Patreon can go away.

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  • Hi @Gordon,

    In response to Patreon's shameless cash grab, I'm going to close my account with them. Have you a preferred alternative platform for pledging support?


  • ...details? ...% what @Gordon really get's vs. what get-rich-scam does without doing much? --- then I have to reconsider as well... may be we have to setup a even a tax-excempt (501(c)(3)) -
    EDUCATIONAL - US org.... ;) - Must be very serious that you go into away language. Does look really different from JS...


    It's particularly frustrating - I and I think most other people on Patreon knew there was that charge that came out of what I got after people donated. It's just what happens.

    What they've done is just (quite rightly) going to annoy Patreons to the point of leaving, and actually makes very little difference to the overall figure. It's like the pointless change of logo that required everyone to change all their stuff - I don't know who is in charge of Patreon but they're doing a horrible job.

    And don't get me started on the $0.35 processing charge - presumably if you support multiple people then Patreon take one payment for all of them so there's just a single $0.35 charge - and then they just pocket the rest!

    Honestly, at the moment it's just the PayPal donations - those could be an option? There's an option for recurring payments there - but it's not like there'll be anything like the specific news feed that Patreon had.

  • To be honest I care less about the actual money as the underhanded and stupid way Patreon have done it. Rather than sending each individual customer an email (or link) saying "You currently pay this much and your creators get this much; now you will pay this much and your creators will get this much", they've tried to spin it as a tiny change that's good for everyone involved.

    It's not clear yet but it's possible this is not just a shameless cash grab and is either something Patreon are forced to do or that there's a hidden subtlety that does actually make this better than it sounds. Even so, I don't reward companies that shoot themselves in the foot with opaque misleading communications.

    I honestly don't understand why Patreon needs so many millions in VC funding, for example. Could such a system not be funded purely by equitable transparent fees -- or even with a crowdfunded operation themselves -- in a Community Interest Company / Social Benefit Corporation that limits shareholder return? Why does everything need to be in pursuit of maximum profit, rather than covering costs and making a modest profit?


    It looks like this is an ongoing developing story, so I'll wait until the dust settles before I pull the plug on Patreon. I have a feeling a competitor will rise as their logical alternative, the beneficiary of Patreon's hubris.

  • I honestly don't understand why Patreon needs so many millions in VC funding

    Don't get me started... My feeling is Patreon may have done well because they could afford to pay a marketing team to get the word out. I'm sure there were (and are) better platforms out there that just haven't got the exposure. Someone mentioned on

    Unless I'm missing something it seems relatively easy to knock up the actual tech side of things - it's just building the business... But seeing how self-destructive Patreon are being now it's hard to imagine they got where they are through well thought out business decisions :)

    It looks like this is an ongoing developing story, so I'll wait until the dust settles before I pull the plug on Patreon.

    Thanks! There are at least two Patreons who haven't waited though, and I'm sure there will be more - hopefully Patreon will do something to make this up to everyone, but I'm not optimistic.

  • I was a bit less patient and had pulled up the page... just stopped on the eagle dive hitting the 'Cancel Pledge' button... or fish. My thought is: is the 'added on' service - Mehrwert - that Patreon provides for you @Gordon worth the fee(s)?

    To me it looks just like a 'collector' service - already a third party - using another third-party for fulfillment... being the top middle men / man in the chain yield them the most, because % wise it add the % off all the other that actually contribute something... Reading the post, it makes me now even 'read' that @Gordon is charging me... that's probably the most nice twist in the story...

    Thinking about the creation pattern @Gordon adheres to and the creation pattern Patreon business is after, I'm not sure if it is a fit... @Gordon is not a song/performance/movie/social media creator (no insult here and I may be totally wrong...)

    I see the motivation of the business be read more the way of

    how much money can we get out of the fans of @Gordon

    rather than

    how can we help to get @Gordon more fans

    I'm an naive optimist to the point of a fatalist... (not) sorry, it's just me.

    Moving the forum on a more prominent platform - any git ? - may be worth a thought... to consolidate the various directions reaching prospects is going.

    The Patreon time bomb is ticking... and in the end I'd rather let PayPal just cash my money... at least they are a more transparent org...

  • short version:
    With the new systems the processing fee is just more visible and hence might stop people from pledging - especially in the 1$ - 2$ range. However the service costs remain almost identical.

    longer version:
    I've looked ad EEVblogs eevBLAB #42 Patreon rant. He is showing his numbers at 4:45.

    According to Dave, Patreon charged him with ~12% for the entire service.

    Looking at this raw data, I deduct Patreon's cut in % remains unchanged:

    • Patreon still deducts a %5 fee from the creator.
    • The processing fee was previously payed by the creator and is now added onto of the pledge:
      i.e. 20$ pledge + 0.35$ + 0.58$ = 20.93$ => ~5%.

    Yes, charging 0.35$ multiple times is wrong. That sed I assume this practice was previously hidden and is now obvious.

  • There's an added aspect to UK pledgers: VAT. Patreon adds VAT to every pledge, whereas PayPal direct doesn't. That's been the case since before this change though.

  • @AntiCat thanks - yes, the change itself doesn't seem particularly unfair - it's just the act of changing it in such a way that it raised everyone's payments when there really didn't seem to be anyone who wanted the change :(

    That's interesting re. VAT - and thanks for doing the recurring PayPal payment @tom.gidden!

