort of do what others did."

Read more about how 7 OnlyFans creators who make thousands of dollars a month established their prices

On top of subscriptions, there are a variety of other services creators can offer for additional charges, like personalized videos or texting sessions. Some create "tip menus" listing the types of content they provide for subscribers and how much they cost.

Here are 3 examples of 'tip menus' creators have used and how much they charge

How much money OnlyFans creators make

The amount of money OnlyFans creators make can vary — it usually starts small, but many creators are able to build up their incomes. Business Insider spoke with eight creators about their yearly earnings, and their answers ranged from $143,000 to $5.4 million.

Read more about how much 8 OnlyFans creators earned and how they did it

A popular and lucrative way creators monetize is via private messaging with their subscribers.

Some men have been able to find relief from loneliness and build relationships with OnlyFans stars by chatting with them

The relationships OnlyFans creators build with their subscribers rely heavily on a monetary exchange. Some models, like Swedish Amber Sweetheart, have been able to earn millions of dollars by selling "connections" with their fans.

Read more about how Sweetheart built her income to $2.6 million by relying on private messaging

Headshot fo a woman with long brown hair smiling at the camera, framing her head with her hands in front of a white wall with pictures on it.
Amber Sweetheart has made millions of dollars on OnlyFans by selling "a connection" to her subscribers.Amber Sweetheart

How to make $10,000 on OnlyFans

There's a lot of opportunity on OnlyFans, and many creators have been able to build their income to $10,000 a month.

The key to growing a subscriber base on the platform is ensuring traffic from outside sources, like other social-media platforms, because OnlyFans does not have a discovery algorithm.

Creators often use platforms like Twitter or Reddit to find potential new subscribers because those services tend to be friendly to adult content.

Here's how 4 creators have used Reddit to promote their OnlyFans

Despite its serious limitations on explicit content, some models have found TikTok helpful in bringing new audiences to their pages, thanks to its powerful algorithm.

Read more about how 3 OnlyFans creators have used TikTok for promotion

For some of the more popular creators, another lucrative income stream is offering promotional "shoutouts" to smaller accounts in exchange for a fee. Creators collectively spend millions of dollars each month on this marketing practice.

Here's how 'promo shoutouts' have become big business for creators

How to make money on OnlyFans while anonymous

It's not uncommon for OnlyFans creators to publish adult content without showing their faces.

Farrah, a former healthcare worker turned adult entertainer, has been able to make over $1 million in revenue without revealing her identity. One of the key ways she uses to promote her account is by posting regularly on Reddit.

Read more about Farrah's strategy to attract fans while staying anonymous

Mrs Robinson is another creator who began posting on the platform without showing her face. She relies on the "hot teacher" persona she's built online and charges extra to reveal her face to subscribers in pay-per-view messages.

Read more about how Mrs Robinson got started on OnlyFans and built her income to over $800,000

OnlyFans creator Farrah
Farrah is an OnlyFans creator who makes faceless content.Farrah

What is not allowed on OnlyFans

The platform's terms and conditions list several types of prohibited content. These are some of the forbidden elements:

  • Violent content, including firearms, sadomasochistic content, bondage,

  • Content including minors

  • Body fluids

  • Drug-related content

  • Tobacco content

  • Public sex content

  • Fully AI-generated content and deepfakes

  • Content that contains any form of advertising, commercial activities, or sales

Read the original article on Business Insider