I Lost a Long-Term (nearly 3-year) Patron due to Patreon's Interface

Here’s his exit survey:

@reyna - will Patreon PLEASE do something about this? We’ve been asking for changes to host posts are organized and handled, and it’s costing us money, which means it’s costing Patreon money.

A simple ‘read’ flag for a post would do it. But, honestly, that’s insufficient at this point.

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Do you have a WP site for your writing? If so, installing WordPress plugin for Patreon would help you organize anything in any way you want.

No, I don’t have a WP site, and I shouldn’t have to. The entire point of Patreon was so that I didn’t have to do any of that. If I do, then there is no point to having Patreon.

Nobody should have to use any offsite resources to provide the content to Patrons. After all, that’s what we’re paying Patreon for!

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Just FYI, I tried this, spent a month moving all of my content and making a nice “private section” for my patrons… and then had to give up on the idea because a dozen or so patrons could never get Patreon to recognize they were a supporter when they were on my site. They got errors, they needed help that I couldn’t provide remotely to get logged in, etc.

I loved the idea, but the connection between Patreon and the plug-in just didn’t work well enough to make it useful. With the amount of work involved, it would have been easier to just install a “Membership” plugin that works directly in WordPress with PayPal or a credit card processor.

Brian

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And Patreon has basically abandoned the API as well, so putting ANY eggs in that particular basket is a non-starter for that reason alone.

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Today Jack posted up this pdf that has a lot of feedback on it- for those not on the Discord Server I’d recommend joining. Here’s the attached form for those interested! (Forum doesn’t take pdfs so I screenshotted each page)
feedbackpage1|690x498

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‘Sharing with our team’ is exactly what we’ve been told for three years, and nothing has happened.

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Yeah, I’m going to be doing the nerve-wracking thing of moving to my own platform (whether that ends up being a wordpress site or an add on for my own website) because of this. I know I will lose patrons doing this but I am tired of the endless changes which only seem to make it worse (and the landing page looks bloody awful now).

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I’ve been on the platform for over 5 years, and this is the first time I have ever heard someone say that they were supposed to be only using Patreon alone, and not Patreon on top of other stuff.

So, I’m really doubting what you are saying, since I’m not paying them to be my be-all, end-all site.

The point of Patreon isn’t to replace anything, but supplement them.

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I think, and correct me if I’m wrong, the point was more that of the features Patreon offers (text, images, video, etc. posts, search, etc.), none of them are a great or efficient way to be delivered to our patrons. The layout is easy to get lost in, and things get messy quick. Patrons often can’t find what they’re looking for, and the lag often crashes the page.

While Patreon doesn’t /have/ to replace other platforms, they effectively can by allowing such a variety of content to be hosted on their platform. It gives the illusion of a vast and smart interface while simultaneously being completely broken and confusing.

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If I have to do all the work, why use Patreon and not my own WP site? In other words, what’s the value proposition for me and for other creators who want to spend time creating, not managing a difficult site AND a second site? That just makes no sense.

I could set up my own site (php programmer with extensive experience), but my time is better spent creating content. If Patreon expects me to use other sites to do what they should do (make content easily accessible to my patrons) why do they need at 10% cut?

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That’s how it’s been since the beginning, though.

It manages your membership, charges memebers on your behalf, etc. (And fails at that, sometimes)

They take their portion to help keep it going.

When I joined over 5 years ago, it was under the assumption that if something was missing, I would need to use one of their partners, or go fetch it myself.

And when I joined their discord server in 2018, I was told not to entirely rely on Patreon for income and to diversify that end.

(And as a moderator on the server, I’ve seen a lot of people coming in, assuming Patreon does more than it is actually designed to do.)

Sure, it would be nice for Patreon to be a one-stop-shop for all of a creator’s needs. And in a lot of ways, it’s making progress to that end.

But it isn’t there yet, and for people to pay for something it isn’t designed for, is unfair to both the creators and Patreon itself. (In my opinion, at least)

So, not saying you shouldn’t request things you want to see in Patreon. Just realize that not everyone is paying this for the same reasons you are.

