Patreon service fee, your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Comic Discussion' started by JamieMe, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. JamieMe

    JamieMe Administrator Staff Member

    Patreon are set to change how the service works, and they'll be adding a fee that is charged to the patrons. Here is what they had to say on their site:

    "With this update, creators will now take home exactly 95% of every pledge with no additional fees.

    In the past, a creator’s income on Patreon varied because of processing fees every month. They could lose anywhere from 7-15% of their earnings to these fees. This means creators actually took home a lower percentage of pledges than their patrons may have realized.

    A new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 will be paid by patrons for each individual pledge starting on December 18th. This restructuring allows creators to take home a greater portion of their earnings, which is core to our mission of getting creators paid."
  2. Izagar

    Izagar Blue Belt

    It's gonna kill the $1 pledge tier, so I heard. So some folks are actually gonna lose money.
  3. ShaneWSmith

    ShaneWSmith 4-Stripe White Belt

    I am concerned about this. I was planning to launch in January with a page heavily centred around encouraging $1 pledges. I've been working on this for months - hundreds of hours at least. And now the launch just got twice as hard, and will probably not get the traction I'd counted on. Really bummed out.

    Also, as a multi-page patron, I'm considering pulling some support for a few of the pages I support. A 40% increase in monthly payments is a deal-breaker, unfortunately.

    Roll on, Drip. Might be moving all my plans over there come 2018.
    Whitherling likes this.
  4. Captain Ufo

    Captain Ufo White Belt

    Feels troubling. I had plans to launch my own Patreon page in 2018 as well. I wasn't expecting to make much out of it, but with this change there's a significant chance that I make exactly 0. It's not as if my series is massively popular.

    One wonders why everything on internet has to turn into crap after a mere few years. YouTube, Steam, Tapas, now Patreon...
    Shaneoid likes this.
  5. SpaceTurtleArt

    SpaceTurtleArt Blue Belt

    It's gonna kill the $1 pledges, and for no good reason. It's not even about credit card processing fees-- if you make 30 $1 pledges, your credit card is only charged once for $30, so adding a 38c fee to each dollar, for a total of $11.40 extra charged to patrons, is ridiculous.

    If Patreon needs more money, they could raise their percentage from 5% to 7% or something. Creators can budget for that-- and we can expense the fees out on our taxes anyway. Patrons just have to pay extra for no reason this way.

    I signed up to get notified when drip goes public, and I'll be looking into alternatives until then. I only have 1 patron currently, so there's no real reason not to move. It's not like Patreon's UI is even that good.
    Shanny8, Funari and Shaneoid like this.
  6. Shaneoid

    Shaneoid Purple Belt

    I read somewhere there's a new Patreon-type site on the horizon, and Kicstarter will be starting something similar, so perhaps once they gain traction, Patreon will either revert back to a previous state or lose custom all together.
  7. Funari

    Funari 4-Stripe White Belt

    Definitely affecting those that pledge multiple creators with less than $5/mo. Anything above that and the fee won't affect one that much, but when 1 $10 pledge will be something like 10.50-ish but 10 $1 pledges will be $13...there is a huge bias there.
  8. Izagar

    Izagar Blue Belt


    RIP per creation people.
  9. djwaglmuffin

    djwaglmuffin White Belt

    Also RIP low tier.

    Some people really can't afford more than a few bucks a month for content.
    Izagar and midlandiania like this.
  10. Shanny8

    Shanny8 Blue Belt

    Same here @SpaceTurtleArt- right now I only have 1 patron. I signed up for Drip notification as well...

    This tweet that I saw earlier today from @Freya really resonated with me:

    "I'm just so tired. Every time some viable way of making it appears it gets shot down just as I start to get some hope towards actually reaching it. It's like some big shiny prize dangled in front of your nose that gets snatched away at the last minute, every time -_-"

    that's the way I've been feeling ever since I started doing my webcomic. First it was Tapas canning their Patreon program when I first got on the site(around Dec 2015/Jan 2016); Webtoon's Patreon program seems like it's out of reach right now, and now just when I'm trying to figure how to navigate and setup Patreon to work for me, they change policies which turns away patrons...seriously, WTF?
  11. Captain Ufo

    Captain Ufo White Belt

    Yeah, pretty much the same. I started on Facebook just as they introduced their algorithm and changed the rules so that being subscribed to a page doesn't actually mean that you what's going on there, thus making it almost impossible to gain traction there unless you go for easy viral crap. I expanded to a minor local platform just as it's management team started the transition to classic printed media and started neglecting the online side. Then I opened on Tapas exactly the day they posted the announcement that the tipping system was gone. I approached Twitter right when someone figured out how to use retweeting bots to promote their porn sites rather than scifi/fantasy/comics news and now they're gone. Now Patreon kills the low tier donations and therefore the low attraction authors.

