Tech & Trends30 May 2022
15 min read

Make an Onlyfans Alternative or How to Make a Website Like Onlyfans

Content subscription services are on the rise, and there are several reasons why people like them. Getting premium content in a single place is quick and effortless, paying for a subscription once is convenient and cost-effective but the most important reason that makes content subscription services popular is that people actually don’t like free stuff.

Instead, they value what they have paid for. OnlyFans is a good example of a successful premium content sharing app, so let’s uncover the secrets of its success, find out how to make an OnlyFans-like website, and create a recurring income stream.

What Is Onlyfans?

So, before proceeding with OnlyFan’s alternative website development, let’s take a quick look at this project and find out what’s special about it. Even if you have never used OnlyFans, you probably have heard about it – this is a premium content subscription website that is especially famous with adult content created in a fully custom way.
However, NSFW (Not Safe For Work) isn’t the only type of content you can access on OnlyFans. Fitness trainers, life coaches, musicians, and cooks share their videos on this platform as well. There are also dog trainers, medical practitioners, and comedians, in addition to other content authors you don’t expect to meet on OnlyFans.
To access the content from different creators, the viewers have to pay a subscription fee that ranges from $4,99 to $49,99 per month. Content creators, in turn, can set the subscription price to let the viewers access their premium photos and videos. OnlyFans take 20% of the sum generated by an account per month, while the creators earn the remaining 80%.

4 Business Secrets of Onlyfans Success

Onlyfans was created in 2016 but became especially popular during the quarantine when the whole world was looking for ways to entertain themselves when staying at home. However, there are some more secrets behind OnlyFan’s success which wasn’t instant but now is pretty stable.
  • They create only-membership content. People love the feeling of belonging to a certain group or community. Membership or subscription services, in turn, give them this feeling of having an access to the exclusive content. 
  • They offer the kind of entertainment that is hard to find somewhere else. OnlyFans is largely associated with adult content. The opportunity to watch live streams from the favorite NSFW content creators and get exclusive photos or videos in exchange for tips are the entertainment options that no other social media or adult content-only website can offer. 
  • They engage their audiences day after day. OnlyFans content creators say that making money on this platform isn’t much different from having a full-time job. They have to entertain their audiences day after day, being creative and active, while the users are happy to pay for their efforts with subscriptions and tips. 
They offer exclusive content for an additional fee. OnlyFans allows the viewers to chat with the content creators for a fee. For example, a viewer can ask the creator to create a personalized piece of content for a tip, and this is one more opportunity to engage the audience and earn money.

How Do Websites Like Onlyfans Make Money?

  • So, OnlyFans makes money by charging the users a subscription fee which is set by the content creator and shared with OnlyFans according to the 80/20 ratio. It uses a mixed monetization model, which means that the content creators can sell their content on a recurring monthly subscription basis and earn additionally with the help of tips. 

    Some OnlyFans-like websites allow for buying the so-called “credits” which expands the users’ opportunities on the platforms. The latter approach is especially popular on the premium dating websites which are also subscription-based. A subscription, in this case, works as a membership fee, while credits allow for using other features, for example, sending messages or gifts to the appealing users. In our recent articles, we have also discussed how to make your own dating app, so you are welcome to check it.

    Getting back to content monetization opportunities, let’s take a look at additional tactics you can consider for your project. 

    • Ad-supported video on demand (AVOD). For example, YouTube video producers can monetize their content in this way, allowing the advertisers to show their promo reels before or while the viewer watches a video. 
    • Transactional video on demand (TVOD). This is a business model that OnlyFans follows, allowing the creators to sell exclusive videos to specific users for a fee.
    Deciding on the business model is what do you need to start an OnlyFans at the initial development stages. Also, keep in mind another winning tactic OnlyFans follows. They use a referral system which means that each user can invite a content creator to the platform and earn some interest from every subscription sold by the invited creator. In this way, OnlyFans lowers the customer acquisition cost, grows the amount of both creators and viewers, and drives more engagement on the platform.

How to Create an Application Like Onlyfans

Let’s find out how to make a website like OnlyFans, following a step-by-step  development strategy. However, keep in mind that to build another website like OnlyFans, your development path is likely to be a little specific, especially if you would like to make an adult content-focused project. 
  1. Research the competition and suggest the idea

First, you have to research the market competition and suggest a better idea to create a website like OnlyFans. For example, Fansly and Fancentro are the top competitors of OnlyFans – these websites are largely focused on creating and selling explicit content. Just For Fans, according to the users’ reviews, is better suitable for guy content promotion. Fanvue and Megacams are the platforms good for getting started with adult content production – they have created competitive opportunities for newbies.  Take a look at these websites and highlight their strong and weak features. Regardless of the idea you suggest, keep in mind that quality, entertainment, engagement, and safety are equally important for projects of an OnlyFans-like type.

    2. Decide on the core technology

The interesting fact is that OnlyFans has no mobile app. As the company states, you are welcome to use a web version that works well regardless of the operating system. In 2021, OnlyFans made an attempt to launch an OnlyFans TV app for Android with the goal of changing its brand image to less explicit. The app was intended to come with no adult content but to date, it isn’t available for any of the operating systems.  So, at this step, you have to decide on the technologies to power your future app. Below are the main options. 
  • Native mobile apps. Creating two separate mobile apps is the tactic to deliver the best user experience possible but the cost to create them is pretty high. Choose this strategy if you are sure that the major part of your target audience uses a specific OS and is eager to download the app instead of accessing it from the browser.
But keep in mind that it is impossible to publish and promote adult content-only solutions in official app stores. That’s why this tactic is suitable only if your future app will be centered around any other topic which fits the legal and ethical framework.  Cross-platform application. OnlyFans is built as a cross-platform app which means that it automatically adjusts to the specifics of the operating system. It is created with Node.js on the backend and uses Flutter for the frontend. Cross-platform development is the most reasonable tactic for projects of this type since it is fast, cost-effective, and allows for avoiding app marketplace restrictions. Validating a cross-platform MVP will also be trouble-free, and then, you will be able to switch to native development in the case the audience expects it.

