When I speed-wrote, and speed-researched my most recent book, Porn and the Pandemic: How Three Months in 2020 Changed Everything, I was just crossing my fingers that by the time in was released in mid-summer, people would still be interested in the pandemic, as I assumed it would pass. Boy, I was wrong. And it was OnlyFans’ windfall that I was.
The book (available on sale at 66% off on Amazon as of this writing) was more like a long-form magazine article, written and reported in real time. I’d already written a memoir and a self-help book, and it had been a while since I flexed my journalism muscles. Many people still don’t realize my original professional was as a journalist and I’ve written stories for publications around the world.
The take-off of OnlyFans, the porn site for DIY models, had only begun when the book research started. I will freely admit that like a new car driven off the lot, the section on OnlyFans was old news before the book was released.
I’m not going to give a full background or history on OnlyFans, nor the rolling real-time update through 2020 as I’ve already done that HERE and HERE. Unsurprisingly, those were the two most popular articles on this website in 2020.
Last week, the New York Times ran an article basically updating the world where things stand in regard to OnlyFans. I figured that, even in a time of the pandemic, there would reach a saturation point. While 300,000 models satisfied demand in early 2020, the 1.3 million to 1.5 million in early 2021 exceeded it, or so I thought.
I have kept in touch with several of the people I interviewed for the book who were creating content for OnlyFans and have talked to far more since the book was released. Many did well, but grew tired of the grind of creating new content and slowed things down to the point of having a page in name only. They rarely add anything new and make just a fraction of the money they once did on archived material.
The article pointed out that while there are some models who are still making good money, that many who have turned to the site have been there for months and have yet to clear $1,000. The site has a ranking system and what I can gather talking to my sources, you have to be in the Top 1% of all models to make $2,500 or more a month.
I wasn’t sure if OnlyFans was here to stay for two other reasons. First is that the average OnlyFans consumer appears to have a short attention span. In looking at the Top 3 pornography sites in the world, the average visitor spends about 11-12 minutes on average and looks at 9-10 pages. According to SimilarWeb, where I always get my stats, the average OnlyFans visitor spends just over 4 minutes on the site and looks at only 5 pages.
Part of the novelty of OnlyFans for many users is that they are able to find people that they know posting porn. Ask people under 30 who are willing to talk openly. They likely know someone on there. I have a feeling that there were probably millions of sign-ups by people who may not have otherwise ever dropped $10 or $20 on pornography. The curiosity of seeing that girl from high school, guy from college or the bartender from the place near work naked is understandable. However, once those amateur peeping toms got their look, they didn’t need to resubscribe or buy anything else.
I don’t want to shame anybody’s bodies or anybody’s tastes in what they find attractive, but there are norms for beauty at any given moment in time. However, there are just some people who others don’t find attractive. There are also many attractive people out there who don’t understand an economic free market and the need to promote themselves. These kinds of people migrating to OnlyFans has not been financially rewarding for them.
OnlyFans is part of the New Normal
I am so sick of using the phrase “The New Normal.” This is it, folks. Aside from losing the masks and going back into crowds, I think we are in the new normal. The new normal is millions more working from home. The new normal is public education using remote learning as a tool. It’s staying home by choice, at least for a little while. The new normal is Zoom. The new normal is Amazon at your door 5 times a week. And the new normal is owning 3 or more streaming services and not going to the movie theater.
Perhaps the sign of people having trouble making big money on OnlyFans is the first sign that there will be a great slowdown of visitors to the site, but unfortunately, those people who don’t return after briefly gawking at somebody they know don’t make up the majority. Viewership of the site is still rising steadily, about 10% month over month with the site finally hitting 200 million monthly views in November 2020. Here is a graphic to show you the latest stats from SimilarWeb:
And as you can unfortunately see, the site has broken into the top 100 of all sites in the US and is No. 170 worldwide. Despite the potentially good news of slowing producers, it’s not the same of consumers. From an objective viewpoint, it’s interesting that more consumers does not equal additional producers making better money. Those models in the top 0.3% are making 5, and sometimes 6 figures per month. This data suggests that consumers must be following them.
Sadly, I think OnlyFans is now just another piece of The New Normal. Now, please go buy my book.