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Biting the hand that feeds you

Patreon has since reversed the decision, as reflected in the update at the bottom of this post. Back in October, I wrote about Patreon, and how I enjoy being able to support a few creators of my choosing. That may be about to change, because Patreon are making some pretty obnoxious changes to how they collect pledges. The way it used to be, was that I, as a patron, would be charged the amount of my pledge. Patreon would subtract a portion of the pledge before passing on the rest to the creator(s).

The change they are making, affects creators and patrons differently. From the creators’ perspective, Patreon takes a flat 5% of the pledge, sending on the rest. For patrons, they are adding a fee of 2.9% plus 35 cents per pledge. On the face of it – and the way Patreon are passing it off to creators, it means that creators are getting more money from their patrons, while Patreon are covering their costs. That’s not the whole truth, however.

All of the creators I support charge monthly, meaning that I am charged once for all of my pledges. Most of these pledges are for one dollar. These pledges will now increase to one dollar, one dollar, thirty nine cents. This 39% increase in costs might not seem to be all that much, but it is quite significant all the same.

Don’t get me wrong; if they were to add the 2.9% on top of my pledge, and a transaction fee of 35 cents, that would be fine by me. Adding the transaction fee to each and every pledge, however, is simply nasty, and I fear that it will cost a lot of creators a significant portion of their monthly income.

Again, they bill my paypal account once per month. That should mean one transaction fee per charge, not one per creator.

Update, 13/12/17:

After fairly massive opposition to the change in fee structure, Patreon today announced that:

We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change. […] We still have to fix the problems that those changes addressed, but we’re going to fix them in a different way, and we’re going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around. […] The new payments system disproportionately impacted $1 – $2 patrons. We have to build a better system for them.

By all means, go read the entire post. It seems clear to me that they understand the problems I outline above, and I am happy to see that they listen to the people they serve. I want to reiterate; I don’t have much of a problem with them tacking on a 2.9% service charge, and a transaction fee of 35 cents per transaction. My problem was mainly how they impacted the lower tiers.

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