“JustFor.Fans is a porn site,” founder Dominic Ford says, laughing, about one of the many things that distinguishes his site from Only Fans. “Say what you are! Call me by my name.”
The conversation has turned to the mainstream success of Only Fans during the pandemic, and its pursuit of the mainstream with much-publicized users like Bella Thorne and Tyler Posey. “Its most recent movements have been in mainstream celebrity, and so you have to assume that’s not an accident,” Ford says. “And the minute that happens they put their feet on the throat of sex workers even more than they already do.”
The distinction is not an arbitrary one. Ford, who has been in the gay adult industry for over a decade, knows that acknowledging the adult nature of the JFF content and using adult credit card processors allows flexibility. Being crystal clear about what the site is “allows us to do a bunch of things differently, like a way to cross recommend models you like based on models you’re subscribed to, ways to search for models… All of these things a smart porn company would do, and Only Fans has painted itself into a corner by saying, ‘We’re not a porn site.’”
Only Fans may have been the mainstream’s shorthand for online sex work, but that’s fast changing. Where once articles about user-generated content and fan platforms used OnlyFans in the headlines, now JFF has the same level of recognition to warrant that mention. That’s been the huge turning point, when we’re finally mentioned in the same breath,” Ford says. But for those in the adult industry, JustFor.Fan’s features and ease of use have been a draw since its launch on Valentine’s Day 2008. And that is only increasing with the site’s recent redesign.
“We’re now the only fan platform that helps models find other models to film with,” Ford says. “We have an application called Findr that’s only for verified models, and shows you who’s nearby. And there’s a search and travel dates. We’re the only site that thinks about the whole lifestyle of the model. So it’s not just that we’re a place to upload content; we know you need to produce content and meet models to do that with. We have a business director of people who can help you edit it, of people who can run your social accounts.”
JFF also has a robust charity component, donating over $20,000 to the Black Lives Matter movement last fall with donations from the models. “That’s models giving 5 percent, 10 percent, 3 percent of their sales,” Ford points out. “Their sales are $9! These are not large per transaction amounts. We’ve also raised $5k, $6k for other very worthy causes. We’re creating an ecosystem and a community, and giving back to the least well off of that community.”
Heeding his own admonition, Ford may be closer to the truth of saying exactly what JustFor.Fans is: A porn site, yes. But, more emphatically, a community.