The Behind The Scenes Story of Sharesome.com

My name is Ralf Kappe. I have been working in tech for more than 20 years and I am a founder. I have a dream: I want to change the way NSFW content creators and artists make a living, by building a social media platform that works for them and helps them generate an income. Here is my story.

Every natural product development process starts with a problem. As awkward it sounds, the bigger the problem is, the better it is for the product you want to develop. At the end of the day, a solution that provides real value is the reason why people will use your product.

I personally know a lot of sex workers and their stories. One of our co-founders at Sharesome, Tam Tam is a former sex worker who can share a lot of experiences about the challenges you face, making a living from the work you do. Not all sex workers are the same, the working areas are broad and the job is not defined by gender or sexual orientation. Some work as erotic dancers, or as webcam girls, models, porn actors, phone sex operators, escorts, sex toy testers, adult talent managers, photographers, and so on.

Sex work is work. I simply want to go from there. I want to leave out the part where I point out that sex workers are stigmatized and marginalized for what they do. I want to focus on the economic reality that sex workers are facing from the moment they start selling their products or services, and compare this situation with the reality of people who work in a mainstream market.

Let’s start with the common ground, not the differences. Reality in our days is that eCommerce beats retail market. Online is better than offline. Internet sites work better than printed catalogs. Well, I am not telling you a secret here. Only laggards still go to Blockbuster to rent DVDs and don’t have a Netflix or HBO subscription. And it’s the same for the adult industry, their only distribution channel is online and subscription based, and they started that way earlier than Netflix or HBO. If you want to start a small business and sell handmade socks, you don’t walk every week with your sales booth to the farmer’s market, you sell your socks out of your garage on market places like Amazon or Etsy. Again, same for sex workers. Thanks to digital cameras and affordable editing tools, they can sell their “handmade” porn clips on clip stores like ManyVids or Clips4Sale. So far, so good.

The inequality starts with the customer acquisition process. The movie industry spends way more money online then in any other sales channel. And they use social media to penetrate the market.

Also our “handmade socks producer” will spend their advertising budget on Facebook and will not run around in the neighborhood, distributing flyers into people’s mailboxes. No matter how small or big your budget is, you can spend it with good results on social media sites and build your audience from scratch.

Sex workers, on the other side, are cut off from this possibility to present themselves and to advertise their products and services on social media. Facebook, Instagram and (now) Tumblr force sex workers off their platforms into a eCommerce no man’s land. Social media and eCommerce are interlocked. If you take this away from every sex worker, especially from adult content creators, you basically take away the only possible way for affordable customer acquisition. They can only dispose flyers in mailboxes. At least that.

After we spotted the problem, we knew that we need to change the way NSFW content creators and artists make a living and build a NSFW social media site. Disposing flyers in mailboxes is not an option.

And so in 2017, my co-founder Tam Tam and I started looking for a team that would help us build a NSFW social media platform to fill the gap. Soon, we met our third co-founder, Tudor Bold, who is now the CEO of a team of 20+ people that joined afterwards step by step.

On the way, the team checked out the market and assessed possible competitors. The only things we found where sites that were built around certain communities like Fetlife for BDSM, or Romeo, a social network for gay, bisexual and transgender people. We found Tube-sites like Pornhub and XHamster with build-in community features. And we found a lot of dating sites and services, Tinders and Grindrs wherever you look.

And there is still Twitter and Reddit, at least until they ban NSFW content from their networks. The clock is ticking.

None of these products would fit our vision of a NSFW social media site:

  • It has to be open and inviting for literally everyone, for diverse communities like sex workers, NSFW artists or the LGBTQ+ community. (Ok, not for Nazis, white supremacists and other people with hate in their heart. Hate is the one thing we just won’t promote.)
  • It has to be built with the community in mind and the desire to be a positive place for this community.
  • It has to be a place where content creators can build a fan base and send traffic to their pay sites and cam sites. They have to be able to use the site for customer acquisition.
  • It has to be built with state-of-the-art technology and a design that meets the standards of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
  • It has to be a progressive web app, so it can be installed on the start screen of every mobile device and “look and feel” like an app, as the App Store and Play Store would never list a NSFW application.

In January 2018 we launched the first MVP (Minimum Viable Product) version of Sharesome.com (that we re-branded from our early stage version Pornfyre.com which was launched launched in February 2017) and we started to learn. Our plan was to stay under the radar for a while, build the site in stealth mode and on-board the community slowly and steadily over the course of the next 2 years.

