Y’know, before I ever got involved in this side of the gaming industry, I had a Tumblr account. And on that Tumblr account, I used to post progress and development logs for a SFW visual novel that I was creating. I never used it to post pornographic content, but when Tumblr announced that they would no longer allow pornographic content on their platform, I knew that it would severely cut the number of visitors who would be using it. Lo and behold, a few years later, Tumblr has now become the butt of many jokes among adult and vanilla content creators alike on how to kill off your own service without too much effort. All in the name of becoming “mainstream” and appealing more to mainstream sensibilities to appease a few powerful payment processors, mega-corporations (Tumblr was acquired by telecommunications giant Verizon at the time that they made this choice), and puritanical Christian organizations and lobbyists who believe that every sperm is sacred and showing a nipple is on the same level as murder.
And here we are today. Over the past few days, there’s been a lot of buzz amongst the adult entertainment industry regarding some recent news from the executives at OnlyFans (soon to be OnlyCrickets). A British content subscription service that allows content creators the ability to earn money from users who subscribe to their content (the “fans”). After building their entire reputation and most of their revenue off of the backs of sex workers, they have now decided that, in an attempt to become more mainstream and to appease the wishes of the big payment processing corporations, sexually explicit content will now be blocked starting in October. The consequences of this decision could leave millions of creators on the service without that source of income. And we’re not talking small numbers either. Over $5 billion in revenue had been paid out to creators at the time of this news breaking.
In a press release, the company stated that this move would hopefully bring in more investors and ensure the long-term sustainability of the platform (as if it wasn’t stable already) and continue to house an inclusive community of creators and fans (were they not already?). And keep in mind, this was done to appease the wishes of their banking and payout providers. Some of the same payment providers that receive government subsidies and left creators like Toffer Team high and dry when it was time for them to collect their hard-earned Kickstarter funds. Between what happened with Toffer Team, the decisions made by services like Tumblr and OnlyFans it seems as if the mainstream is still keeping the door shut on adult content. So what if it’s an industry that spans the world. So what if people with families to take care of and bills to pay are now put into financial limbo. And so what if platforms decide to push aside the very people that made them mainstream and rich in the first place? That’s why I’ve come to a realization.
If those of us who make adult content want a safe and judgment-free space where we can work in peace and earn the fruits of our work, we’ve got to start having our own decentralized alternatives where the status quo won’t affect us. Because while the sex industry rakes in billions of dollars every year, and while we may have the safe space of the internet where we can be ourselves, the mainstream culture still doesn’t see what we do as “real work”. And there is no changing these people’s minds. The organizations, lobbyists, groups, and people who spend ungodly amounts of money every year lobbying and influencing both the governments and corporations of the world to go along with their puritan agendas still have an immense grip on power and would love nothing more than to see us gone from the internet. Because if they can convince Tumblr and OnlyFans to cave to pressure, what’s stopping them from getting platforms like Twitter to cave? Because if Twitter is serious about their idea of paid subscription followings, all it’ll take is a few bad actors to get every user who dares to post a lewd picture running for the hills. Maybe someday the institutions and cultural tides will turn our way, and we can have a society that is more accepting of not only what we do, but sexuality as a whole. Sadly, that day is not gonna be anytime soon.
And when I say that we need our own spaces, I’m talking about subscription platforms, e-commerce, social media, payment processors, etc. The adult community has a plethora of options for expecting donations and making money. ManyVids, Fancentro, JustForFans, LoyalFans, Chaturbate, Streamate, EPlay, Flirt4Free, Bliss, CherryTV, Stripchat, SextPanther, Nafty, the list goes on and on. So in terms of losing OnlyFans, there are still tons of alternatives. But I still feel like this is something that those of us who make adult games should be mindful of as well. If they can do it to OnlyFans, what’s stopping them from doing it to a service like Patreon?
The freedom we have to make the content that we do and the right to freedom of expression is not something that we should ever give up, but we should not have to rely on these platforms who don’t even see us as creators worthy of their time. Decentralization, independent and alternative operations, and an open space for creators to pick the best options for them without the worry of censorship or de-platforming should be a top priority. Whatever type of work you do (pictures, videos, cam work, gaming, animation, voice-over, art, etc.), your work and your creations are just as valid as any SFW creation. But it’s really time for us to stop hoping and wishing for the tides to turn.
I truly wish all the best for every performer that’s now having to migrate their content to new platforms and for organizations such as the Adult Performance Artists Guild for providing relief and support for creators during this time. But something has got to change. And that change has to come soon.
What do you think? We’d love to hear from you! Are decentralization and alternative platforms the way? Are we overreacting? Should we try to fight back against the practices of these platforms? What path should content creators go down? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. And thanks for reading!