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The world of content creation has never been bigger, with more and more people looking to take their first steps into building a career as a creator, moving away from the traditional 9 to 5.
For many who are making those first steps, the natural first destination is going to be OnlyFans. It’s by far the biggest name, with the largest user base, and so a lot of people will assume that the market of adult fan platforms is limited to the only one they’ve heard of.
But then there’s the savvy aspiring creator. Maybe they’ve heard about OnlyFans’ abandoned plans to ban all adult content, and are worried that it’s still happening soon. Or maybe they’re just smart enough to check out the competition before committing to OnlyFans.
One competitor making a bit of noise – in the right way – is iFans. It offers a very similar style of website to the OnlyFans model, but with a couple of features that help it stand out – not only from OnlyFans but also as quite a unique offering altogether.
Which one is the right choice for the next big thing in content creation? Let’s compare the two and find out.
Intro to OnlyFans
There are few websites that build their success on adult content and still manage to become a mainstream name, something that is recognizable to the masses. But OnlyFans bucks the trend, being a hugely successful website that is known throughout pop culture.
It’s also still relatively young when compared against some of the other websites with millions of users. It launched in 2016, and only really started to build its popularity in 2019.
Then, the pandemic hit, and the website’s creator base and the number of visitors absolutely skyrocketed as people looked for alternative ways to make money and more celebrities also started joining the platform.
It is the undoubted king of creator platforms that allow adult content. But the problem is that it doesn’t want to be. It wants to steer away from the more explicit content on its website as that’s more appealing to banks and potential financial partners.
It did announce it was banning adult content in August 2021, before it swiftly withdrew that. Yet the desire is still there, and it’s more a case of “when” and not “if” it decides to pull the plug again, or at least that’s the view of the experts.
So, how much longer will OnlyFans be the top dog for adult creators?
Almost a copycat of OnlyFans, with maybe an extra couple of features
A website that’s much more feature driven, and designed with user experience in mind
iFans is somewhere between these two camps. It has a nicer look and feel than OnlyFans, and a few extra features, but it’s not trying to be too packed with extra options. Simplicity is key here.
But it also has an angle that no other content creator platform has really shouted about, which is the deep referral system. We’ll get into this more in the ‘Ways to make money’ section below, but ultimately iFans wants to incentivize collaboration between creators and offer more ways of earning by referring people to other creators too.
It’s certainly different, but we’ll get to what that ultimately means a little later.
Most people these days know how social media works and are pretty capable of navigating their way around a website and understanding what to do once they’ve created an account.
But that doesn’t mean that websites shouldn’t put effort into making their website simple and more appealing. And one of the biggest criticisms leveled at OnlyFans is in how it just doesn’t seem to be designed with the user in mind. The interface and layout are pretty basic, and when users first log on they’ll just find a blank feed and a couple of recommendations tucked into a corner.
That’s because OnlyFans is all about maximizing your existing fanbase – and so it’s designed for users to sign up to you rather than signing up to the platform itself. It’s rare for someone to go to OnlyFans.com and sign up, but instead, they’ll usually do it on your own profile link.
There have been a few tweaks to this over the last couple of years but broadly, it’s not a site designed to be super simple to use.
A lot of creator platforms capitalize on this, and iFans has done to some extent. When you first log onto the site you’ll see that it looks a lot closer to Facebook and Twitter, which just makes it that bit more user-friendly right from the start.
It’s still quite basic, and navigating the site isn’t always the easiest, but just for basic layout it edges out OnlyFans. A marginal win only though.
Ways to make money
This is the category where iFans really stands out, but before we get to that, let’s explain how fan platforms work in general.
When you sign up as a content creator, you’re given a profile with the option to upload content in the form of photos and videos. This content is hidden behind a subscription paywall. You then encourage your fans to sign up, paying a monthly fee to have access to your content. They’ll be able to see all the content you’ve previously posted, as well as any posts you make in future, provided they stay subscribed.