In April 2018 we decided to integrate a native crypto currency into Sharesome, our Flame Token (XFL). What we basically do is to bring social media to porn, and crypto to social media. The Flame Token (XFL) ensures that we are able to monetize the platform. Someone has to pay the server bills and salaries at the end of the day.

The Token works like this:

  • Users can buy Flame Token (XFL) on Sharesome for $0.05 per XFL.
  • Users tip content creators on Sharesome for their content.
  • Content creators can spend Flame Token to buy “Sponsored Posts”.

At the beginning of December 2018, just a few weeks ago, we decided to start a Token Airdrop and give away 525,000,000 XFL on our website flametoken.io for free to create buzz in the crypto and tech community.

From here on, the story goes wild!

Before even being publicly announced, our Flame Token (XFL) airdrop took off as soon as we activated the airdrop on our website. During the first 48h during the weekend, over 150,000 people signed up to the airdrop and 23,000 people joined the Telegram group, already turning this into one of the biggest airdrops in history by number of participants. As of today (12.11.2018) more than 360,000 people signed up and almost 30,000 joined Telegram. This means that in just a few days, we’ve generated a future market with 360,000 Token holders already. And because the tokens where exhausted in less than 3 days, we doubled the initial amount to 1,050,000,000 XFL.

Our team of 20+ people that we have in the organization, already being in holiday mood, got hit by a train. Holidays got canceled, night-shifts are normal standard and weekends are gone. Bye, bye, dear Rudy the Reindeer…

As the campaign went viral and the first media outlets started to recognize us, the story swapped over to the NSFW social media integration of XFL and also signups on Sharesome.com were skyrocketing. The goal we had for on-boarding one million active users is happening way earlier than expected.

And as things couldn’t get worse regarding our personal work-life balance, the overlords at Tumblr decided to ban porn! Now the “hit by the train” gets combined with an earthquake magnitude 8 or higher. We currently on-board thousands of content creators and tens of thousands of users. We serve hundreds of thousands of page views per day.

As reality sinks in, we ask ourselves the following question: “Can we do this?” and the answer is “Yes!”, because we will follow the same rules as before:

  • We acknowledge that people make the difference. We believe in people and their dreams.
  • We do what we say we will do. We want people to be inspired by working with us.
  • We do the right thing. We create a positive impact on the NSFW community.
  • We put others first. We are kind, attentive, and courteous to everyone who comes across. (Besides Nazis and whi…, but I mentioned that before.)
  • We listen. We don’t have all the answers.
  • We are human. We make mistakes and learn from them.

Right now we are in the process of hiring more people: Developers, content reviewers and community managers. We also focus on managing the most luxurious problem a startup can have: Massive growth!

The biggest challenges we are facing right now are:

  1. Sharesome.com doesn’t meet our standards regarding speed and stability. The site wasn’t prepared for the amount of users and load we have to handle right now.
    Our developers are working day and night to fix this. Bear with us. There is light at the end of the tunnel.[Update from 12.16.2018: We deployed a new version that makes the site way faster. We continue to work on more optimizations. Stay tuned!]
  2. We can not properly communicate with you, the people that populate Sharesome.com right now. The reason is that the Personal Messenger that the site would need right now was planned for release in April 2019.
    We are preparing a quick fix where we make an e-mail address mandatory for all Verified Accounts (Verified User, Verified Brand, Verified Star and Verified Manager), so we can reach out to all content creators at least by e-mail.
  3. Up until now, we only focused on straight content to keep things simple. Now that the LGBTQ+ community is moving into the hood, things are starting to get queer, and we love it and welcome you with open arms. At the moment, straight guys see gay guys in action, lesbians see straight couples, and as much as we wish that we all could learn from each other, we need to let the people decide what the want to see and what not.
    We are working on a hot fix that will bring a content filter to the site. That doesn’t mean that we will filter stuff for you, it means that you can interact with the content on Sharesome.com in whatever way you want.
    We will also moderate in future all “Sponsored Posts” as they are delivered to a huge number of users.

 

The best way to communicate with us right now is to follow on Sharesome.com our Support Account:

https://sharesome.com/support/

…and our Ideas Topic:

https://sharesome.com/topic/ideasforsharesome/

… and e-mail: support@sharesome.com

We are here to grow and learn together. Right now, this project is still in its early days, but we can grow it into a kind, open minded, all inclusive lover of freedom! And you people on Sharesome? Well you guys are this project’s heart and soul now.

Come join this beautiful love affair.

Did we say we love you? Cause we do. We hella love you.