Creator Economy
Google Facebook

TI Creator Economy: A Table of Tipping Take Rates; Cameo Gets a New Rival

Online tipping has quietly exploded over the last two years as social networks try to appeal to creators, who are looking for new ways to make money directly from fans. Our latest chart shows how much these features can vary, particularly in the percentage, or take rate, a technology company gets. 

While a handful such as Clubhouse and Twitter aren’t taking a cut, a few get 20% or more of the transactions, suggesting such fees could be a significant source of revenue for some companies. OnlyFans revenue surged 553% to $391 million last year from its 20% cut of fan tips and subscriptions, although it’s not clear how much tipping contributed to the total. 

YouTube takes a 30% cut when fans buy Super Stickers, or animated images that pop up in livestreams. It recently said more than 10 million people bought one of its fan-focused products last year, including channel memberships and pinning comments in live chats.

But tipping can be inconsistent and unreliable, as some Clubhouse creators told me when its payment feature launched in April. “People are not repeat tipping,” said Jonathan Hyla, a filmmaker with 80,000 Clubhouse followers.  

That’s why some social networks are adding animated features that echo those in video games. Twitch, for example, lets users buy packages of virtual goods called Bits, starting at $1.40 for 100 and rising to $308 for 25,000 Bits, that they can sprinkle in during a livestream to cheer their favorite streamers. 

Facebook has a similar system, where it gives creators one cent per every Star they receive. TikTok also lets fans send virtual gifts, such as a disco ball or confetti, during livestreams. This approach, which aims to make the experience of tipping fun, could lend itself to more frequent activity and revenue than a one-time payment to someone’s Twitter Tip Jar. 

Will any of these efforts be enough to get creators to stick around? Online performers have shown they want the option. Many were already adding their Venmo and Cash App payments details to their social media bios before the platforms added tipping. 

Yet there’s a good chance tipping could remain a fringe activity. For a start, fans in some cases, such as when buying Facebook Stars, have to pay extra to shoulder the 30% fee paid to the Apple and Google app stores unless they buy them on desktop browsers. Patreon, notably, is focused on monthly subscriptions rather than tips, though some creators have found workarounds by setting a price of $1 a month for their Patreon pages.

The more lucrative route is probably to focus on subscriptions like these, says Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, “with users moving to a premium tier to follow the [creators] they like, and the site guaranteeing a minimum.” 

Here’s what else is going on…

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
Q&A Enterprise Amazon
Splunk CEO Merritt Says Cloud Will Soon Be 50% of Its Business, Double From Start of Pandemic
Splunk CEO Doug Merritt. Photo by Bloomberg. Illustration by Mike Sullivan
Splunk CEO Doug Merritt tries not to show it but he’s clearly a little frustrated with Wall Street. The 18-year-old enterprise software company’s stock has dropped 30% since last fall, wiping out all its gains earlier in 2020, even as Splunk’s cloud-based software sales soared thanks to the impact of remote work on corporate software buys. Merritt says cloud software will soon...
Latest Briefs
 
YouTube TV to Drop Price As a Result of NBCU Dispute
EV Company Polestar to Merge with Gores Guggenheim SPAC in $20 Billion Deal
Spotify Kicks off Ad Campaign Targeting Advertisers
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Illustration by Haejin Park
Exclusive Google
How Google Spies on Its Employees
At Google, a seemingly innocuous action can earn an employee the attention of the company’s corporate security department.
Illustration by Josh Brill
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
More Startup CEOs Are Moonlighting as VC Investors
Late last year, Lattice CEO Jack Altman started an unusual side gig for a startup founder: He raised $20 million from investors for a venture capital fund he was launching while continuing to run Lattice, the developer of human resource management software he co-founded six years ago.
The Athletic co-founder Alex Mather with The Information's Jessica Lessin in 2018. Photo by Erin Beach.
Exclusive Media/Telecom
The Athletic Hires LionTree to Find Buyer at Price of More Than $750 Million
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That appears to be the motto of The Athletic in its efforts to sell itself.
Sarah Guo, a general partner at Greylock Partners. Photo by Bloomberg.
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Greylock Raises $500 Million in Battle for Seed Deals
Greylock Partners has raised $500 million to focus exclusively on seed deals, a pool of funds that will give the 56-year-old venture capital firm the ability to write large checks at “lean-in valuations” and emphasize its commitment to early-stage investing, said general partner Sarah Guo.
A high school student works on a laptop computer at home during a remote learning day. Photo by Bloomberg
Exclusive Venture Capital Startups
Online Learning Company Udemy Plans October IPO
Udemy, a San Francisco–based startup that sells online courses to individuals and businesses, is preparing to file paperwork for an initial public offering whose listing could come as soon as next month, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Data Point Startups Markets
What’s Hot and Cold in the SPAC Market
After a frenetic beginning to 2021, the special purpose acquisition company market has cooled off in recent months, with fewer SPACs filing to go public and many pre-deal shares trading below their $10 issue price.