(I apologize if I come off as rude, entitled, etc.)

Well, pardon me for expecting Patreon to live up to Jack’s rah-rah claims.

“That’s how it’s been since the beginning” is a problem, though. Services are meant to improve, especially when improvements are promised. I’ve been on Patreon since 2014 - in fact, my Patreon changed my life - and Patreon has always positioned itself as not just a payment processor but a host for paywalled content. The longer you use a site, the more content you have, and the more important content organization is. I’ve also lost patrons who couldn’t find what they were looking for. A lot of them have trouble navigating tags (and tags sometimes don’t even display all the tagged content), and some of my patrons expressly avoid even logging into Patreon, only reading email notifications, because it’s hard for them to navigate the app.

Lately I myself have been drifting away from Patreon due to the lack of improvements that would be meaningful to authors, artists, comic creators, and other people for whom reverse-chronological-order endless-scrolling isn’t suitable as the only option - and also some long-standing problems that haven’t been addressed - especially issues with payment processing, another core feature. I wish there had been more of a focus on improving core services before expanding to unrelated services like merch and so on. (Speaking of trying to be a one-stop shop…)

Setting aside the fact that Patreon creators shouldn’t all be forced to use Wordpress specifically, I do use a WP site, and I was very excited for Patreon’s plugin. But I couldn’t get it to play nice with my site or to integrate with Paid Memberships Pro like it claims it does. I’m currently using PMP to paywall a gallery for one of my tiers, and I manually give the login to my patrons, which is kind of a pain. And like Michael_Loucks said, what would be the need for Patreon if I set up real tiers and payment processing and host all my paywalled content on my own site?

No one is asking for Patreon to be a one-stop shop. Content management/organization is a core feature, and improving it would benefit just about everyone who uses the site.

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We have various high-volume creators using Patreon WordPress with PMP. What is the particular issue you are experiencing? Also, did you seek help for that at the api support forum?

These threads: An update on Patreon’s API - Updates - Patreon Community

The API has been abandoned - Tools - Patreon Community

And:

As of June 22nd, 2020, we are no longer actively maintaining the API due to resource constraints.

That’s all that matters. Patreon abandoned their API. What happens now is we wait for someone to exploit it, and for Patreon to shut it off entirely rather than invest in fixing it. Remember Google+? Just kind of on life support for years because no one in the company wanted to touch it, then someone hacked it, and it got shut down.

It doesn’t matter how well PMP uses the API because the API is doomed unless Patreon starts taking it seriously.

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Exactly. They’ve said it has no support, which means it WILL die and WILL break at some point.

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I really feel this is well said and hits every single nail on the head. I’ve been battling serious health issues and a decline in business due to COVID, so I already had a difficult time promoting my Patreon very often and even logging on much…but it’s become such a hassle at this point because there’s just no order, no organization, merch is a mess for me, and the fees feel less and less like they’re worth it because I can’t host content here in a way that makes any sense. I noticed that Squarespace added a members section type of deal recently to the site, and I’ve been considering just using that and tying in my blog posts, etc. Anyway, I think I’m rambling lol but I seriously second ALL of this. The bottom line is that this becomes the stomping grounds for my most dedicated supporters, and it’s not appealing to them or to me. So many improvements are needed.

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Hey everyone,

The sentiments of this thread are not going ignored. I have been working as quickly as I can internally to review our product feedback loop and improve the communication within Patreon teams, and externally to our community.

Yesterday, we posted an early edition of a blog post Look Back at 2020 + Look Ahead to 2021 to the community outlining our 2021 priorities. In this post, we mention Improving the patron experience – that includes a patrons ability to easily navigate the platform, on mobile and desktop. We’re working to improve Patreon’s reliability and make it more dependable for creators and patrons alike.

We’re still working through the details and are going to keep you in the loop as we make progress. We understand there’s a long way to go, but we are working to improve our communication to you. Like I said in the post, thank you for your recent reminders about how important it is for us to communicate regularly and transparently about Patreon’s product development.

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Which is exactly the problem! Where is the commitment to implement changes requested by your actual customers - we creators?

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