Essentially: Patreon has changed their fee structure, which translates to it costing more to support folks like me; but they also did it in the most disingenuous way possible, which compounded a bad idea into something much worse.
A small disclaimer: I have no real insider information about Patreon's inner workings, so I am working off of logic instead of somebody sneaking me the Big Secrets, but I think I'm onto something here. I should also point out I didn't take any math past 10th grade, and when I can see the shell game, that's a sign it's not that clever a ruse.
Previously, Patreon would charge a fee for, you know, being Patreon; providing the hosting, the user access, and all that. It was 5% of the total income. Kickstarter does the same, so it's not out of the ordinary.
Once a month, they gather up everyone's pledges, extract the money, and then keep it, and then charge me for transferring it from their account to my Paypal account. So I was getting the full amount minus the 5% and minus the transaction fees.
Well, they announced that they're changing it.
Here's what they sent us:
So, there's two specific things about this that are infuriating.
First, it punishes the patrons for supporting us. It especially punishes people who give a small amount, like $1, the folks that are likely doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and just unable to give any more, or who are on the fence with this whole thing and don't see the harm. People who are going to far and away pay the largest percentage. Remember, this is per pledge.
Second, Patreon wrote this note in which creators are asked to be complicit in this lie. They claim this is all fantastic news, when it absolutely isn't, and they want us to pass that lie to you. They even give us a script to tell you why this is great. I can't imagine any of the people I support or really, anybody, agreeing to do that. It's the classic case of making someone lay off a bunch of people before they, themselves, are laid off. It's just got an amazingly ugly tinge to it.
I've been blowing up about this on Twitter and have gotten back some pushback, mostly from people who don't quite understand the evil afoot. That is, they say things like "Well, you see, credit card fees are a thing..." and then give a few special explanations about this concept. What they're missing (because they're not aware) is that these fees were already being taken; just on the back end and not in a way that notably increases the cost to patrons.
This is all pretty obvious, right?
It's about increasing revenue to Patreon in the face of three rounds of Venture Capital raising, to show a way to spike income. By making all the patrons spike contributions, by pulling maximum fees out of them, and by painting it to Creators like they should support this because they see a theoretical increase in income, it's all about getting extra revenue.
As someone who is kind of in the business of watching other business be bad business, the fact they won't come out and say this, and are attempting to make creators team up with them to make it all actually seem like a great idea, I smell this one a mile away.
Already, people are pulling out of funding Patreons, including my own. I don't blame them! If people were supporting dozens of these, they just suffered badly.
So Here's Some Actually Good News.
The podcast has gone really well. Tonight I will drop my 12th episode of it, and that will be 3 months of podcasts. How fast time flies. I've covered so many variant things, and the whole thing has been both fun to do and an enjoyable challenge. I've been paying down debts left and right, and unexpected costs (like the dental work) are not throwing me off balance for weeks. A major difference has been made.
So I want to keep doing these. People who are comfortable paying the fees through Patreon are welcome to. I will continue to post things here.
I will also be setting up with a couple other services to augment this one. Paypal has a subscription button I can generate. There are a number of other services that are rising up that are similar to Patreon that I might sign up with. And with the proof that I can produce a podcast with regularity, I am more comfortable with people switching to a single payment once a month instead of fees coming 4 times a month and then being tacked on at the end, like this dishonest situation has become. I have always run this podcast without locking things down, and I trust you, and I hope I've earned trust that the podcast will come out regularly.
So, however this works out going forward, however Patreon tries to backspin or ultraspin or otherwise jump into this mess and make it even messier, be aware that I intend for the podcast to continue and I will provide you with multiple ways to support me.
Plenty of other folks are stepping forward dunking Patreon for this ridiculous bad move in the face of squeezing some of the most vulnerable people for cash, so I won't keep going in this entry. If you want to read that for days, I'm sure thinkpieces by the bucket are coming.
All I want to do is thank you for how much you've helped so far, and that I will provide you other ways to support this if Patreon is no longer something you can afford. Do not let them use me as bait to keep you here.