Picture this: You’re horny, home alone and surfing for porn when you decide to log on to OnlyFans. As your timeline fills with sexy, naked flesh, you notice a new message in your inbox — it’s a DM from the hot blonde you recently paid $5.99 to subscribe to. “Hey big boy,” she writes. “Wanna sext?” You pay another five bucks to respond to the message and briefly exchange some hardcore dirty talk, dishing out your filthiest lines to impress her.
Except, it might not actually be the blonde you’re talking to. Especially if you’re DM-ing someone with a huge fanbase, there’s a good chance you’re wasting your horny energy on some random person being paid to manage her inbox. Technically, this is against the rules — in OnlyFans’ Terms of Service, there’s a stipulation that creators can’t share their passwords or allow anyone else to use their access. As a result, the creators I spoke to for this piece wanted to remain anonymous — especially as the site has a reputation for randomly shutting down the accounts of sex workers, these behind-the-scenes sexters are kept under wraps.
“Almost every creator that I know uses a management company,” says Lara, the pseudonym of a former sex worker who quit OnlyFans earlier this year to focus on writing. Although most creators are relatively small-fry and therefore can’t take the financial hit of hiring a management team, Lara says it’s rare for top earners to manage their own inboxes. To make serious cash on the site, they need to be “available and online 24/7” to deliver custom videos and chat with fans, as well as to schedule shoots and create enough content to keep up with consumer demands. “Once you get over a certain number of subscribers, it’s an impossible task to handle the messaging alone,” she explains.
That doesn’t mean creators don’t try, though. Sarah is a pseudonymous content creator whose profile ranks in OnlyFans top one percent. She says her paid page gets “easily over 100 messages a day,” but she still manages her account alone with no assistant. Seemingly, she’s the exception to the rule. “It’s very common for top creators to have assistants and sexters,” she says, echoing Lara. “If a creator is in the top one percent or they’re at the top of lists like ‘Hottest MILF’ or ‘Best Blonde,’ they have literal teams that work around the clock — many of which are men.”
Earlier this year, one of these guys made himself known in a Reddit post. “I’m a guy who does account management for girls on OnlyFans,” he wrote. “I literally get paid by dudes to message them back.” The comments of the now-locked thread are filled with doubt, so he offered further explanation. “The first time I started, I made $40 by helping out a friend when we were hanging out, since she had so many guys messaging her,” he said. “I make tips from messaging guys as well, and I get 30 percent from new girls joining the platform.” (He didn’t respond to a request for comment.)
It’s easy to see why this is a service only top-earners can afford. OnlyFans already takes a 20 percent cut of any income from models, so to pay an assistant an additional 30 percent — including a cut of referral fees, as the Reddit guy alludes to — would only be worth it for creators making big bucks.
For those like Lara who take the bait, these big bucks pay off — at least initially. “[Management companies] work hard to maintain your individual voice,” she says, explaining that these services only really emerged around two years ago, when OnlyFans began to soar in popularity. “They used to have you fill out a questionnaire about your personal habits, your birthday, places you want to travel, stuff like that.” As her subscriber base continued to swell, she decided a 30-percent cut was worth the investment. “I saw a huge increase in my sales and my mental health when I was able to just hand the keys over to someone else and only focus on creating the content,” she tells me.
Everything was great — until it wasn’t. As OnlyFans ballooned and more creators signed up to sell their nudes, Lara says management companies got greedy, and the quality of their services began to dwindle. “They took on more and more girls over time, so you might have five different people working your account pretending to be you,” Lara says. Fans would exchange sexts with one anonymous manager on one day, and then a different manager on another day, without any consistency in tone or topic across DMs.
Soon, Lara began to feel guilty, and she worried that her fans would grow suspicious.
“Sometimes, people would reach out to me on other platforms trying to carry on a conversation that had started on OnlyFans, and I’d have no idea what they were talking about or what they’d been told,” she says. “After a while, it started to bother me. It seemed like the people working my accounts had developed intimate relationships with these fans, and I felt bad for the subscribers because it wasn’t me they were talking to.”
There’s another obvious risk, too — if fans do find out they’re talking to an anonymous manager, they can report a creator to OnlyFans. Nobody I spoke to gave an example of this happening, but Lara says it “became obvious to consumers” that she wasn’t helming her own account once the quality of her account management started to go downhill.
Recently, some of these management companies have come to light, and they’re a far cry from scrappy young freelancers like the earlier-mentioned Reddit dude. There’s a whole shadow industry of OnlyFans management companies profiting from top creators, like 1MillionGirls and Unruly Management, the latter of which was recently busted for allegedly ghostwriting OnlyFans DMs for top creators.
