Building The First Sex Worker Owned and Operated Platform Cooperative For Adult Creators
“A platform cooperative, or platform co-op, is a cooperatively owned, democratically governed business that establishes a computing platform, and uses a website, mobile app or a protocol to facilitate the sale of goods and services. Platform cooperatives are an alternative to venture capital-funded platforms insofar as they are owned and governed by those who depend on them most—workers, users, and other relevant stakeholders.”From “Platform Cooperative,” Wikipedia
What does this look like for Peep.me?
For us it started with a founding team, made up primarily of current and former Sex Workers and sprinkled with some industry veterans, followed by a profit sharing model with our Creators which starts at 20% and grows incrementally over time. Next is a financial model that has tithing built in with 10% of our profits going to sex-work-led non-profits. And then, a pro-sex-work-by-design purpose, which ensures our Creators are at the front of everything we do.
But it’s not going to stop there. It’s a succession plan, to prevent the sale of Peep.me to outsiders and ensure that, over time, governance and ownership will be handed over to the people that give our platform life: our Creators.
The details of how all of this will roll out are still being unpacked and sorted. But we’re committed to doing the work, so it is woven into our purpose now and codified into our operations at launch.
What we are doing right now…
We are exploring steward ownership, which gives us the option of transferring moving our company into a trust, overseen by a steward, which carries out the decisions of a Board of democratically-appointed members from within the platform stakeholder groups (Creators, Company, Contributors), with the profits from the Trust being reinvested back into the business, distributed across the stakeholders within those groups, and / or given to charity.
We are also starting to figure out how to integrate the necessary governance infrastructure, to ensure a smoother transition into cooperative governance. Right now, we’re looking at solutions like Loomio.org.
And we’re not alone! We’ve joined the Zebras Unite network representing thousands of projects, and founders exploring the same path and we are also taking part in an E2C Peer Cohort to learn from others doing the same.
We also recently connected with Austin from Ampled. Ampled is doing for musicians what Peep.me wants to do for sex wokers, so with their blessing, we are in the process of pouring over their co-op documents, and will likely use them as the foundation for ours.
What do you think? We would love to hear from you. Is a platform co-op something you would support? Does “Exit to Community” excite you? Give us feedback.
In the weeks and months to come, as we move closer to launch and beyond, we will be talking more about platform cooperativism and how Peep.me plans to Exit To Community, and all of the ways you can get involved.
Side note: Of course, we’re also building a feature-rich platform for you to showcase your sexy.
For now, ask yourself: “Would you rather be a user or an owner?”