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Patreon halts plans to change payment model after public outcry

Tim Maytom

Creative funding platform Patreon has rolled back changes to its payment processing model after both creators and users criticised the plans. The company has promised to thoroughly review its plans before continuing, and take more feedback from both patrons and those supported by their payments.

The new payment model, which was set to come into effect on 18 December, would have shifted payment processing charges from the creatives who receive the funds to patrons who contribute towards them. Rather than charging creators between two and 10 per cent of their received funds on the first day of the next month, patrons would have been charged 2.9 per cent up front, plus a $0.35 (£0.26) fee per transaction, on top of the five per cent Patreon already takes.

The new model was criticised heavily for disproportionately affecting patrons who supported multiple creators at low levels. Patreon enables users to contribute as little as $1 a month to creators, and while payment for all of a patron’s pledges are taken as a single transaction, a processing fee would have been charged for each creator supported.

In a post titled “We messed up. We’re sorry, and we’re not rolling out the fees change”, Patreon CEO Jack Conte apologised for the move and promised both creators and users that they would be consulted on further changes.

“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,” said Conte. “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.”

Industry experts have theorised that Patreon’s plans were in part motivated by investor pressure to generate more revenues. Earlier this year, the company raised $60m in Series C funding at a valuation of $450, but the firm is estimated to generate only around $8m a year in revenues at the moment.