Remember last week when Patreon announced that it was going to charge processing fees on top of donations, and then backed up that move with the obviously bogus claim that they had to do this so they could collect each donation separately?
They’ve changed their minds. In response to public protests, Patreon announced on its blog:
We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re not going to roll out the changes to our payments system that we announced last week. 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. Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I’m sorry. It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.
For those who missed the story, last week Patreon announced they were going to move the fees they collected on each donation. They were going to stop collecting the fees after a donation, and instead tack them on top of a donation when collecting it.
This means that the most common donation, the $1 pledge, would now cost a supporter $1.39. The second most common pledge ($2) would now cost a supporter. $2.41.
Naturally this caused many supporters to cancel their pledges and support fewer creators. Patreon wanted to discourage the lowest pledge levels, so they got exactly what they wanted.
On the other hand, creators and supporters were pissed. Creators were losing pledges by the dozen, and many ex-supporters said that they canceled because of the fees policy.
Patreon’s new policy was basically their gift to the competition.
It was tantamount to business suicide, and if Patreon had kept it then many creators would have shifted to either collecting donations through Paypal, Gumroad, ko-fi, or another Patreon competitor. (In fact, someone even pulled together a list of Patreon alternatives which goes into detail on the pros and cons of each.)
Patreon did serious damage to their relationships with creators and supporters. We don’t trust them any more, so even though they backed down today a lot of us are going to find other ways to give and get support.