On 21st August 2021, OnlyFans committed a cardinal sin of banning sexually explicit content. For those who are not aware of OnlyFans, it’s a social media site that enabled its creators to post nude videos and photos and charge subscribers for tips or a monthly fee. This may seem an oversimplification of what OnlyFans is capable of. Apart from posts, there were stories and highlights like Instagram, live video streaming like Facebook, and a complete Twitter UI/UX. In this article, I am going to put forth my thoughts on how OnlyFans is the epitome of creator economy and a list of features required to create a product like OnlyFans.

What is Creator Economy?

A creator economy is where content creators earn from their fans and followers. It’s that simple. With time the creators earn the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. The creators gather a following in a distinct niche, with the size of the following depends on the size of the topic of the niche.

There are numerous marketplaces now where creators can sell their creative talent online. There are obvious sites like Amazon Publishing, Etsy, and eBay. However, other platforms can also benefit creators, such as Tumblr and WordPress (for bloggers), Twitch and Mixer (for live streamers), Instagram and Pinterest (for photographers), and YouTube and TikTok (for filmmakers). Do check out this blog to see the vertical-specific work platforms

Now you are aware of what a creator economy is. You were already aware of how marketplaces work (hint: in simple terms, they connect users with creators and take a commission of the creators’ earnings). The only thing left is to explain why I think OnlyFans is the epitome of creator economy.

OnlyFans is not like a Social Media Platform

BBC called OnlyFans a social media site. I beg to differ from this. OnlyFans in reality is a personalized media site. Similar to a social media site, the user is the content creator. But that’s where the similarity stops. OnlyFans as a product is in a league of its own. Imagine going to Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/etc and seeing posts only from the people you follow. There are no agencies allowed on OnlyFans. Imagine all the noise of who liked which tweet, who commented on which post, who shared which image, etc gone. It’s only you and the people you follow. This is akin to Facebook of its good ol’ days. Add the additional feature of creators able to schedule their posts, select their own pricing strategy, send messages to a filtered list of users and take the money out of the platform at a date and time of their own choosing. If you look at the list of features available to creators in OnlyFans, you will realize what a marvelous product it is for the creator economy.

How can I create a product like OnlyFans?

According to Requestum, you only need $51,100 for creating an app like OnlyFans. So if you have a budget of $250,000 or more, you are eligible to build a product like OnlyFans and run it successfully. Here’s where things get valuable for product managers, business analysts, founders, and people looking to compare their own product with OnlyFans. In OnlyFans there’s a thorough verification line between user and creator. I have already created a comprehensive list of features available to users, the verification process, and a list of features available to creators.

Go on! Download the excel file. Pass it off as your own. Use it for something good. I have countless ideas on how a product like OnlyFans can be utilized to usher in a new era of creator economy catering to niches. If you want to discuss them, you can contact me via Twitter or LinkedIn, or the Contact SS page.

Update: On 25th August 2021, OnlyFans reversed the ban on sexually explicit content after backlash from users.

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Categories: Product Management