Our Tilt Discord server was ablaze last week because of the news about OnlyFans and “rented land” discussions. Here’s a quick rundown for the unfamiliar.

OnlyFans started as a content subscription service about five years ago. It allows content creators to earn money from fans as one-time tips, pay-per-view, or monthly subscriptions. A lot of musicians, physical fitness experts, and others use the channel, but its core user base is not-safe-for-work (NSFW) creators – sex workers, porn stars, and other creators who show nudity or sex acts.

These adult content creators helped turn OnlyFans into a multi-billion dollar company. It literally prints money.

Well, late last week, OnlyFans notified its creators that this October, it will ban “content containing sexually explicit conduct” while still allowing nudity consistent with its acceptable use policy. They said these changes are happening to comply with the request of their banking partners and payment providers.

Tilt Advice

I’m not sure where you sit on this. You might not approve of content like that being accessible on OnlyFans and are fine with this news. Me? I see it as just another move by a big platform that has every right to change the rules whenever and however they want. Facebook used to show all of a page’s posts to people who liked the page, but now it doesn’t. Twitter can kick people off its platform for all kinds of reasons. Google Plus can … Oh wait, Google shut it down.

You get the idea, right?

@OnlyFans changed the rules as any publishing platform has the right to do, says @JoePulizzi. #contententrepreneurs #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

Whenever this happens, I always tweet the same thing – “Do not build your content house on rented land.” It’s a slam-dunk tweet that always gets liked and retweeted – 76K saw that tweet and over 1K people reacted to it. While many cheered and said, “Joe, you are right. You’ve been saying this for years.” Many disagreed, saying, “You need to be where your audience is,” and “I’d rather be a part of a busy marketplace than a lone store that no one visits.”

Look, I’m not against leveraging social media platforms. I have some pretty important ones in Twitter and LinkedIn core to our business – a combined audience of 500K. But, and this is a big but, I am aware those channels can turn me off or change the rules as they see fit to run their businesses. As a content entrepreneur, my job is to leverage the audiences I’ve built on those platforms and move them to platforms I can control, most notably, our email newsletter.

As a #ContentEntrepreneur, my job is to move the audiences I built on #socialmedia to platforms I control, like our newsletter, says @JoePulizzi. #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

I was on a crypto podcast on Friday talking about $TILT coin and why we started it. It was then that I unpacked the subscriber hierarchy. At the bottom of the hierarchy, you have Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Great platforms, but you have little to no control of your audience on them. I talked about moving up the hierarchy to print subscribers, email subscribers, owned membership sites, and yes, even crypto. It’s your job to move your audience up the hierarchy. Leverage those social channels, but always treat them like tomorrow they may be gone.

OnlyFans creators who were making millions are complaining about the content change on the platform. I feel bad for them. I do. But how have they not been planning to move that audience to something they can actually control?

Why haven’t @OnlyFans creators been planning to move their audiences to something they can actually control? @JoePulizzi asks. #contentcreators #contentbusiness Click To Tweet

So now you know. We need to plan for these things. Next month, another platform will make another big change that affects creators. So, I’ll say again: Do not build your content house on rented land.

Say it again and again: Do not build your content house on rented land. #contententrepreneur #advice from @JoePulizzi. Click To Tweet


About the author

Joe Pulizzi is the founder of The Tilt, author of seven books including Content Inc. and co-founder of speech-therapy fundraiser, The Orange Effect Foundation.