Patreon Changes

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Patreon Changes

Post  Latrans on Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:35 pm

Before I take any actions, I'd like to see a little discussion on how the new fee structure for Patreon affects everybody. I'm particularly curious about how this affects the creators.

From my standpoint as a supporter, I'm rather miffed at the flat $.35 charge per pledge. This makes it prohibitively expensive to "spread out the love" and support multiple artists. According to this article released by Patreon, the idea is to prevent people from ditching on their pledges but also prevent late month pledges from getting a double hit. To do this, they decided to charge every transaction separately, instead of as a single lump at the beginning of the month. Personally, I would have found it much more palatable if they had instead simply changed the "Charge Up Front" from a full pledge to a pro-rate. For per-creation pledges, simply change it to charge any owed pledges upon cancellation.

As for fees, I'm honestly not against shifting the burden to the patrons if I'm given options to minimize them. From what I understand, the lack of clarity on what fees were being charged to creators was a large factor in shifting them to the patrons. The problem is that we're not being given an option to minimize them and, if anything, it seems that they're getting larger and/or more numerous.

And for everybody's peace of mind, if I do bail from Patreon, I'll still be throwing monies in Ms. Natalie's direction... somehow.
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Mr Ed on Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:18 pm

From what I've heard elsewhere, I wonder if it might become worthwhile for authors/artists to just rent a small post-office box and post that address in their comic header. Unfortunately, that would tell people what city, state they live in. Their name could still be anonymous if they can get the po box in the name of their comic.

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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Latrans on Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:53 pm

So here's my final decision: I dropped my support for one creator (she's been gone/inactive/unresponsive for a few months) and bumped my pledge to Ms. Natalie by one tier. She is now my only supported creator on Patreon.

If I end up supporting another creator, it likely won't be through Patreon. If Ms. Natalie chooses to move to another platform, I will be happy to follow. From what I've read, Patreon is doing this to promote a "more funds to fewer creators" thing, likely to both decrease their overhead and increase revenue. I don't see it ending well as this also segregates creators from each other and creates a barrier to new creators joining. There is also the (not insignificant) issue of small pledges becoming prohibitively expensive. A glance at most creators pages shows that the vast majority of supporters are small donators. Put a wall up against that and creators lose a significant amount of support.

In closing, I really think Patreon shot themselves in the foot with this. I'll still support Ms. Natalie, but it's my opinion that researching other alternatives may be a good idea.

Link to Ms. Natalie's post about this issue: https://www.patreon.com/posts/response-to-fee-15790599

Also link to Twitter thread with some interesting links: https://twitter.com/juliedillon/status/939210129261473792

Links from twitter thread:
Initial linked article (June 2017): https://brianbalfour.com/essays/patreon-onboarding-growth
The twitter thread is rather critical of many points in the article.

Upcoming Patreon alternative: https://d.rip/
Owned by Kickstarter. No available information on fees/costs. Also, they NEED a new cover image. Ouch.

Current Patreon alternative: https://liberapay.com/
Supports bank wire transactions which are significantly cheaper than card transactions.

Independent transaction software: https://github.com/sircmpwn/fosspay
If you want to do things yourself. No significant fee reductions from Patreon.
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:51 pm

Thanks for your feedback and links, Latrans. You've been an avid supporter from early on, it means a lot to me you care so much about FE.

You already linked to my thoughts about this change on Patreon, but another aspect of this policy change that I didn't discuss is it's making me study the "Adpocolypse" for Youtube creators a lot more closely. (For those who don't know what the Adpocolypse is, here's a link summarizing events: http://youtube.wikia.com/wiki/YouTube_Adpocalypse)

I see a lot of parallels between Youtube's Adpocalypse and Patreon's fee policy update. Site owners trying to appeal to and incentivize the larger source of revenue, unintentional but impactful ramifications among users, creators looking for alternate sources of income while trying to maintain the audience and communities they've built. The solutions Youtubers have found might be helpful to Patreon users. I mean, except for the Youtubers whose solution was to set up a Patreon account pale
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Latrans on Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:59 pm

No worries, Ms. Natalie. *remembers when FE was still black and white* *turns to other readers?* You durn kids don' know wha's like! Why, back in MY day...

Anyways, found another link:
https://www.makersupport.com/
Patreon alternative. Looks like their fees are significantly lower, also charged to the creator. The site appears to cater to strongly alternatively-minded political bloggers, but I don't see anything barring other content creators from joining.
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Latrans on Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:39 am

In other news... Sweet Jebus! Pretty much every place I've looked charges 2.9%+$.30 per transaction! That includes PayPal and Amazon Pay. I tried to look up what my bank (J.P. Morgan Chase) charges for wire transfers, but someone somewhere forgot to update/include the relevant links. If anything, this demonstrates perfectly why aggregating small payments made Patreon such a strong platform and why switching from that is such a TERRIBLE idea.

To be honest, I hadn't realized just how much of our donations were being eaten by transaction fees. There HAS to be a better way. pale
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Cutekitty on Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:50 pm

I am going to have to peruse this more in-depth at a later date (skimmed the Patreon article & Ms. Natalie's post, need to read the other sources), but in the meantime:

I had no idea those transaction fees were taking a bite out of my donations on Patreon. I am not personally that affected, as Ms. Natalie is the only creator I've been supporting financially (because I a) have only been earning my own bread for 1 and 1/3rd a year, b) prefer to make a concentrated impact instead of spreading out my resources, and c) am... am a frugal miser, let's be honest). Adding that 2.9% + $.35 isn't going to hurt my wallet. I'll stick to my pledge.

But I definitely see how this new fee model negatively impacts those who wish to give a little to a lot of people, or who give a little to one or two because a little is all they can afford. Given the base fee and the for-every-pledge charge, it's bound to discourage droves of small-dollar donors, and I don't like that.
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Ransom on Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:14 pm

So, uh...

Looks like they are walking back the changes and apologizing.

Honestly, I hope people do come back and don't hold this against them too much because this is an example of a company responding to user input and it would be nice if other companies saw that it actually works.
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Re: Patreon Changes

Post  Latrans on Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:27 am

The biggest problem was that they announced the changes mere days before the scheduled roll-out. Had they announced it a month or two in advance, as a "potential change", they would have saved a LOT of face and gauged market reaction better without losing a number of their users.

Again, I'm not against passing the transaction fees onto the patrons (instead of the creators) if it's sensible. A fee for every donation to ever creator every time isn't sensible and I honestly don't see how they thought it was.

On a darker note, I'm a little curious if someone from a bank or two convinced Patreon to start doing individual transactions, as that would have been a LOT of fees revenue.
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Re: Patreon Changes

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