    I'm pretty sure that something will fill the gap if enough people leave the platform, but in the meantime I fell like I'm always arriving the moment the party ends.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
    djwaglmuffin likes this.
  12. midlandiania

    midlandiania Blue Belt

    I don't think I would ever realistically hope to have a Patreon. I would possibly consider giving patronage to a creator at some point in the future.

    If I ever did, it would almost certainly be a very small tier pledge for quite a few reasons:

    • I do not currently earn much so I don't have much disposable income
    • Some months a big bill (or something) leaves me struggling to last the month - my finances are just not that regular, and I'm not great with money
    • I would be likely to have to cancel a pledge at short notice, and the loss of a smaller pledge would not be so upsetting to a creator (financially or emotionally)
    • I don't want to put pressure on somebody to create little extras to keep me happy. I would want to think that patronage would mean freedom for the creator to 'follow their arrow' (to borrow from Kacey Musgraves) - i.e. I would want the creator to focus on their webcomic or other major project, rather than divert time and energy into constantly revealing their private sketches, creating patron exclusive content or adding a cameo of me into their work. I literally wouldn't want them to do anything for me other than to keep doing what they do.
    Some of this reminds me of tipping in restaurants - some places have horrid policies where tips end up going to the restaurant rather than the waiting (or kitchen) staff. (some of you may respond to this by saying that tipping should not exist at all because restaurants should pay a fair wage, kitchen staff do not tend to get a fair share, and good service should come as standard - but NOBODY likes the idea that the tips go to the house)

    Ah... I do wish we lived somewhere like The Big Rock Candy Mountains where 'they hung the jerk who invented work' and 'handouts grow on bushes' etc.

    It also makes me think of Morrissey making an unlikely appearance on a vapid magazine/chat show. The presenters are speaking to someone about the politcs/economics of welfare and benefits, where there seemed to be some sort of unspoken consent in the room that everybody there had got where they are through hard work and that work is axoiomatically good for you... then they ask Morrissey what he thinks. He simply says 'people shouldn't work' - the room doesn't understand him, and all jaws have dropped. They ask him what on earth people would do if they didn't work. He suggests they might paint, or read a book, maybe write poems. The room still doesn't get it.

    I guess I'm a bit of a dreamer, and I'm always openly admitting that I have a big Walter Mitty complex. Some of you out there probably like the idea of being an entrepreneur of some sort and might (probably rightly) dismiss me as an idiot who lives in cloud cookoo land.

    However, I am interested in the idea of a Universal Minimum Income, which I understand Finland and Switzerland have been experimenting with. The idea is that instead of having unemployment benefits, you pay EVERYBODY the minimum you need to survive. This means that people don't get stuck doing dead-end low pay jobs, and can instead choose to do something better, like write a novel, run a webcomic, make knitted teacosies to sell on Etsy, or to re-train or develop new skills. There's so much in the media about skills shortages and underproductivity in the UK economy - and it is because the economy has become based on low skill, low income, low job security work. Of course, things like waiting tables and Patreon would still exist to boost that basic income, but everyone would have a better chance at unleashing their innate creative and entrepreneurial sides with that basic income behind them. What would disappear would be the reliance on the whims of patrons (or Patreon), or having to answer to the job centre (etc).

    To paraphrase Taylor Swift: Creators gonna create create create (!)
  13. JamieMe

    JamieMe Administrator Staff Member

    More details:

    Question asked on Twitter:

    Hey @Patreon, quick question: I’m a creator and I support multiple folks, which means I pay them out of my Patreon income—money that’s already been processed. Will I have to pay fees on those pledges again even though the money’s already in your system?

    Someone answered from Patreon:

    Shaneoid likes this.
  14. Screaming Rat

    Screaming Rat 4-Stripe White Belt

    This seems like a bad move from patreon, and it's a blatant cash grab which sucks but at the moment I'm mostly concerned about the knee jerk reaction from the community that seems to suddenly be condemning patreon completely. Crappy new fee structure or no, the money creators make from patreon can be invaluable and this sudden exodus is going to hit creators more than it'll even touch patreon's profits.
    Shaneoid likes this.
  15. SpaceTurtleArt

    SpaceTurtleArt Blue Belt

    So, Patreon has updated their info, and it seems like the reason for all the extra charges is that they're moving from charging people once at the beginning of the month to rolling subscription charges whenever you made the pledge. So if you made pledges on the 2nd, 5th, and 12th of the month to 3 diff creators, you'll get charged for those pledges separately on those days. Which, yeah, is gonna create a lot of extra cc charges to offset. This is theoretically supposed to fix people abusing the system by pledging, seeing the content, then cancelling before they're charged.

