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How banker’s son, 37, behind revolutionary adult site OnlyFans is making millions during lockdown

He is the son of a banker and lives in a gated mansion but Timothy Stokely did not make his money from any ordinary means.

Mr Stokely, 37, is the founder of London-based OnlyFans, the online adult service booming in popularity where ‘creators’ share content for a subscription fee.

OnlyFans has only been in existence for four years but it has already been credited with revolutionising the adult industry, but some performers have claimed they feel pimped by the service.

Fans pay anywhere from £3.90 to £39 a month for pictures from their favourite creators, while the site takes 20 per cent commission.

The site has boomed during the coronavirus lockdown, with a 42 per cent increase in new accounts being made during the period, taking the total to nearly 100,000 Britons.

Worldwide there are 660,00 creator accounts with 50million users and OnlyFans boasts it has paid creators more than £956m.

This would mean Mr Stokely has seen the company draw in revenues of more than more than £1.2bn.

These no doubt helped the entrepreneur afford his £2.4million mansion in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, complete with a cinema and sauna.

Since appearing on Love Island in 2018, Megan Barton Hanson has joined X-rated subscription site, building up a huge following.

During lockdown British glamour model Dannii Harwood became the first Briton to make £1million from the website since joining in 2019.

Ms Harwood told the New York Times: ‘You can get porn for free. Guys don’t want to pay for that. 

‘They want the opportunity to get to know somebody they’ve seen in a magazine or on social media. I’m like their online girlfriend’. 

But not everyone has had such a positive experience creating content for the site.

OnlyFans content creator Ana, 25, from the northwest, told The Sunday Times she felt weird selling her body online.

She said: ‘It’s almost like they’re pimping us out and taking their cut.’

Another creator added ‘it just feels like virtual prostitution’ but Stokely insists creators chose to be on the site themselves.

He said: ‘All the creators have joined the platform by choice, and create content as they choose.’

Lexi, a 36-year-old pole dancer from Manchester, made about £1,000 in the first month, which she used to pay her rent and bills.

She said: ‘You’re basically working as a commission-only salesperson. If you don’t do the work, you don’t get paid. 

‘If you’re going to set up a subscription site for a bit of fun – please don’t. There are people who are using it to try and survive at the moment. 

‘Set your boundaries before you make your content. Remember that it is out there forever.’ 

Teela Sanders, a criminology professor at the University of Leicester, said those setting up profiles must be properly protected.

She said: ‘There certainly is a lot more that needs to be done, especially as we see new platforms popping up all of the time, which don’t necessarily have the awareness that they need to be responsible platforms.’

Mr Stokely built OnlyFans after previously starting BDSM and fetish site in 2011.

He noticed a demand for customisable content from fans leading to his next venture, where users could pay to ask porn stars for content they desired.

Cutting the cost of studios for traditional porn and a huge demand for more personalised content led to large profits and the site was sold in 2019.

Mr Stokely said he ‘stumbled across the appeal of fetish movies’ while studying at Anglia Ruskin University in a 2014 Reddit post.

He also admitted to having watched more than a million porn videos, becoming ‘immune to weirdness’.

In the post he said: ‘I have seen a million and one. You sort of become immune to weirdness. A hazard of the job.’ 

After an OnlyFans was last year, the spotlight has been on the platform to prioritise the privacy of their members. 

Screenshots with an iOS or Android device now a black screen rather than allowing users to save the picture

Users can be banned from OnlyFans if you’re caught trying to take recordings or screenshots.

A statement on the website reads: ‘OnlyFans takes content piracy very seriously and has a designated DMCA team that issue formal takedown notices against all reported copyright violations.’

‘Our DMCA team issue notice on all illicit target websites, hosting services and domain registrars, whilst also notifying all major search engines of these infringements.’ 

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