Pay Upfront Flaws & Suggestions

Every month, many artists get an absurd amount of bots/content skimmers pledging to them.

But “why not use the pay upfront option?” you might ask. Well, here are some reasons why a good number of artists I’ve talked to, including myself, wont use it.

1. You can’t go back/change your mind if it doesn’t work for you.
2. It makes the tier caps (how many can pledge at once) moot. One person could order custom artwork in a month, then leave before the end of the month and then another person could fill the spot, now creating more work than you can realistically handle within the monthly cycle, because your “cap” no longer functions in a realistic way during a cycle/month.
3. New patrons get charged up front for the current month and then, even if they joined on the 28th, they’d then get charged almost immediately, when the new month hits. Double charging is not cool or fair for a lot of patreon setups.
4. Increasing a pledge amount will charge people immediately for that difference and then charged again for that amount at the beginning of the next month, which, for some patreon projects, works. For some, not so much. Do you now upgrade them to the higher tier imediately even though they paid for the other tier initialy? What if their lower tier was custom work? Do you scrap that and now give them the upgraded tier since they’ve now paid in full for that? It’s a rather unfortunate circumstance that has terrible stress potential depending on the content you provide through your project.

So, my suggestions, are to create some more options for this feature. Every project is different, all content is different and everyone works differently. “one solution fits all” is definitely not true in this case. I certainly don’t feel right having my patrons double charged and my project doesn’t provide content in such a way where that makes sense for me and many other artists I’ve talked to.


1. Allow project managers to enable a prorate option. New patrons would get charged a % (based on days of the month) of that months charge if they signed up later in a month. This would give some artists the option to let people view the content without a full charge but would also still quickly prove weather its a real person or a bot since its still a charge. It is a completely different experience for some projects to just come in and not be able to take part in polls/voting, live video sessions that have already passed, etc yet right now they’d be paying full price for all those things and not getting them which is entirely not fair.

2. Allow projects to simply prevent new patrons from viewing the paid portions of the blog without a successful payment. This would solve pretty much all the “bot” problems especially those that sign up to skim/steal content.

3. Give project managers the option to have a one time charge for new patrons if they want to see past content. Example: New person pledges. They will get charged at the beginning of the month for their pledge as per usual, but they have the option to pay a fee to get access to previous content. (So until their payment goes through, they wouldn’t see paid tier content unless they chose this option.) This would manage double charging, bots stealing content and people have the option to pay for previous content access, or just pay for the content they are planning to support/can afford.

4. Give project managers the option to enable/disable immediate charges for patrons who upgrade their pledges. So, for me and many other artists I’ve chatted with, we are very much on the monthly schedule and having people able to basically come and go from a tier and get charged immediately screws up our schedules and is unfair to us and our patrons who now have paid for extra content that’s not there for them. The option for us to turn that off and just have them upgrade to the higher tier and get charged on the next monthly pay day, would be amazing. At the point of upgrading, most of the people pledged would have already had successful payments and are confirmed supporters. Charging them extra on a lot of patreon setups is unfair because a lot of content is custom and not enough might be visible in the blog to make sense for those immediate charges.


Your point about not being able to go back is so relevant for me! I changed from per thing to monthly really early on…and didn’t realise there would be no way back. Regretting that sooooo much

As far as i know, the Per Paid Post and Monthly is something you can change whenever you want. (I’ve done it within the last few months, when I took a month off. I put it on per paid post and I just don’t post any paid posts but i still post content to my blog. Then when my break is over i turn it back to monthly.) It is when you choose to use the “Pay Upfront” feature that it locks you in to monthly and you can’t go back. If you are using the pay upfront feature and it has locked you in, i am so sorry. :persevere: It is really an unfortunate thing. I hope they put in some options or maybe the ability to “test/demo” it before sticking with it :confused:

(Also, you have some great content Nate! Loving your music! )

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Yup, I did that, was so excited to try out Pay Up Front when it first came out, went ahead and did it and now I’m stuck with it…which suuuuuucks, cos the way I share is changing all the time, and I really really want the option to shift my payment model accordingly. REGRET :frowning: :crying_cat_face:

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Augh. I am so sorry that that is the case :persevere:
Hopefully they will fix that in the future or at least give you some options to not be stuck with just the monthly thing.

I do hope so, even just giving people a ‘one chance to change’ option if you realise down the line it’s not right for you! Anyway, thanks for taking the time to listen to my music!

Hope all goes well, your creations look super interesting :slight_smile:

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That’s a great idea! Hey no problem! I’m always looking for new creators to follow :slight_smile:

Than you so much!

This makes all kinds of sense to me. In fact, I don’t understand why it doesn’t already work this way!


I need to setup pay upfornt for my page yet I can’t find it in settings. Help.

Not everyone has it. I’d poke @carla and see if you can be put on the list to get it the next time they are able to add more testers. (it’s still in beta.)

Also be sure you read all the information on it because once you do it you cannot undo it and go back to the way it was before.

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I read it and I am ok with it … I really do need and hopfully the have a room for one more cause its affecting my page

That is a great idea andnot sure why it’s not already in place, you’d think it would be a fairly easy thing to implement.

I’ve been waiting a few months for pay up front.

Yesterday. I had a patron commit to $10, for some advance chapters at 3.42pm, then at 8.11pm they committed to the top tier for all advance chapters. Whether they read them or not, I have no way of knowing. Then by midnight they had disappeared.

No. I am not doing a manual delivery thing on the 2nd or 3rd of each month. Don’t suggest I do that. 1) I dont want to make people wait and 2) I want an application to handle this for me, I dont want to have to set something so cumbersome up.

So please Patreon listen to me and enable pay upfront option. I have no idea why its not available to everyone immediately. Why do I have to wait for months for it?

