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Patreon is changing the way it charges fees, which is causing confusion and consternation amongst creators and their patrons. The new fees mean creators will get a higher percentage of the money pledged. However, patrons will be paying the difference, risking the business model.
For the uninitiated, Patreon is a crowdfunding platform connecting content creators with the public. Members of the public can pledge direct support by means of a regular injection of cash. Some people pledge small amounts to lots of different creators, and that’s now under threat.
Patreon Asks Patrons to Pay More Money
Starting on December 18th, 2017, Patreon is changing the way it charges its service fees. Currently, Patreon takes a 5 percent cut of all pledges, and when processing fees are added on top, creators can lose between 7 percent and 15 percent of the total amount pledged.
Now, Patreon is switching things up by charging patrons a fee of 2.9 percent plus 35 cents of every individual pledge. This ensures creators will get a healthier chunk of the money pledged to them, but also means patrons will be paying more for the privilege of supporting someone.
— Dr. NerdLove (@DrNerdLove) December 7, 2017
Patreon pledges come in all sizes, from large monthly cash injections to small per-post donations. The problem is that thanks to patrons being required to pay 35 cents for every individual pledge the smaller amounts of money will be hit the hardest. Potentially putting patrons off pledging.
Creators are worried that whatever extra cash they could earn from this change will be wiped out by the loss of small monthly pledges. And many of those who rely heavily on the $1-$5 tier are asking Patreon to reconsider its decision. In the meantime December 18th edges ever closer.
Dire Consequences for Creators’ Incomes
This seems like a genuine mistake on the part of Patreon. It has tried to do something to help creators earn more money without thinking through the potential downsides. But for content creators who rely on small donations this could have devastating consequences on their income.
[Update on 12/13: After hearing the feedback from creators, Patreon has decided not to roll out these changes after all. The company has detailed its reasoning, and its plans moving forward, in a blog post titled “We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change.“]
Are you a Patreon creator? Or a Patreon patron? If so, how do you feel about the changes to service fees? Do you think it’s a fairer way of divvying up the charges? Or are you concerned it will cause you to lose low-level supporters? Please let us know in the comments below!