This feels maybe like an article that should/could have been made 6 months ago, but some of the events of the past 6 months make this as valid as ever.
Most weeks (probably most days even) it feels like there’s a new adult platform, application, or service springing up from somewhere and – with advice sometimes being to diversify what platforms you are on, it is difficult to know where to sign up to. So, I come with some advice and warnings.
A site everyone knows
I’m going to start by talking about Facebook. Because everyone knows Facebook, even if you might not be on it.
The success of Facebook has, over time, brought a whole world of spin off sites which look rather similar, albeit basic.
Sometimes, if FB says or does something unpopular, someone will tout or advertised one of them as being a potential “facebook replacement” but none of them actually make any form of groundroads in.
To understand why they don’t is to understand how FB became so big today.
On one trench they had slow growth and a growing reputation. On another, a lot was the innovation. It became a one-stop for a lot of things people found beneficial.
Finding and connecting with friends old and new. Sharing photos and video. Finding out about events, seeing which events your friends are going to and so much more.
The success also has meant other developers have developed their own “build your own social network” templates off the shelf – which is often sold to workplaces as part of their ‘intranet’ or used for people to start websites for common interest groups. Or… try to make a facebook “replacement”.
So whenever someone started touting some form of “replacement” it all had the same problems. Nothing they couldn’t get already elsewhere so you might see it as “Facebook without the shit” as well as lacking ‘the shit’ (at least for now) it also lacks the things people find valuable… which is mostly, other people.
This doesn’t mean that Facebook is invincible, but people are unlikely to swap it for a like for like site.
The rising sites which do present alternatives were things like Instagram (who FB then bought) or TikTok.
So, how this translates into Adult.
The success of OnlyFans, for example, has of course led to many other similar subscription-style sites.
Some of these are relatively popular, Fansly, LoyalFans, etc, helped along a bit when it looked like OF would end adult content.
But there have been so many either high profile failures, or, sites seemingly starting up every other week promising (and failing to deliver) the world.
Like Facebook, there are now templates available on the web which allows you to create your own subscription-style platform.
A lot of these sites use one of those templates which is why they both (a) all look the same (b) offer nothing new.
Some might advertise a slightly higher commission (spoiler – 90% of nothing is nothing) or allow content other sites don’t (which is usually somewhere between wishful thinking and a lie, because their processors can and will shut them down and cause an embarrassing u-turn a la PocketStars).
But of course, they will tell you, that every site started somewhere. The old “if enough people get behind it” dreaming and of course shutting down anyone who dares to point out the Emperor has no clothes as ‘tearing down others’, ‘being negative’ or ‘having vested interests’.
So. I’m going to tell you two different stories of things which have happened more than once.
Let us assume the site is legitimate. The people behind it have good/honest intentions. It is, however, unlikely that they have a gap in the market that isn’t covered elsewhere.
So, what happens. It looks bona fide, so you sign up and start uploading and listing content.
There is something missing from these start ups. Customers.
What this means is you are going to have to drive people to the site. You are going to have to find the customers.
The customers are then going to see this site and wonder if they can trust it with their payments, and if it even offers anything they can’t get elsewhere.
This makes it a harder sell than from the trusted sites they know.
I mean, hey, if you are going to be the one doing the traffic driving you may as well build a membership section on your own website and direct people there?
It makes no sense to do this for someone else’s profits.
What then ends up happening is the site struggles by. There’s been cases where people have abandoned sites that are too much of a hard sell having never made minimum payout, meaning the site has took hours of their labour AND whatever cash they did take, and the seller gets nothing. Or, at best, an ad hoc small payment versus time in, in the hope the site will grow.
If the site closes at any time then good luck get any monies owed to you.
And, from a customer perspective, they lose access to any content they’ve paid for. Something which, again, folk find off-putting about lesser known platforms.
This is before we also get into that these are often small companies with little/no evidence of investment, meaning they’re less likely to have a full legal team and/or have possibly not done their due diligence on site security.
So it ends up with a situation like Frisk where there is chaos after a site hack.
Story 1 was legitimate, but anyone can create these start-ups, including scammers.
We all know that you need to upload ID and provide release forms if asked.
Add in off course bank details. Add in again the content you upload.
And of course any money paid in.
So a site could appear to run legitimately for a set period of time, then, one day. Rug pull.
They’ve disappeared with all the money that was due to be paid out. They may also have the content and associated IDs and forms, making it more difficult to pull down if it gets distributed or uploaded elsewhere.
I mean, hey, what’s the best way to get all the free porn you like than to create a site and have people upload directly to you?
Rug pull scams are quite common. They happen a lot with crypto and less-than-legitimate sites (sites similar to Silk Road for example) because of course someone losing their money in the rug pull, they can’t exactly go to their bank.
It doesn’t mean it’s all bad
This isn’t of course me saying that all start ups are either misguided or scams, but there’s a lot I would want to see before uploading content to them.
Where are the customers coming from? Is this offering you (and the customers) anything that you can’t get elsewhere?
Because as tempting as it might be “be on as many sites as possible” it has to actually make sense. And if you are providing the customers, you already have the customers. It’s the customers that being associated with that brand that you want.
Otherwise, even with the most optimistic of sites, it’s just pumping hours into a loss lender.
Things to watch out for in ‘new sites’
Suspiciously high commission.
The higher the commission the lower they have for everything from running costs, security, legal, promotion, contingency. While high commission sounds tempting, 90% of nothing is nothing.
“We allow content other sites won’t”
While there are niche sites that allow some sites that can’t be bought on the main platforms, usually they are slightly more complex in how they, ahem, get away with it.
The restrictions are largely driven by card companies and legal frameworks.
Some sites have used this as a bait and switch, luring people in on this and then suddenly, oh, it’s not allowed.
Some also in their complex framework, have a lot of questionable content – especially when it comes to consent and age of participants. Not company you want to keep.
“By sex workers for sex workers”
This is often used as a buzz phrase. To be honest, I’d rather a website built by a security expert, with a legal professional, so on.
Add extra suspicion points if it doesn’t *name* these “sex workers”
Over-Reliance on Crypto
The two-edged-sword with crypto is it’s not regulated. Yet.
This means that for now, you can purchase or possess crypto with no certainty of being able to utilise it’s value. Crypto is involved in a lot of scams including rug pulls. The story of the recent squid coin is a prime example. The lack of regulation makes it also difficult to recover lost earnings.
If you are paid in crypto this has a value of nil until you cash it out. Cashing it out relies on someone else wanting to buy it.
Whilst crypto is not regulated, there are plans to regulate it, this in turn would have unknown affects on coins and their value because we don’t know what would be within the regulation.
The regulation might also pull “we can do this thing the banks don’t allow because we don’t use bank” into being something which cannot be allowed.
No evidence of brand building
A start up looking for creators that has low followers on social networks already has no customer interest. They will always talk about having money to invest, but if they did it would have gone into profile and brand building BEFORE they started looking for creators.
Spokespeople brush away concerns rather than address them
This includes accusing critics of being negative or trying to tear things down.
It looks like every other site
Which is usually a sign they’ve bought/found and off-the-shelf-template and are chancing their luck with it.