In the last several months, there has been a significant increase in the use of and discussion around OnlyFans ($PRIVATE:ONLYFANS), a peer-to-peer subscription app where creators often post homemade pornographic content.

COVID-19 has ravaged many Americans' financials, and they're having to turn to whatever they can to make ends meet. Stories of GoFundMe campaigns for medical bills are no stranger to the news, and over the last few years there has been an undeniable rise in crowdfunding. But this new wave of crowdfunding makes users much more vulnerable than that.

💎 Data Digs

  • OnlyFan's Twitter following is up 84% from just five months ago, showing that the app has seen increased traffic and online prominence in a short time since the pandemic.
  • The company has grown significantly in a short time. Its Linkedin Headcount (not shown) currently sits at 256, up 228% from 78 employees in April. The company has hired incredibly aggressively, perhaps to support the increased traffic and capitalize on this period of growth.
  • OnlyFans has seen an increase in usage from both creators and general users. More people are turning to the app for supplemental income while others with more time on their hands locked at home turn to it to support creators and receive content.

⚔️ Big Picture

  • Americans have been spending more time online during COVID-19, and the pornography industry has been an especially big beneficiary of the increased screen time. Video-hosting website Pornhub previously released a series of "Coronavirus Traffic Update" data blogs tracking its web traffic during COVID-19 as opposed to normal days before the pandemic (We'll spare you the hyperlink, though their press website is free of any adult content). It routinely found that traffic was up as much as 25% over previous counts.
  • As with any platform, there are people who have made a significant living through creating adult content on OnlyFans. Creator Monica Hult spoke to Business Insider in March just before the pandemic began, explaining that she makes over $100,000 per year through the app. The audience on the app was large enough in May to support this kind of financial result, and it has grown astronomically since then, no doubt helping support the livelihood of many other creators in the meantime.
  • Though the rise of OnlyFans has coincided with a movement pushing for the acceptance of sex workers, the app itself is frought with problems. There was a significant (disputed) data breach at the start of the year that resulted in multiple creators' images being distributed online.
  • OnlyFans is not only used to distribute adult content. Many use it to create lifestyle, self-help or advice content as well. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, it has become well known for creators of pornographic material.

⚡ Get Ahead

  • If you're thinking about getting started on OnlyFans, you may find more success than most if you already have a built-in following on another platform like Youtube, Twitch or Instagram before joining. 
  • There is indisputably money to be made as a creator on this app, but be especially cautious. Your work could be redistributed and shared by others trying to see content without paying for it, and should this app face a further data breach as so many others do, something even more vulnerable than your credit card information could be leaked.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

Ad placeholder