Of that subscription fee, you keep most of the money but a cut goes to the platform to pay for their own costs. Remember that they are a business that exists to make money, and they need to pay some pretty hefty fees for hosting all your content too – video storage doesn’t come cheap at the scale of these websites.
You can then also make money through tips, where your fans pay you a little bit extra when they want to treat you. Tips often make up a large portion of your earnings, particularly if you’re good at engaging your fans. Direct messaging services help with this – you can chat with them directly, which helps them feel more special and encourages them to send you a little extra cash.
That covers the bulk of the way you’ll earn money from OnlyFans, and some of the ways you can earn via iFans too.
iFans also offers a few other ways you can make money too. You can sell exclusive content for a one-off fee, and you can live stream, which you can sell access to (and another great way of encouraging tips as well). You can also sell access to your direct messages if you want to, or offer digital gifts in exchange for a fee.
But the real unique point of iFans is around its deep referrals system, which is designed to encourage creators to cross-promote other creators by offering you referral fees for any sales.
Simply, if you mention another creator either by tagging them in your own feed, in a comment, or in a message, and someone else visits that creator via your tag and then subscribes or makes a purchase, you make money – and that’s for the lifetime of that referral.
So, if you send a user to someone via a tag, and they purchase a subscription, but then a year later they decide to pay for one exclusive video from that creator, you’ll still earn a part of that money for yourself.
By incentivizing cross-promotion, it allows for users who have a large fan base to capitalize on them by not only making money from them directly but also by referring them to other creators. And it also means that other creators could refer more subscribers to you as well, opening you up to a wider fanbase than you already have.
There is a caveat to all this deep referral system though, which we’ll cover in the next section. For now, there’s a clear winner on ways you can make money.
How much can you earn?
The amount of money that you can earn as a content creator comes down to three main factors. The first of those is the various ways you can earn – the more options you have, the more you can leverage your audience, and so based on what we’ve already covered Fanvue is ahead in that regard.
Then there’s that audience, and how easy it is to build it. Because while there are some basic discoverability features that help casual browsers find you both on OnlyFans and iFans, they are extremely simplistic and they’re hard to get noticed in. Realistically, you need to build your audience without the help of the platform.
On one hand, OnlyFans has an advantage here because it’s a much bigger name. Your followers on other social media are going to understand what your OnlyFans profile is. You’ll have to do more work to explain to them what iFans is, and realistically you’ll probably end up saying “It’s like OnlyFans”, which only shows just how much power that brand has.
But as we’ve already covered, iFans also incentivizes creators to support each other. So by joining iFans, you could build more of an audience because you’ll have other creators sending you traffic. As long as your profile stands out and you build up good relationships with other creators, you could see them sending you more people to sign up to your profile as well.
The third factor in how much you can earn is in the amount of money that the platform takes. Remember when we said there’s a caveat to iFans’ deep referral? This is where that needs explaining.
Let’s start with OnlyFans though, which keeps things simple – for every subscriber or tip, you keep 80% of what the user pays, with 20% going to the platform. This is pretty standard – there are some platforms that charge less, but they aren’t very common – 20% isn’t considered an unreasonable amount.
With iFans, any payments you take on your own profile page that you generate yourself – direct traffic from a link you’ve provided to the user – work the same. You keep 80% and 20% goes to iFans.
Also, if you tag another creator and send traffic to them, you make 40% of any money that users spend with the other creator, whether that’s monthly subs or one-off payments.
But on the flip side, if another creator refers a user to you, that creator makes 40% and you only make 40%. iFans still makes its 20%.
So there’s a debate to be had here. If another creator referred someone to you on OnlyFans, you’d still make your 80%, and with iFans you’d only make 40%.
But iFans gives those other creators a much bigger incentive. Getting 40% of a payment that you wouldn’t have received, if the creator didn’t refer someone to you, is better than 80% of nothing. Plus, you can make that money back by referring your own subscribers to other creators.
