The inception of Just For Fans is one of destiny, borne from a bowel injury and boredom. It all started in 2017 when Dominic Ford, a 12-year porn veteran, had gotten a hernia and had to wait until January the following year to have it operated on.
“I’m not good at being idle, and the three-week recovery meant I couldn’t have sex or go to the gym, which was my entire existence. So I was sitting at home trying to figure out what to do to occupy my time so I didn’t go crazy,” he tells RIDE. “I had always wanted to build a better fan platform because what was out there was terrible, so I spent two weeks developing the first version of the Just For Fans site. I spent one week testing, then launched it on February 14, 2018.”
Now, not even two years later, Just For Fans has amassed a user base of 500,000 and Ford’s role in the industry – on top of running his own opens in a new windowstudio – has altered significantly. “I am still very much in the industry as the head of JFF,” he says. “In fact, I interface with more people in the industry than ever before since most models are on JFF.”
The way fan sites like Just For Fans operate is simple. Rather than subscribing to a porn site, users pay to access content created by individual performers who upload their own content (which they’ve produced and edited themselves) to the site – this means the money goes directly into the performer’s hands. When logged in, the site operates much like Facebook or Instagram, with a real-time news feed featuring pictures, posts, and videos.
RIDE spoke to Ford about how much performers can earn on JFF, whether fan sites spell the end of porn studios, and what’s next for the groundbreaking platform.
RIDE: As an adult actor, can you explain how the porn studio model looked prior to Just For Fans?
Dominic Ford: Studios pay models a one-time flat fee. This could be anywhere from $400-1500 typically. If the movie was the most successful of all time, or the worst ever, the model never got paid more or less after the flat fee was paid. There were no residuals of any kind. So models lived shoot to shoot, paycheck to paycheck. And if no studio hired them in a month, they would have to find other ways to pay the bills, such as escorting.
RIDE: How can JFF users make money on the site?
Dominic Ford: There are lots of ways models can money — many more than on any other platform. Models charge a monthly subscription to access their pages. That’s the core business. Models can also sell video downloads, hard goods (like clothing), and private photos and videos. We can also give models a phone number they can use to text fans privately and exchange photos/videos. The fan pays for each interaction.
RIDE: How much do popular performers earn on Just For Fans; is it enough to be considered a full-time job?
Dominic Ford: Those who treat it like a full-time job make well over $100,000 a year. It is a full-time job. Those who don’t can earn $50k-60k doing it part-time. Those who put no effort into it make very little. It really is the kind of site where you get from it what you put into it. There is no free lunch. The biggest sellers work hard to get a loyal following.
RIDE: How does the average consumer use JFF?
Dominic Ford: There are definitely two main types of customers. About half the user base only subscribes to one model. The other half typically subscribes to six to 20 models.
RIDE: With Just For Fans and similar independent models becoming the norm, do you believe studios will eventually be phased out?
Dominic Ford: I don’t think so. YouTube hasn’t killed movies. There will always be room for big-production movies from studios. But studios would be smart to see what kind of models and content are making a lot of money on fan platforms because it indicates what (and who) people will spend money on.
RIDE: Can porn studios and sites like Just For Fans co-exist? Or is JFF becoming too much of a threat?
Dominic Ford: We actually host over 30 porn studios’ content on JFF. They are finding another source of revenue on JFF, and I am putting a lot of time and energy into how they can make even more. I want JFF to be a platform where everyone can make money: models and studios. We also host photographers.
RIDE: How do studios use JFF?
Studios use the site in various ways. Some put their normal studio scenes on the site. Some feature behind the scenes and extra material. As far as the percentages of split payments, we handle it internally. So we will pay a studio a percentage if they have exclusive sign up underneath them. Affiliates work the same way. They got their own dashboard of who they had made sales for and what percentage they made.
RIDE: Streaming porn sites like Pornhub have hindered industry profits, but have helped porn actors get better recognized. What’s your take on these websites?
Dominic Ford: They killed the industry by hosting pirated content, squeezing out their competition until they were worth nothing. And then the tube sites bought the studios. In general, they have been horrible for the industry. And now Pornhub has an award show that I see tons of people go to. I guess it doesn’t matter how awful they have treated the industry as long as you can win an award? I think it’s disgusting.
RIDE: You’ve said JFF is “a platform that understands agents and studios and affiliates.” Can you explain how?
Dominic Ford: Unlike our competitors, JFF was built with a keen awareness of how the industry works. So, agents can get a percentage of sales from their exclusive models, as can studios. And affiliates can get a percentage of sales for traffic they bring in.
RIDE: In a past interview you said you were trying to organize a way for JFF models to get healthcare in a more affordable way than they could buy themselves. Has this been achieved?
Dominic Ford: Yes, this was our year-one goal and we did it in our first year. There is a Health Care link on the site where models can get more information and sign up. Our year-two goal was charitable giving. Now, models can donate a percentage of their earnings to one of our approved charities. As of this writing, they have already donated over $7,000 to charity. This brings the idea of “ethical spending’ to porn, as you can sort models by how much they are donating to charity.
RIDE: What’s next for JFF?
Dominic Ford: JFF is a social media platform that is centered around porn. To that extent, we have added tons of social media features. Models can “friend” other models and see their content for free. FINDR is our own Grindr-like app that shows our models other models around them who might want to film. We just added a “Snap Post” membership option so users can buy a membership only to “Snap Posts” (posts that expire like snap chat). When Tumblr abandoned porn, we introduced a Free Posts page and the ability for users to Re-Blog their favorite posts. And we launched Stories (like instagram) last weekend. As other social media platforms continue to discriminate again the adult industry, we will do our best to position ourselves as the best alternative.