    So, not a cash grab I guess. BUT:
    1) why not just tell us that in the first place?
    2) this still kills low level pledges
    3) makes things much more chaotic for creators sending out rewards
    4) is REALLY poorly timed with the announcment days before release, in the middle of holiday shopping when everyone's budget is already strained.
    5) seems like there are better fixes possible
    Shaneoid likes this.
  16. Arledge Comics

    Arledge Comics 4-Stripe White Belt

    This is was ultimately drove me to leave. I invested half my Patreon income into other creators. Before the change, I was allowed to leave my funds on Patreon, and they'd take my pledges out of what I made. Now they want to take directly from my pocket - charging me a processing fee.

    Paypal figured it out. If you have a balance, there's no additional cost for transferring to friends/family - though there's a processing fee for doing so from a card. THIS business model makes sense.

    But not letting us spend our Patreon balance on other creators? That's poorly thought out.

    I nixed my Patreon account this morning.
  17. Shanny8

    Shanny8 Blue Belt

    Not to mention this tweet popped up- from a quote from an article in relation to Patreon:

    "From Patreon: 'We'd rather have our GMV be made up of fewer, but truly life-changed creators rather than a lot of creators making a few dollars.' Well that tells me all I need to know about how much they actually care abt creators"

    The full article is here: - but that does more or less kind of say that they're not interested in creators coming to their platform and building an audience; they want you to already have an audience in place- one that they can make money off of.
  18. Shaneoid

    Shaneoid Purple Belt

    THAT is shocking!
  19. midlandiania

    midlandiania Blue Belt

    @Shanny8 - in addition to what I had said before about a hypothetical future scenario where I might consider pledging, it would only ever be for a creator who isn't making much - once I could see they were doing ok, I would stop (unless I was suddenly earning a LOT more than I am now). Part of me thinks that Patreon (and sometimes Kickstarter) shouldn't really be for people with an established fanbase; people like that should move on to established publishers, perhaps, and allow others to come along in their wake?

    @Arledge Comics - I've often wondered about the idea that people would pass their Patreon funds on to others. I swear I have seen people on Twitter find each other, the first says 'I've just pledged $2 a month on your Patreon' to which the other responds 'I am now backing you for $2 a month in return'. I wonder if that sort of arrangement would be more than the zero sum an accountant would see it as.
    Shaneoid likes this.
  20. midlandiania

    midlandiania Blue Belt

    OCTRTA pitch:

    Malcolm McDowell to play a cyberpunk from the future. He teams up with Jet from Gladiators, and also Chris Eubank.

    Page ONE:

    Chris Eubank visits the CEO of Patreon in his/her sleep, and shows him/her how creators used to struggle to balance paying the bills, and finding the time for creative work when all their energy in wasted on jobs they don't care about. The CEO looks smug, and says 'yes, we fixed that'. [Depict various jobs within the setting of a youth hostel - cleaning, doing the laundry, receptionist, serving food/coffee/alcohol.]

    Page TWO:

    Jet from Gladiators takes the CEO to a barn dance at Yeovil aerodrome. Be sure to depict it as properly policed, so that it does not turn into a rave. At the barn dance, comic creators are discussing proposed changes to Patreon charges, and how they are all leaving the site, possibly to go over to 'Drip'. The CEO shrugs shoulders.

    Page THREE:

    Malcolm McDowell shows the CEO a dystopian future - that is, for the CEO, who in this future is the only beggar in an otherwise prosperous futuristic city. Everybody else is merrily working away on comic projects on laptops, graphics tablets, notepads etc whilst drinking coffee on cafe terraces. The CEO grabs a newspaper from the stands (McDowell breaks the fourth wall and says that hipsters of the future love printed newspapers) - it is the Financial Times. Headlines: Comicbookhour Press/Patronage Website now world's most successful company. CEO visibly upset.

    Page FOUR:

    CEO wakes, repents, revises/repeals the changes, pledges a Goose to TinyTimComics' Patreon. TinyTimComics emails to thank his new patron, saying 'Gawd bless us indiecomic creators, every one!'

    BUT THEN! - Malcolm McDowell comes back from the future, and explains that they made a mistake, because now that they have fixed Patreon, the prosperous future city full of happy comic creators doesn't happen...

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