Aika Kittie is a self-described “digital dream girl” who posts racy content. If you scroll through her Instagram profile, you’ll find photos of her in bikinis and lingerie at the beach, pool, and in the snow, which she shares with her 67,000 followers.
Aika’s photos are flawless, but in an uncanny way. And if she doesn’t always seem real, well, that’s because she isn’t. Aika is an online avatar made with artificial intelligence.
She’s not alone. Dozens of AI-generated influencers like Aika have recently appeared on social-media platforms, from Instagram to X (formally known as Twitter). Some, like Alexis Ivyedge or Sika Moon, have amassed hundreds of thousands of followers.
And these influencers are not finding success in a vacuum: many are coordinating in online groups. Aika’s creator, for instance, founded an AI community on Discord, “Generative Dreamers,” which counts over 100 popular AI content creators. On Discord — a platform for closed communities where users can chat — the group members share resources to fine-tune their art, and marketing tips to help expand their reach and improve their monetization.
BI spoke with eight creators who run AI influencer accounts about communicating on the Discord community.
“Some of us just want to find a way to make money and some of us are more in an artistic objective,” said the creator behind AI model Aurora Shogun. “It’s a place where we can talk about everything, we have channels to share our pics, talk about manga and anime, gaming, or just talk about our day.”
One of the most active channels in the Discord server is a space for collaborations. Here, creators can share pre-made group pictures of AI-generated characters. Other creators can “claim” their participation in the picture, and substitute the physical features of the characters in the picture with their own. These photos are then posted primarily as “collaborative” posts on Instagram.
“Collaborating is the way to grow a bit more efficiently,” said the creator behind the AI model Kim Ochii. “It helps the most at the beginning to get a bit of reach.”
While the collaborations that originate on Discord are generally free, paid “boosting” opportunities are also gaining traction. In some group chats, small creators can pay to receive support from more popular influencers in growing their audience.
“We charge certain amounts, and then we get them to a certain follower count. For instance, if they’re at 7,000 followers, we’ll try to get them to 10,000,” the creator of Aika said. They added that the growth was “organic,” meaning it was achieved by cross-posting and promoting the account to existing followers — not through bots or “follow-for-follow” schemes.
This method for mutual growth seems to be borrowing a page from the playbook of OnlyFans circles, where paid “promo shoutouts” have become a commonplace way for seasoned creators to monetize by advertising the content of a smaller influencer on their social accounts for a fee.
Adult content is the easiest way for AI creators to monetize, but for many, big bucks are still a pipe dream
While there’s been a lot of talk about AI influencers — such as Aitana — earning thousands of dollars from brand partnerships and fan subscriptions, five of the creators BI spoke with said AI content was hardly a money-making machine. They said they’re still finding their footing and figuring out monetization opportunities.
To increase their earning potential, the vast majority of creators on the Discord server create images of scantily-clad, attractive young women, and even provide not-safe-for-work content on subscription platforms like Fanvue or Patreon — a business model that has proven successful on platforms like OnlyFans (which currently bans AI-generated models).
“Currently this is the only viable way to make money from AI images,” the creator of Iskira said of adult content. “I myself have dabbled in this side of things but I didn’t enjoy doing it, and I hope one day to work with retail and fashion brands, but I don’t see this happening anytime soon, sadly.”
And even with the adult content, success is far from guaranteed.
“I’m not making that much money with it,” the creator behind Kim Ochii said. “If I’m doing 300 or 400 bucks a month, it’s already pretty nice.”
The server members said the mutual support they’d found had been pivotal in continuing to pursue AI content. Kim Ochii’s creator, for example, said the money was not the driving factor behind the content for them.
“It’s because we have such a nice community that is super helpful and super engaging,” they said. “If the community was bad, I would probably already have stopped.”
And while monetization has been off to a slow start, AI creators said they’re here to stay — and several of them hope to eventually move away from adult content.
“I think 2023 was a big year for people to wrap their heads around what is AI,” said the creator of AI influencer Zoe Fox. “2024 is the year that AI is going to take off and our content is going to start being recognized by more people.”
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