Alternatives to Patreon for Porn Creators

This week, the pornocalypse inevitably came to Patreon, as it had been threatening to do for almost a year. Porn creators on the crowd-funding platform got emails telling them they’d violated the terms of service and couldn’t use it anymore.

The most public and well-known of these is Four Chambers, who were something of the canary in the Patreon coal mine. As long as Four Chambers were there, it felt as though others could use the platform without a problem.

 

The word is that Patreon bowed to the demands of the credit card companies. This is probably because if you want to use Mastercard or Visa to make porn, you have to pay their “high risk fees” which ostensibly exist because porn is an insecure business with lots of fraud and chargebacks (but in reality, it’s just a handy profitable “sin tax”).

So there are now a bunch of porn creators who have lost their income and plenty of others who are now feeling pretty insecure about their future.

I’m nearly 20 years in online porn now and I know that the best thing for porn creators to do is get a domain name, get some hosting and create your own site with billing (see below). That way, you are not at the mercy of venture capitalists or social media rules; you are in charge of your own business. I also know that that option is not open to a lot of people, either due to location, startup money or tech skills.

For those looking to quickly migrate from Patreon, there are a few options.

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Hosted Adult Content Sites and Clip Stores

Adult Member Sites will create an entire site for you, host it and sort out billing as well through CCBill and Segpay. For that, they’ll take 25% after processing costs (so you keep about 67% of income). Doesn’t matter where you’re from or how much content you have, this is a really easy way to get your own site up and running. And knowing how much it costs to host and run my own paysite, the 25% isn’t too bad. I have had no dealings with this site so I don’t personally know if they’re any good but if you’re casting around for a quick solution, this seems good.

Clips4Sale is one of the oldest sites that let you onsell your content. You can sell videos individually or make your own member’s area site. On average you keep 60% of income, depending on what type of content you’re offering. They host and deal with billing.

ManyVids is a camming-style site that allows you to upload and sell individual videos or group them into a member’s area. It pays either 60% of 80% depending on which area of the site you use.

OnlyFans is another video-sharing site that is more focused on a membership model. It lets you decide how much to charge for each video. With this you keep 80% of your income.

ModelCentro is another white label membership site, offers 75% after fees and hosts for you.

CCBill Lifestyle (NEW! Added 4 July 2018) Major adult processor CCBill has just launched a service where they will host a site for you and offer billing, though you still have to pay the credit card high risk fees ($1000). Only available to US and EU people. They’re promising 90% minus fees.

For all of these you’ll need to provide ID, have a bank account or Paxum card for payment and you’ll also need to follow their various rules which are imposed by the credit card companies – these include no peeing, no fisting and no blood in your content. Yes, I know, it sucks, but this is the bullshit we all put up with to keep the money coming in.

How To Set Up Your Own Paysite

If you want to be completely free of outside influence (at least, as far as you can in this business), making your own paysite is the way to go. Ideally you will need US$1500 or EU500 startup money and WordPress skills but that’s not always the case. You do need to look at your income (real or future) and work out if it’s going to pay the monthly bills.

Here’s the absolute bare minimum of what’s involved and assumes you already have content ready to upload:

1. Buy a Domain. If you don’t already have your own domain name, go to Godaddy or Namecheap or any domain provider and get one. $10 or so. You’ll also need to get an SSL certificate, you can get very basic ones from Namecheap for $11 or – if your host will set it up because it’s complicated – free ones from Let’s Encrypt. You’ll need to point the nameservers at your host once you’ve got one (ask the host for help).

2. Find an adult friendly host. Mojohost is one of the larger adult hosts and you can get a very basic VPS plan from $10 per month. There’s also M3Server, TMD Hosting and apparently Hostgator takes adult sites.

3. Get the host to install WordPress in a separate folder and pick a theme you like. If you want to go upmarket, find a good video-based theme from Themeforest. This will be the member’s area. Add gallery plugins like Nextgen and video plugins like Flowplayer (or use the theme’s video settings). Add your content. Next, build your tour at the front of the site – you may want to use a separate WordPress install for that with the same theme. Add an age verification plugin for the tour and make sure you use an SEO plugin like Yoast to optimize your site for the search engines. And a good security plugin like Wordfence.

Alternatively, you can just have a single WordPress install and use a membership plugin that restricts individual posts and content. The tricky aspect of these is you need to make sure they will work with CCBill and Epoch; if not, they’re useless.

4. Organize billing. If you live in the US or Europe, CCBill or Epoch are the main adult billers. (If you’re in Australia or Asia, you’re out of luck unless you can get an overseas friend to be your official contact).  Apply for an account and ask them to review your site to make sure you’re obeying their content rules. Pay the Visa and Mastercard sin tax – US$750 and $500 respectively (less in the EU). Once you’re approved (it can take a few weeks), their techs will help you set up scripts, password protection and billing pages. Another billing option is Verotel – if you have EU500 they will set up a basic account for you. Remember that you cannot use Paypal or pretty much any other payment provider.

5. If you are charging recurring billing, keep making and uploading content to meet minimum requirements. Be prepared to deal with customer emails, login problems and complaints.

Obviously, this route is more expensive and time-consuming than letting other people host and organize billing for you. But it is the most independent option.

If you want to skip the part where you set up the site and run WordPress, you could try something like PornCMS, which will set up and host a basic site for you for $29 a month – but you have to organize your own billing. The site may look fairly mainstream but it’s a good option.

There are also a number of CMS systems designed specifically for porn sites such as ElevatedX or various porn tube scripts that can be adapted into a member’s area. If you want to go down this path you’ll need good tech / scripting skills and may also want to employ a designer for your tour. Much more expensive (at least $199 a month with your own hosting).

Adult Industry Guide has more handy info on how to built your own adult site.

Video On Demand Options

Another option for selling individual videos are the video on demand sites. You can either license an individual video or bundle a few together to make a DVD-type movie. VOD is usually better for short films or longer form porn rather than simple clip-style videos.

Pink Label are a great option for independent and feminist-identified filmmakers and they’re my friends so I definitely recommend them. You can license a video to be available individually and receive 40% plus earn extra with affiliate commissions. There’s also the option to be part of the member’s area.

Lust Films has two sites – Lust Cinema and Erotic Films – that license the work of other directors. Percentages may vary.

Gamelink and Hotmovies both offer VOD at rates of about 20%.
There’s also AEBN. I’m not sure what their rates currently are, probably also 20^%.


Please be aware, this post is in no way comprehensive and I don’t necessarily endorse the companies listed here. I really just wanted to get people pointed in the right direction and aware that there are alternatives out there. Yes, it means coming on over to the “dark side”; Patreon had a nice non-porn artistic respectability that is missing from many of the above sites. Still, your content speaks for itself. You know it’s good and that people will pay for it so you need to keep it available if at all possible.

If anyone has recommendations to add to this post, let me know!

 

A few other posts that may be of interest:

No, the adult industry doesn’t happily accept financial discrimination

FOSTA/SESTA: The pornocalypse may well have arrived

Aporntheid: How I experience discrimination because of my work

Please also read Violet Blue’s piece Paypal, Square and big banking’s war on the sex industry.

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