    Frustratingly VAT does still has to be paid even on donations (yay UK!) - so it has to be deducted on my side. While it's annoying that Patreon add it to UK pledges, in that particular case it does make the creator's life a lot easier (unless of course you're a creator that's not VAT registered - which could actually be quite a lot of people).

  • Well, looks like Patreon aren't going ahead with their changes now:­-fees-change/

    I think for pretty much everyone that's still led to a drop in Patreon support - although having said that, someone in particular (thanks!) doubled their pledge during that time and so the net amount of patronage has actually risen slightly over the last month if you include Tom's switch to PayPal. Thanks everyone! :)

  • I dropped my pledge to show Patreon that I thought it was a bad idea. Now that they changed their mind I'm back pledging! :) Althouth, due to the VAT (I live in Sweden) I am considering switching to PayPal. Too bad I will be missing the Patreon exclusives.

  • I think the strength of the reactions to this decision are insane.

    IMO, what Patreon should do to help mitigate the payment processing fee bit is to aggregate the payments from each patron, so each person pays a monthly amount to patreon that covers their pledges plus payment processing fees. Then patreon splits that up among the creators. The current way seems designed to maximize processing costs and ignore efficiency improving opportunities.

  • Yes, I think it's more a reaction to how underhanded it seemed at the time. It was almost as if they were trying to hide the fact that they were charging everyone more.

    If they'd thought about it they probably could have just changed the pledge amounts ($1->$0.7 or whatever it was) such that everyone paid the same, and then let people opt in to rounding it up.

    aggregate the payments from each patron

    Maybe I'm being slightly paranoid, but I wouldn't be surprised if they do that behind the scenes and then pocket the extra money.

  • If you're a backer of more than one project, should be able to detect this by looking at CC statement.

  • Any update on this topic?
    I did not follow the story with Patreon. What is currently the best (least bad) way of supporting Espruino?

  • Thanks!

    I think the best way is still Patreon - there was a big backlash when they made the changes, and they've been a lot more careful and transparent since then. About the only other option is PayPal, but they still take a percentage and it's kind of difficult for me to keep track of everything.

    From my point of view Patreon is a good way of keeping in touch as well. I haven't done it as much as I should, but it's nice to be able to keep those who have been supporting me informed about how stuff is going. It's also helpful to be able to do stuff like run a poll where I can see what features people who contributed through Patreon actually care about.

  • OK, thanks for the news. I'll go for Patreon then.

  • Nice - thanks!

  • I sponsor a couple makers on Patreon - including you @Gordon, how do I get my "donor" sticker? :-)

  • Ahh, yes - sorry, it's still a reasonably manual process because I have to export all the forum users to tally up the email addresses. I'll get you and @Jean-Philippe_Rey's updated.

    If there's anyone else I missed off (for Patreon or Donation) please let me know!

  • Hi @Gordon!
    how about adding the ability to donate in BAT?

    This is not advertising, I just use it myself and it's very convenient. BAT is tied to the excellent Brave browser, which has the ability to make donations built into its interface. For example, you can go to Wikipedia from this browser and you can see that is a verified author, then you can make a one-time donation or set it up monthly in BAT.

    It is also possible to receive BAT for receiving small advertisements, then the tokens are accumulated in the browser and can be used as donations f.e.

    What do you think? It would be great to be able to leave a donations on any Espruino resource directly from the browser :)

  • That looks really interesting... However do the BAT tokens have a value? Or I'd just use them to pay for Advertising for Espruino on other platforms?

    I think the problem for me is really just one of added complexity though. I'm juggling way too much stuff at the moment, and actually I need to be finding ways of reducing the amount of things I have to deal with, not adding more. Patreon is a great source of income, but it's also a big source of guilt because I really think I should be doing more for my supporters and I just don't have time.

    Right now outside of Patreon I get less than $20 a month average in donations. I imagine in all likelihood BAT might end up a similar amount, and it sounds ungrateful but if I just did some consultancy work instead of the time I'd need to set up, administer and do the tax accounting for BAT, I'd probably get more money and other people would still have theirs :)

  • However do the BAT tokens have a value?

    Yes, it is essentially a cryptocurrency, so BAT can be exchanged for other currencies.
    The only issue is that the exchange rate is volatile, so I would just consider it as a tip.

    I think the problem for me is really just one of added complexity though.

    Well, of course, if it adds a lot of additional problems, then the benefit from this will not be great. If only it were easy to connect website domains to the BAT system and there would be no problems with taxes.

    I really think I should be doing more for my supporters and I just don't have time

    It seems to me that Patrons understand everything and have no complaints :)

  • Thanks! Yes, I think for now it's probably not worth it, but hopefully things will change...

    It seems to me that Patrons understand everything and have no complaints

    Thanks, that's great to hear! I think there are some that weren't happy that I wasn't more active on Patreon (judging by the Patreon exit survey!) but I guess maybe those that weren't happy have bailed by now!

    Anyway, good news today - we now have proper let and const implementations, and Object.values/entries :)

  • we now have proper let and const implementations

    Wow, great news! I thought we were stuck with var for a long time and I'm glad I was wrong!

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Patreon can go away.

Posted by Avatar for tom.gidden @tom.gidden