TNW Conference 2024 Spotlight: Uncovering OnlyFans

  • The Next Web presented two days of top tech insights rockstars at TNW Conference 2024
  • Arguably the most curious piece was by Lee Taylor of OnlyFans
  • The CFO shed light on the company’s disrupting model, procedures, missions, and ethos

On June 20-21st, Taets Art and Event Park in Amsterdam welcomed one of Europe’s biggest tech festivals – TNW Conference 2024. For the 19th time, the organizers brought together tech executives, policymakers, startup and scaleup entrepreneurs, and all tech enthusiasts to exchange insights on what’s most topical and what’s next in tech.

ITKeyMedia spotlights Behind the Paywall fireside chat with OnlyFans’ CFO Lee Taylor. His goal was to unveil what OnlyFans really is, as opposed to the common perception that comes from the media and word of mouth. Mr Taylor defines the platform as a marketplace where content creators can monetize directly through their fans.

Disrupted Social Media Monetization

Lee Taylor, CFO at OnlyFans

‘It disrupts what was previously known as ‘influencer economy’. What we do is remove the middleman – the advertizer – from content monetization. It was designed for creators of all content, not specifically adult content. Looking from a social media monetization standpoint, having genuine fans on social media presupposes that a share of them is willing to pay for enhanced content. And that was the concept,’ Mr Taylor explained.

As for adult content, it has occupied the flagship role on the platform because of an excellent product-market-fit that dealt with pre-existing monetization and safety issues in this niche. According to Mr Taylor’s number, such content creators would previously earn as little as 2-4% of the revenue generated by their content, irrespective of their popularity. The new platform offered them a safe space to create content, own this content and be in control of it, and monetize at 80% of the revenue, which presented the biggest success both for these creators and the platform.

(No) Content Categorization

Further, the mentioned media and word of mouth popularizes OnlyFans as a source of such content, even if it’s behind a paywall. At that, Mr Taylor assured that the platform doesn’t categorize its content in terms of which type brings the most revenue – because tagging and categorizing all the content would be too much effort – and that the content journey is curated by the user themselves. There is no marketplace discovery where some content would get pushed to the user; one cannot even search a creator by name – one needs an exact link.

Mr Taylor believes that there is no point in putting adult content in a separate bucket so long as it remains legal and non-harmful. The platform indeed legitimizes the work of creating adult content and making money from it, as well as enables these creators to make much more money than they could make previously, granting them both financial freedom and creative control over their content.

Creative and Financial Empowerment

As a financial officer, Mr Taylor sees OnlyFans content creators as 3,000,000 small businesses. The platform’s monetization is 20% of what they earn and nothing more, i.e. other sources of revenue such as data collection and trading or ad pushing are outside of the company’s ethos. He admitted that paying out the earned money to the creators is fairly easy in the EU and the UK, but quite a few things needed to be put in place to streamline it in regions like Latin America or South-East Asia or even in the United States. This included making sure that the creator got the full amount of their honorarium.

The speaker shared, however, that content creators still have financial troubles even when the platform empowers them to earn, having paid USD 15B+ to creators worldwide. Namely, they are deemed high risk by financial institutions who e.g. refuse to issue mortgages or even sell real estate to OnlyFans content creators. Moreover, both CFO and CEO of OnlyFans are known to have experienced similar issues with banks.

As such, financial inclusion is the focus of Mr Taylor’s team at the moment. Specifically, the team strives to build relations with financial letting them in on content moderation and identity verification procedures.

‘If a bank is willing to look at it, they will see that the ID verification process is more enhanced than that of the bank; the content moderation policy where every single piece of content gets reviewed by a human moderator. In other words, every risk that a bank would consider an issue gets properly mitigated. Then, we collaborate with them, and they see us as a low-risk space,’ Mr Taylor clarified.

On a grand scale, OnlyFans destigmatizes adult content creation and sex work in general by shedding light on it and providing safe environment for creativity.


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