OK, I don’t often talk about questionable business practices here at Welcome to Bridgetown, but a hell of a lot of webcomic artists and writers I follow are *NOT* happy with Patreon right now, and neither am I.
In short: They’ve rearranged their payment fee policy so that instead of taking a percentage cut out of the creators’ payout [I should add that the creators are OK with that part. Think of it as the publisher taking their usual cut from your just-released book.], they are now taking it out of the donors’ payment.
And I quote, from their recent email to creators and donors:
“Starting December 18th, we will apply a new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 that patrons will pay for each individual pledge. This service fee helps keep Patreon up and running.”
This is under the guise that it’ll standardize payouts for the creator. Which is NOT a thing any creator actually asked for. They state they ran a poll recently about it, but to my knowledge, I have not heard of any creator actually taking part in it.
This means that for those of you barely scraping by but still wanting to give money to your favorite artist or writer, Your $1 donation per month is now $1.37 per month.
As you can imagine, this adds up. Already we’re seeing $1 donors saying “fuck this” and deleting their payments. We’re already seeing artists and writers think about moving to new donation sites. [Kickstarter currently has one in beta, I believe called Drip, that may start next year that many may be flocking to.]
So what’s my part in this?
Well. I’m okay funds-wise so I’m willing to have the payments go up slightly. The artists and writers I donate to are worth it. So I’m not going to say ‘boycott’ because that won’t work.
No, I want y’all to do something else.
I want you all to be the biggest pains in the ass and email Patreon, @ them on Twitter and on FB, whatever, and make a lot of noise to have them turn this Really Bad Idea around and come up with something else.
Look, I get that Patreon needs to make money too. But this ain’t the way to go about it.
And for the record, here’s the email that creators and donors received recently,l, minus the ‘we’re a nifty company’ spiel at the end.
Your support is truly changing the lives of creators around the world. You give creators a reliable paycheck that enables them to do their best work. Thank you thank you thank you.
In order to continue our mission of funding the creative class, we’re always looking for ways to do what’s best for our creators. With that, we’re writing to tell you of a change we’re making so that all Patreon creators take home exactly 95% of every pledge, with no additional fees.
Aside from Patreon’s existing 5% fee, a creator’s income on Patreon varies because of processing fees every month. They can lose anywhere from 7-15% of their earnings to these fees. This means creators actually take home a lower percentage of your pledge than you may realize. Our goal is to make creators’ paychecks as predictable as possible, so we’re restructuring how these fees are paid.
Starting December 18th, we will apply a new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 that patrons will pay for each individual pledge. This service fee helps keep Patreon up and running.”