|See Update Below!|
Patreon broke trust with every Patron registered with them, including This is True’s supporters, by suddenly announcing they would soon charge them more than their pledged amount. They billed it as something positive for creators. It absolutely is not: it is bad for creators. We creators got no advance notice of this, and no way to “opt out” of this plan — to continue to absorb those fees as we have in the past.
You deserve to know that what you pledge is what you will be charged, and not a penny more. You deserve plenty of notice if something is going to change, and at least 30 days to opt out if you don’t agree. You deserve to know that as much as your pledge as possible will go to the creator. You deserve to be treated like a true Patron of the people who create for you.
If you didn’t see the announcement, here’s what they said: “Starting on December 18th, a new service fee of 2.9% + $0.35 will be paid by patrons for each individual pledge.”
While I know many of you won’t mind at all, I do. (And, I’m sure, many of you certainly will mind.) It especially impacts those of you who are doing smaller support levels. The support level with the most Patrons for True — $4 — will now be charged $4.47, which is more than a 10 percent increase.
And I can’t even opt out of that. Those smaller contributions are important: they add up to really help True, and it’s absolutely not fair to charge you more for that.
Saturday (December 9) Update: What I’m Doing About It
I’ve purchased an add-on package for True’s shopping cart that allows you to continue your support without charging you such fees. When you pledge $4, that’s all that will be charged to you, period! But even better, the software I’m working to install is more flexible than Patreon. You can choose other options than monthly, for instance. Want quarterly, semi-annual, or annual instead? You get that option. I’ve been waiting on Patreon to do that since the start — and I got tired of waiting.
Yes, I had to pay for the software, but you know what? I won’t have to pay Patreon’s 5% fee on any of your payments while you’re not charged more. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Naturally, Patreon’s timing was really bad. Not only with the holidays coming up, but I have two road trips planned before the end of the year: one for business, the other to see Kit’s aging father. So I pretty much spent the better part of 24 hours installing the software, learning it, setting up a new payment processor, and doing a whole bunch of modifications on the shopping cart to make it all work. And it works: people are already using it.
There will be more on this in upcoming newsletters. I won’t close my Patreon page, at least yet: I’ll see what the Patrons want to do. It’s your choice: pay their extra fees, or quit to send them a message, and support True directly.
I’m honored by your support, and I will do my best to ensure that your future contributions do more to help keep True running.
Wednesday (December 13) Update
Today, Patreon announced they’re rolling back the changes, and they did it in a good way:
- The subject line: “We messed up. We’re sorry.”
- Then they repeated the apology in the first sentence (“truly sorry,” even).
- They walked back the changes entirely — no “excepts” (though they’re “assessing other options” because there are “problems” they need to solve).
- They provided more detail in a blog post which noted that before any future changes, “we’re going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around.” Darned right.
- And, very importantly, they acknowledged “it will take a long time for us to earn back your trust.” True, but taking ownership of their screw-up in a very clear way is a good start on that.
So, what now? I’m leaving my new solution in place. That gives you the option. You really like Patreon because it’s a handy way to support multiple creators? Great: I’m leaving my page there. You’re wary and would prefer to support True directly, ensuring as much as possible of your payment runs the publication, rather than partially funds the Patreon platform? You have that too with the new system I put in. I’m also working on that, by the way, to see if I can make it even more flexible, giving you the option of choosing a specific dollar amount, rather than just the specific tiers set up there.
Because of this, the title of this post in now overstated: I’m leaving it since it accurately reflects what I said on the original posting date, but while I’m still not “recommending” Patreon, I’m not anti-Patreon either. My thinking is, as long as they keep to their promises in their apology, it will remain an important platform for many creators, especially those who don’t have the tech chops to create their own backup for funding, as I did, and I applaud that they have such an option.
So that’s where we are now: you are in charge, just as you should be. Thanks so much for your support for my position here, and for your support for True.
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This page is an example of This is True’s style of “Thought-Provoking Entertainment”. True is a newsletter that uses “weird news” as a vehicle to explore the human condition, and bring up questions about society — in an entertaining way. If you enjoyed this page, consider scrolling up to the top of the page for a free email subscription.
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Q: Why would I want to pay more than the regular rate?
A: To support the publication to help it thrive and stay online, and this kind of support means less future need for price increases (and smaller increases when they do happen), which enables more people to upgrade. This option was requested by existing Premium subscribers.