It’s easy to search these companies in Google — just type in “OnlyFans management companies” — but the specifics of their services are pretty vague. Because what they do has to be hush-hush, their services are often couched in terms like “customer retention“ and “increased engagement.” They don’t straight-up promise to sweet talk fans in DMs, but it’s implied. One company, EMA, vows that their “‘round-the-clock OnlyFans services” and “hawk-like oversight” ensures success. They also offer “media assistants” and “OnlyFans chatters,” though they don’t specify exactly what that entails.
Some companies just take a cut of models’ profits, but others customize “coaching” guides, which can cost a pretty penny — 1MillionGirls, for example, offers a bumper “gold edition“ package of advice guides for $150. According to Sarah, a handful of top creators make their cash this way too, although she doesn’t name names. “There’s a whole nasty underbelly of top girls who make a lot of money by ‘coaching’ other models,” she says. “It’s a scam, and I suspect some models are making a majority of their money this way.” Lara thinks differently, cautioning that “plenty of these management companies are headed up by men that come from the corporate world. The only difference is that the product is pussy instead of Pepsi.”
There are some actual sex workersworking these kinds of jobs, but plenty of them handle their business independently. Lauren Kiley does admin for sex workers across various platforms, but not on OnlyFans. “My clients were freaked out when the site threatened to cut adult content,” she explains. “Since then, we’ve been investing our efforts into other platforms.” Most of her job includes migrating videos to various different platforms, like IWantClips, JustForFans and Fansly. But although she sends out the occasional newsletter on behalf of clients, she’s never pretended to be a model in their DMs — mainly because she’s a professional sexter herself. “My admin clients don’t want to pay my professional sexting rates because they’d be losing money,” Kiley continues. “Frankly, it’s a poor investment, too — most people who send messages are either regulars who would know if our writing voices suddenly changed, or they’re non-paying time-wasters anyway.”
Sarah also fields plenty of unpaid requests, mainly from guys asking things like, “How’s your day, what are you up to?” Despite clearly stating she’s a solo performer, plenty of guys slide into her DMs to request a “video of [her] being fucked by a real dick,” or they’ll ask for custom photos. “They just want attention,” she tells me. “They’re lonely and I get that, but some of these guys who spend $10 for a whole month of access to hundreds of nude photos think we can chat endlessly with them. If they tip for our time, that’s different, but cheap guys are so annoying — it’s like they think we have nothing better to do.” She could start charging for responses, but doing so risks backlash from stingy subscribers.
Lara concurs, saying the demands of fans can be exhausting. These loyal subscribers are paying creators’ bills, and they don’t let them forget it. “Customers and subscribers will get very angry and upset if creators miss even a day of being online,” Lara continues. “OnlyFans can be really exhausting. When you feel connected to your fans, it can be hard to establish boundaries, which is another reason it’s sometimes easier to delegate the work to someone else that isn’t as invested. Plus, the emotional labor required to engage non-stop with customers — who can be very kind, but also very demanding — can be overwhelming.”
Especially after ditching her management team and going back to handling her account alone, Lara says she began to feel drained by the performative intimacy often expected on OnlyFans. “I started to have ethical concerns about the way the site functions, because it isn’t really selling pornography,” she explains. “It promises proximity to celebrity and a kind of ‘girlfriend experience,’ which blurs a line with people that are really lonely.”
Experiences with “aggressive” or “pushy” fans started to weigh heavy on her mind, but one particular encounter pushed her over the edge. “I remember one day sitting in a park and crying, because a fan got mad at me,“ she recalls. “She accused me of not really being her friend, and of using her for money because I wasn’t returning her messages as fast or enthusiastically as my team had.” That was the day she quit the site. “No amount of money was worth a stranger being able to reach into my real life and ruin my day because I wasn’t jumping to their bids for unrealistic intimacy.”
Porn has always sold a fantasy, but the idea that a $10 monthly subscription entitles you to endless messages from your favorite XXX models is far-fetched, at best. By flooding models’ DMs, these subscribers are actually fucking themselves over — the more creators have to deal with endless inbox admin, the less time they have to get down and dirty on-camera. “I could spend all my time chatting,” concludes Sarah. “But then there’d be no time to shoot photos or make videos.” It’s no surprise, then, that these covert admin types are seemingly so popular — with these faceless responders helming the DMs, models are free to shoot their pics in peace.