Let’s be honest: there are popular figures on the social web who drive each of us absolutely crazy. Regardless of their huge followings, you don’t have to cast around too far to find people who can’t abide Casey Neistat, or Charli d’Amelio, or even (much as we shudder to say it) one or more of the Kardashians.
Influencer Economics – while not yet a class taught in business schools, as far as we know – is a topic you could call an inch thick and a mile wide. The fundamentals are pretty simple:
- Collect a large audience of followers;
- Earn ad share revenue from your social media platform;
- Gain sponsorships from related manufacturers; and
- Sign up for affiliate marketing plans
The challenge with all of these is this: the influencer is absolutely not being paid for their content – they're being paid for the eyeballs their content can attract to someone else’s advertisement. As a result, the influencer must be super careful about their content. Creating a stir could drive their content score down in the platform’s algorithm and cause potential sponsors to think twice about engaging. No creator seeking to make a living as an influencer can be truly unguarded, or build an authentic digital relationship with their audience, because their business is balanced on the knife’s edge of unmanageable public taste.
Perhaps right now you’re thinking that there are other ways to make money, particularly by building subscription channels – and you’d be right! OnlyFans is well known for its claim to have paid out something like $5billion in creator earnings. However, the vast majority of the content on that platform is...ahem...NSFW. Which makes it very difficult to successfully earn a living there and maintain a public image that passes muster with the more mainstream social media algorithms and advertisers. Given that the only real way to find subscribers for an OnlyFans account is through existing accounts on other platforms, it can be an all or nothing proposition. For what it’s worth, the average OnlyFans creator earns just an estimated $145 per month.
So we have a slew of super popular influencers, making decent money through (essentially) ads carried by their content – which must be pretty vanilla so they don’t ruffle advertiser feathers. We have a few who see that their audience can translate to OnlyFans, where the subscription money actually replaces the ad revenue, and whose non-OnlyFans content now exists largely to funnel new subscribers to NSFW content.
Nowhere do we see an environment designed to support and nurture creators of truly unique, innovative, controversial content. Nor do we see a full-service platform for running truly authentic subscription channels that are, well, not NSFW.
The options that do exist suffer from being fragmented: some provide subscription management without actual distribution; others single-medium distribution (think: chat rooms) that needs plugins for subscription management; still others the illusion of subscriptions through the provision of easy user tipping mechanisms.
This is why creators are taking a long hard look at QP. On QP, creators can build authentic communities of interest with their most dedicated followers. In turn, those fans are thrilled to financially support their favorite creators, and to build a more personal and direct connection with them. Creators don’t have the concerns they might with an OnlyFans channel, and they retain full control over not only which followers are allowed in the channel, but also over all the content they publish.
QP creators are breaking the mold, with the opportunity to be unique, authentic, even edgy in a safe space, supported by their fans, while preserving their broader brand on traditional social platforms. Finally, there’s a corner of social media economics not starving creativity of oxygen.