Ways of Making Money on the Internet Through Direct Fan Payments or Through Paywalled Content
If you're an online creator, you have many options to be able to make money through the internet. You can advertise, get sponsorships, or even sell merch. But it's getting more and more popular these days to make money by having people give money to you directly either in exchange for exclusive content, or just to support your livelihood because they like your work. I'd like to highlight the many methods or platforms your fans or followers can use put money directly in your pocket without you having to leave your computer. This page will be updated if any of these platforms change or if new platforms/methods of recieving money directly emerge. If you have any suggestions to add/update/change something here, feel free to contact me. (Last updated 2021-08-20)
Patreon - If you haven't heard of Patreon before, it's basically the most popular recurring donations platform for online creatives. You can set up multiple tiers of donations with different perks for the amount your patrons pledge. For example, a YouTuber can put a donor's name in their videos if the donor pledges like $10. It's possible to post exclusive content (text and images) on Patreon that requires a minimum pledge to be able to see and make comments on. You can also do things like set up a private patrons-only Discord server, or if you know how to code, you can use Patreon's api to make something similar. Patreon can take 5% to 12% of your earnings depending on which options you choose, plus payment processing fees.
PayPal Donations - This is probably one of the oldest ways to recieve donations on the internet. It's super basic, people can donate once, or set it up so that they send you a certain amount of money once a month. Paypal charges some payment processing fees.
Liberapay - This is a basic recurring donations platform. What makes Liberapay interesting is that it's run by a non-profit and its code is open source. Liberapay does not take a cut of your earnings, but you do have to pay payment processing fess.
Subscribestar - This is basically a patreon alternative. Recurring donations, perk tiers, exclusive Discords, and paywalled content. Apparently Subscribestar is popular with a lot of "deplatformed" creators. Subscribestar takes a 5% cut of your earnings plus payment processing fees.
Squarespace Member Areas - If you haven't heard of Squarespace before, it's an all-in-one website hosting platform that handles everything for you: hosting, domain registration, website code, etc. Squarespace has an option for you to set up pages that require someone to pay to be able to view them. It can be a one-time payment, or a recurring payment to be able to view. Squarespace can take 1% to 7% of your earnings depending on which plan you choose.
Flattr - Basic donations platform. People can set up monthly donations or donate once. Flattr takes a 10% cut of your earnings.
Pixiv FANBOX - Pixiv is a Japanese art sharing website similar to Deviantart, and they made a recurring donations platform called FANBOX that is kind of similar to Patreon. You can recieve recurring donations, set up multiple tiers for different perks, and require some minimum pledge to be able to see exclusive content. Fanbox is primarily used by Japanese artists, but non-Japanese creatives are welcome to use it to make money. You can recieve your payouts through PayPal. Fanbox takes a 10% cut of your earnings.
Ko-fi - A donations platform that is popular with artists. People can donate once or make monthly recurring donations. People can donate and write a message that goes on your feed. You can also make exclusive content that requires a monthly donation to see. Ko-fi does not take a cut of your earnings, but you do have to pay payment processing fees.
Buy Me A Coffee - Similar to Ko-fi, but has some differences in features and creators. Buy Me A Coffee takes 5% of your earnings plus payment processing fees.
Steady - A patreon alternative. Takes a 10% cut of your earnings plus payment processing fees.
Anchor Listener Support - Anchor is a podcast editing app and podcasting platform that makes it easy to get your podcast on all of the major podcasting platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. They have a built in recurring donations thing called listener support. Anchor takes a 4.5% cut of your earnings plus payment processing fees.
Supercast - Patreon for podcasters. Allows you to make exclusive podcast episodes or ad-free regular podcast episodes for people who pay. Takes a flat-rate $0.59/month cut per subscriber plus payment processing fees.
Streamlabs - Streamlabs is a platform/software thing that is used by a lot of big and small livestreamers. It has a tip-jar feature that lets you accept donations from people watching your livestreams. And you can make it so that they can add a message to their donation and have it appear on your livestream. Streamlabs does not take a cut of your earnings, but you do have to pay payment processing fees.
Twitch Subs - If you can get into Twitch.tv's affiliate or partner program you can earn money through subscriptions. People who subscribe can get exclusive emotes, no ads, and subscriber badges. Twitch takes 50% cut of subscriptions earnings.
YouTube Channel Memberships - If you manage to get monetization enabled on your YouTube channel, you can enable channel memberships, and you will get a "Join" button next to your subscribe button. Channel members can get exclusive videos, emotes in the comments and in livestream chat, and they get a little subscriber icon next to their name when they comment or chat during livestreams. YouTube takes a 30% cut of membership earnings.
Substack - Substack is a newsletter/blogging platform. You can post stuff there for free, but you can make exclusive posts which require someone to subscribe to see. Substack takes 10% of your earnings plus payment processing fees.
Revue - A Substack alternative that is owned by Twitter. Takes a 5% cut of your earnings plus payment processing fees.
GitHub Sponsors - If you make open source software, you can host your source on GitHub, and have people make recurring donations through GitHub's sponsors program. Github apparently doesn't charge any fees at all, you get all of your earnings.
OnlyFans - A platform where people can subscribe to chat with you and/or see exclusive photos of you. OnlyFans takes a 20% cut of your earnings.
Fanhouse - An OnlyFans alternative. Fanhouse takes a 10% cut of earnings.
Cryptocurrency Donations - You can recieve donations through cryptocurrency if you want to. Either install wallet software on your phone/PC or use an online wallet for whatever cryptocurrency you wish to use. After people send you crypto you can spend it in places that accept cryptocurrency payments, or you can find a platform that let's you exchange crypto for cash.
Payment processor fees depend on the payment processor(s) that your platform uses. For example if your platform uses Stripe, their payment processing fee is 2.9% + $0.30 .