Where online pornography meets the creators economyOnlyFans experienced staggering growth in 2020, when the global coronavirus pandemic drove audiences worldwide to move their lives online. Traffic to the OnlyFans website kept increasing through the end of 2021, reaching 39.43 million visits in January 2022. Launched in 2016, the London-based platform OnlyFans hosts video and photo content available for free and via monthly subscription. While it was not purposely launched to host adult entertainment material, the platform became increasingly renowned for sexually explicit content as the sex services industry moved online and independent workers looked at content creation to support themselves during the pandemic. Despite the company announcing a ban on porn in March 2021, it backtracked on this statement only a few months later. OnlyFans global net revenues are estimated to reach 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.
Monetization tools for creatorsEffective content monetization is crucial not only for creators, but also plays a role in online platforms’ success and market presence. Professional and semi-professional creators that can focus on producing engaging content represent the backbone of the social media economy, with hosting platforms relying on user-generated media to attract views and drive ad presence. According to a survey of digital content creators conducted in 2021, 60 percent of content creators had not chosen to monetize their content yet, while less than one in 10 reported earning over 10,000 U.S. dollars. Among niche creators who managed to successfully monetize their online efforts, approximately 23 percent of respondents reported selling their own physical products. Affiliate marketing deals were also among the leading monetization methods for non-niche creators, with 10 percent of respondents in this group reporting earning revenues online.
Among the possibilities that Web 3.0 has promised to bring, direct monetization and follower support might represent the most important digital gig economy development of the next years. A number of digital creators have also started showing interest in crypto payments, with 40 percent of creators who use images as their primary media deeming them crucial or nice to have.