Of course, users don’t have endless wallets, and not every referral will convert. But iFans does give you more options.
One other thing to note – if you live stream with iFans, you only keep 50% of any earnings. Again, the argument can be made that OnlyFans doesn’t let you live stream. Plus, when you stream live you appear at the top of everyone’s feeds, not just those who subscribe to you. And again, 50% of something is better than 80% of nothing if you couldn’t live stream.
OnlyFans has a 21-day turnaround for funds. Once a user makes a payment, it’ll reach your account (minus the 20%) in three weeks’ time. You can make a withdrawal at any time that you want to, as long as you have at least $20 in your account.
iFans’ payout time is 7 days, which is faster. There’s not a lot to say here – if you want your funds quicker then there’s one clear winner.
Which has the best features?
Neither OnlyFans nor iFans have a ton of features to talk about. There are other creator platforms that are certainly more driven by giving creators more tools to play with. But, there are some features worth calling out.
OnlyFans doesn’t have too many exclusive features, but one worth mentioning is geoblocking. It’s not very sophisticated – you can only block users by country – but it does mean you can stop family and friends from seeing your content if you’re happy excluding your home country, meaning you won’t be visible there at all.
Another that’s useful is automatic watermarking. This lets you add an automatic watermark to all of your content so that if someone steals it and reuploads it, you should have an easier time proving it's yours and getting it taken down.
We’ve covered a lot of the exclusive iFans features already, since they’re related to the ways you can make money. As a recap:
Livestream – you’ve the option to stream live to your fans, but also to the whole platform. Any money you make during livestreams has a 50% commission rate
Sell individual video clips and photos to your fans
Sell access to your DMs if you want to (though you may prefer to keep them free in order to make more in tips)
Option to earn more money through the deep referral system, so you can earn from users you refer to other clients
It’s worth mentioning that iFans does give you the option of allowing your fans to follow your profile for free. They’ll see any content that you flag as public, and can tell when you’ve posted, even if there are photos and videos they can’t then see. It’s a good tool if you want to give someone a preview of what you do, and demonstrate that you are a reliable and frequent uploader – something that people see as key when they want to get value out of a paid subscription.
One other feature on the horizon is the Explore feature, which should allow users to browse profiles more easily. We don’t know what that’ll look like yet, but we know it’s coming.
Winner: Draw. OnlyFans has some key tools, but iFans has more ways to make money.
What’s the support like?
OnlyFans doesn’t have the best reputation for customer support. A lot of creators and users have complained about long wait times for responses, which is no good at all if you’ve got an urgent problem. Plus, a lot of the responses are seen as ‘cookie cutter' – they're not tailored to the individual problem.
iFans doesn’t have the same user or creator base, and so complaints are rare – but so is praise while it still builds itself up. There is an FAQ section, and they do have a helpdesk that will reply to emails in a personal way. You could also contact them through social media where they are fairly active, but it’s hard to say just how good their service is until they become more established, or share more useful information on their website.
While we can't be certain of iFans' support as they get bigger, they're at least showing a positive effort while they gain some traction.
So, which is best?
OnlyFans remains the biggest name, but there are so many challenger sites taking a chunk of their userbase that it almost seems inevitable that the playing field will level out in time. The question is whether iFans has enough of a niche to stand up to other platforms and also to show that it is a worthy alternative to OnlyFans itself.
And overall, we’d probably say that it does. While it isn’t the slickest website, and it doesn’t have the best customer support, it does these jobs to the same standard as OnlyFans, and that deep referral system does open up a lot of opportunities for creators to work together to build their fanbases.
It won’t be for everyone, but iFans has absolutely got appeal for any new creator who enjoys being social online, not only with their own fanbase but with similar content creators too.
Remember that this is our opinion, although we’ve reviewed every major creator platform. But it’s ultimately up to you. While we think iFans does outperform OnlyFans, you might feel more comfortable sticking with the biggest name in the industry…until it bans adult content, anyway.