Anniversary Billing

Nice to see the blog post about anniversary billing (and other upcoming changes).

If we could, I’d like to keep this thread to concrete information, questions, and specific points of friction. If you want to speculate that this will cost you patrons, or just to be heard that you don’t like it, visit the other thread. If you can’t find the other thread, start it. :slight_smile:

  1. The Name
    When I first saw, “Anniversary billing” I thought, “They’re billing once a year?!” Is this really the right name for a feature that bills you every month? I suppose ‘Mensiversary Billing’ isn’t going to work, but “anniversaries” are definitely annual. Now that you have annual memberships, it seems there’s some potential for patron confusion here.

  2. Pay up Front?
    Is this feature coming with an implied charge up front mode for all patrons, with the charge up front/deferred charge distinction going away? In other words, will someone who signs up on the 17th pay immediately, or will they wait unti the 17th of the following month. Will this vary depending on per-creator settings?

  3. Fees
    Since this amounts to unbundling, does this mean that payment processing fees will be much higher for small-pledge creators? If so, where will the money come from - a surcharge to existing patrons, or deducted from creator payouts?

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Will there be a way to opt-out of this (“anniversary billing”)? Because myself, along with a LOT of other creators and patrons, do not want this at all. There are a few very long threads at Twitter discussing how much we do not want this. Any feedback on that?

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  1. Will each patron be billed multiple times per month, or will they have a single, patron-specific billing day that works for all of their creators?
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I strongly disagree with their new “pay upfront system”. A lot of people, including me, won’t be happy getting their accounts charged multiple times a month, this will decrease the support by A LOT.

Also as a creator, I give exclusive monthly rewards, that means, if you pledged on January, you get the content for January. With this new system, people may plan to just pledge on the end of the month to get January AND February content by example. Which will increase the amount of leaked content, Being more perjudicial for creators.

If with that change I notice a big decrease of support, I may consider moving to Subscribestar, even if that means losing a big part of a community that I’ve been building since 2015.

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Oh good, there’s already a topic on this.

Yeah I basically have to concur with everything Sify said, anniversary billing seems very poorly thought out. It’s like the unbundling of pledges in December 2018 that they (thank god) rolled back on, but with the added headache of destabilising the income of creators and the entertainment budget of patrons. I hadn’t even thought about the way it would affect content leaking.

But yes. This is the kind of change that’s just free marketing for Patreon’s competitors.

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It’s a bad idea and they shouldn’t do it. It seems like a thinly disguised way to wring more fees out of us.

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Also THIS

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If we could, I’d like to keep this thread to concrete information, questions, and specific points of friction such as Sify’s current reward model requiring all patrons to be paying at the same time.

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I can see where patrons get confused or angry at thinking they got double charged, and I can also see how “anniversary” payments would work well with certain types of creators so it might make a nice choice for some. Overall, though, this feels like it could be easily taken advantage of if it were to replace charge up front payments, hurting creators. It also feels annoying from a patron perspective since it’d make it more difficult to track Patreon spending, hurting patrons as well. As both a creator & patron, I’d rather have things bundled together. And as a creator, having the charge up front feature makes it way easier to feel secure in posting throughout the month and not trying to go off-platform to deliver month-exclusive rewards.

It seems like a communication issue prompted this change, so why not fix it with better communication? Let patrons signing up in the last week of the month know about how the system works, that they’re going to get charge again on the first, but this way they also get the current month’s rewards.

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I fully agree with this critique of the system as well. Particularly when it comes to rewards which are offered in one tier for a limited period of time (e.g. two months) and then switch to a higher tier (i.e. - moving from Tier 2 to Tier 5) after those two months elapse.

I’m a photographer, offering a virtual gallery for $10/monthly. But I retire the gallery post after two months, to disallow lower-tier access forever. The higher paywall benefits truly interested patrons, rewards patrons who give continually–increasing retention–and disincentivizes leaks.

If all my Tier 2 patrons are getting charged throughout the month, not only can I not plan financially, but I have no idea when to retire the gallery posts behind the higher paywall: it would exacerbate the very problem you’re attempting to solve, likely decreasing retention further.

Yes, agreed. Like a tailored message, encouraging patrons to access any monthly rewards before the new billing cycle on the 1st.

I try and do that in my own communication. But a Patreon-community message has greater force.