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3. Discover legal requirements

What do you need to make an OnlyFans-like website law compliant? The obvious answer is that you should research the legal framework in advance but the trick is that the laws regulating adult content website operations are heavily localized. So, below are some of the must-follow practices regardless of the location of the market you will sell the app on. 
  • Age verification. Age verification is an accepted practice in multiple industries, and adult content is one of them. For example, the websites of this type operating in the UK are obliged to verify the age of the users, according to the law. 
  • No downloading, recording, and print screening opportunities. The content subscription websites should provide no options for downloading, recording, or print screening since in this case, the core idea of paying for a subscription makes no sense and the users will never value the content they get in this way. Make sure to discuss these issues with your development vendor in advance.
  • Compliance. The content subscription projects that will be developed for the US market should also comply with the D.M.C.A. Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Trademark laws; and Laws of Publicity.  That’s why hiring a legal tech consultant will be a smart decision before starting with creating a website like OnlyFans.

4. Shortlist the necessary features

OnlyFans features are pretty simple and largely inspired by the ones popular social media have. The OnlyFans UI is also pretty similar to the one of Twitter but with more videos. Take a look at our guide on how to build a social media app to grab some inspiring ideas you can reuse when developing an OnlyFans-like website, and below we are listing the basic features that will be enough to develop a validatable MVP.

Features for content creators:

  • Registration
  • User profile
  • Add a post
  • Video streaming
  • Video/image gallery
  • Messaging
  • Push notifications
  • Payment system integration

Features for viewers:

  • Registration
  • User profile
  • Following or subscription
  • Messaging
  • Push notifications
  • Payment system integration
As you can see, most features for content creators and viewers overlap so you can significantly cut the development cost. Also, pay attention to the fact that OnlyFans makes no difference between the content creators and the viewers – every registered user can create their content and view the content of others. The only requirement is to be 18 years old, verify your account and add bank card credentials.

3. Create the first  UI prototype

Now, you can proceed with creating a UI prototype. As always, it should be simple and intuitive. Take one more look at the most popular social media, OnlyFans and its competitors, other adult dating and adult content websites to grab the most winning ideas for your UI.  At this stage, you are also welcome to partner with a dedicated development vendor. Consider hiring a company with niche-specific expertise so that they can share the life-proven practices, help you avoid technical pitfalls, and stay legally compliant. We, at Binerals, have hands-on experience in creating social media and dating applications, so we would be happy to give your project a boost as well. The idea to hire developers in Ukraine is also value-adding. Being one of the leading software development outsourcing destinations, Ukraine offers a perfect price-quality match, coupled with the high English proficiency of the developers, their practical experience with foreign projects development, and convenient business hours overlap. 

4. Think about preparing getting-started content

At this step, you have to think about the content you will fill your app with before launching the Minimum Viable Product and validating the app with real users. The matter is that you can use random data for testing the solution for no technical pitfalls but the content you MVP will come with should be authentic. So, consider running marketing strategies in advance, gathering the user base, and also keep in mind that the share of content creators and viewers should be approximately equal. Targeted Facebook ads and Google PPC can be good options to attract users. Perks and freebies are good for engaging both content creators and viewers to interact with each other. 

5. Build a Minimum Viable Product

Now, you are almost done. The only thing remaining is to build an MVP, and at this point, the speed and cost of MVP development largely depend on the technologies you have chosen together with your development vendor. Cross-platform development with Flutter or React Native makes the best match with projects of like-OnlyFans type. Both of these frameworks are speedy, performant, and stable; they come with awesome UI elements and can easily be used for data-intensive apps.  The development cost will also be pretty affordable in this case so that you can validate your MVP by following the life-proven principles of the Lean development methodology.

Let’s create a premium content app now! Contact us today to get your personalized development strategy!

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How Much Does It Cost to Build a Website Like Onlyfans

Below is the approximate cost to build an OnlyFans-like app. Pay attention that these figures stand for the cost to develop a Minimum Viable Product, plus given the specificity of the app, special attention is paid to Business Analysis, legal compliance, and information security development. Total $60000
Developmnet StageHoursTotal ($50 per hour)
Business Analysis1005000
Legal consulting and compliance1005000
Frontend/backend development50025000
Information security development1005000
QA and testing1005000
Support and maintenance1005000

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    Building a website like OnlyFans can be a great idea to get started with. While such a website can be built as any other social media app, you have to keep some specific features in mind, especially when focusing on sharing adult content. Make sure to follow age verification and data security practices to stay law-compliant. 

    Also, partner with a trusted development company experienced with creating software for this niche. Our development team is ready to leverage the latest technologies, share our best practices and help your project disrupt the content subscription services market

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    How does OnlyFans subscription work?As a viewer, you can subscribe to the profiles you like and unlock access to their premium content. As a content creator, you sell your content via the subscriptions purchased by the viewers. OnlyFans earns 20% from each subscription sold, and the remaining 80% is the profit of the creators.
    When did OnlyFans become popular?OnlyFans became especially popular during the pandemic. Some sources explain connect its popularity boost with the fact that a lot of erotic and sex industry workers lose their jobs because of the quarantine and switched to sharing custom content online, with the help of OnlyFans and other similar websites.
    Why OnlyFans doesn’t have an app?Ukraine does have good programmers, especially skilled with JavaScript, Java, and C++, according toHackerRankMost Ukrainian developers have higher engineering education and are also passionate self-learners.