For the second time in two weeks, Patreon is in the news once more — this time to make a public apology to creators and patrons alike, and to do a 180° about face on their equally abrupt fee change that was supposed to have gone into effect on December 18. Here’s the full text of the announcement, posted by Jack Conte of Patreon:
Creators and Patrons,
We’ve heard you loud and clear. We’re not going to rollout 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.
I’ve spent hours and hours on the phone with creators, and so has the Patreon team. Your feedback has been crystal clear:
- The new payments system disproportionately impacted $1 – $2 patrons. We have to build a better system for them.
- Aggregation is highly-valued, and we underestimated that.
- Fundamentally, creators should own the business decisions with their fans, not Patreon. We overstepped our bounds and injected ourselves into that relationship, against our core belief as a business.
We recognize that we need to be better at involving you more deeply and earlier in these kinds of decisions and product changes. Additionally, we need to give you a more flexible product and platform to allow you to own the way you run your memberships.
I know it will take a long time for us to earn back your trust. But we are utterly devoted to your success and to getting you sustainable, reliable income for being a creator. We will work harder than ever to build you tools, functionality, and income, and our team won’t rest until Patreon is making that happen.
If you haven’t sent us a note yet, or if you don’t see your concerns listed above, please leave us your feedback here.
Thanks for continuing to create. We are nothing without you, and we know that.
The presumption at this point is that the transaction fees will be rolled into the deductions Patreon is already making from the creator’s share. Though in their previous public statements they say that the transaction fees could vary between 2-10%, it’s obviously possible to stabilize these payments to make what the creators receive a more predictable amount each month. Their first idea, though, wasn’t exactly a winner. When last week’s notices went out to patrons via email, creators were blindsided, and the reaction from the patrons was immediate and acrid.
Apparently what Patreon is taking it in the shorts on is the per-patron transaction fees, which aren’t expressly addressed in the current scheme. The short path to fixing this was wildly unpopular, to the point where creators were shutting down their accounts, and patrons were leaving in significant numbers. The damage to the campaigns of creators, in some cases, may be irreversible.
Patreon is like SCIFI.radio in that they have managed to capture lightning in a bottle. Even small things can upset the balance, and this unannounced fee would have been seismic in scope. Many creators we personally know lost a substantial portion of their Patreon pledges over this; if you were a patron of one or more Patreon creators, now is the time to go back and find all those creators and reaffirm your support.
SCIFI.radio supports a few deserving creators ourselves, including The Library Bards, Adventure Theater, Shane Plays, MarkWho42 and others. Every one of these fine creators deserves to be able to support themselves while they create all these wonderful things for you, and it would be a shame for something like this to kneecap them when they needed our support most.
SCIFI.radio’s own Patreon campaign, along with that of many other creators, was negatively affected and lost patronage in the $1-$10 range because of last week’s announcement. It is our hope that, now that Patreon has reversed course on this important issue, that those patrons will see their way clear to rejoin us, and that new patrons will see this as an open invitation to become new additions to the SCIFI.radio family of listeners.
SCIFI.radio is listener supported sci-fi geek culture radio, and operates almost exclusively via the generous contributions of our fans via our Patreon campaign. If you like, you can also use our tip jar and send us a little something to help support the many fine creatives that make this station possible.