I am a very unhappy client, all I want from Patreon is a good platform, if there was something else available I would go now. You do not bring me patrons, I do that all myself, but you do give me a platform. Fix it please.

I’d love to have a “set up fee” that was the same for EVERYONE.

So, ALL new patrons are charged $1 or $2 up front when they sign up, then charged again when I post my “per thing” post. That way, folks who pledge $25 per month/per thing won’t be paying $50 their first month, just $1 “set up fee” and then their $25 level pledge, for a total of $26.

I send new subscribers links to two collections of short fiction now when they sign up. Would love to be like, “Pay $5 now and get 2 short story collections delivered to your inbox! Then you’ll be charged your pledge level per thing as usual.” Or something.

Right now, my understanding is that you can only set it up so that they are charged their pledge level once on sign up, and again per thing/per month.

That negates the whole point of the pay upfront idea. How does it help any of us if people can pledge to and acess a $50 tier by being charged only $1?

The biggest thing it would curb, is fraudulent accounts (bots specifically). Fraud accounts steal content because there is no prevention method to check and see if their payment information even works and they just get free access to the blogs when they sign up. Having a small fee or as mentioned in the original post, “pro-rate” fees, this would charge their accounts immediately before being able to view content and will essentially catch all the fraud accounts with invalid payment information right away, instead of having to watch your income drop drastically during “pay day” every month. (Though, to use this feature, patreon needs to prevent people from viewing blog content without payment, which i still don’t understand why this isn’t a thing to begin with. xD )

Mostly though, i brought up this sort of thing in the original post because it is unfair that someone gets charged immediately, even close to the end of the month and then charged again on the 1st of the month. Double charging is a crappy way to treat patrons and having a pro-rate option or fee would allow them to pay for whatever days are left in the month, see the posted content but not pay full price because they likely missed live sessions, lens stuff, polls and other input based content, etc. (this is where the historical fee would come in handy. also stated in the first post.) Which makes it entirely unfair to force them to pay full price when they aren’t getting the full “package.” (let alone the fact that i personally do not want to have to fit in potential custom work in the last few days of the month when it wasn’t in the game plan and now if they get double charged i have to fit in 2 pieces in a short period of time that i may not have accounted for. I put limits on my custom art tiers for a reason: My time and energy is not infinite. I also have a repetitive strain injury so i cannot just push myself to complete more than i specifically allotted for without consequence.)

There are even more reasons than this but it’s really up to each individual creator on how they want to run it. It’s why the first post encourages having options because “one shoe does not fit all” in this case.

That doesn’t address the fact it negates the point of pay upfront. Bots can be sorted by introducing capcha or similar during sign-up, but a small fee will do nothing to deter human theft, which is a far bigger problem as far as I’m concerned. It’s a half-solution that creates more issues than it solves. I’m not for double-charging people at all, that needs sorting (how is it possible that no solution has been found yet??) but the token fee proposed is a slap on the face of anyone who provides valuable things to higher pledges and are using pay upfront to protect that.

While this may not work for you particular project tiers, it would work for mine.

Consider that there are many different ways that we all set up our patreons.

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You actually think this can be customized for each of us? That’s optimistic.

How does it negate exactly? It IS pay upfront, but just with options to suit all kinds of creators. Bots are made by humans and are created to make the skimming process easier and less time consuming for them. They automatically re-post content to sites that make our content free for non paying customers. It’s no different than if someone skims your patreon blog by hand and shares the content. (Also, Captcha’s and other such things aren’t fool proof. They arent impossible to crack. And some of these bots start as a human signing up and then just letting the bot do the automated skimming for them to get past such measures anyways.) Actual people who pay and pay to share the content do exist for sure but they are far fewer and there are some other threads on these forums that actually have new security features being made to help combat this so it’s not a lost cause, it’s just generally a smaller issue for most people as many skimmers don’t want to pay for content at all, period, hense bots and general skimmers.

We may just have very different experiences as mine stem primarily from bots/people who don’t pay but can still see my stuff because i cannot use the pay upfront feature as it is currently. I’m not okay with screwing over my patrons to use the feature.

The issues with the current iteration of the Pay upfront feature (in my opinion) is that is it limited and the “cons” are pretty terrible in how it treats me and my patrons overall. Since i have no reasonable suggestion to help combat humans that sign up to steal, as you really can’t gauge their intent upon signing up, my solution to that is to allow creators the option to just not have their content viewable to those who haven’t had a successful payment because it will make it easier to figure out who the paid skimmers are when you dont have a good chunk of bots to contend with. Not everyone cares about this but the option would be great. I run my patreon strictly on a monthly cycle so i don’t need people charged immediately and then charged again, i just need them to not have access to content until the next cycle and their payment goes through. If patreon isn’t capable of this, the other option is to have them have that micro fee right away just to ensure they are in fact a real person and not an account with fraudulent payment credentials. This would eliminated a lot of the fraud payment issues, though i realize not all but it would be overall easier to deal with.

I am very sad that the patreon competitor that was out there a while back is gone. I know its possible to have these options on a platform like this because the competitor had them. People couldn’t see content before they paid unless the artist chose to show things that way, there was an optional pro-rate fee upon joining (and it was clear about it when someone tried to sign up) artists could use if they wanted and there was also an optional historical fee for people who wanted to see content posted prior to joining. Again though, it was all optional, so that creators could do their content their way. Some people let people see previous content without a fee. Some people had all of these things turned on and honestly, i rarely heard of any subscribers complaining about it because it was clear upon signing up what the options were and it also makes sense that you pay for the content you pay for.

These are just my thoughts though and are just discussionary. Everyone’s opinions here help patreon make better products so I’m not putting down anyone who feels differently, just explaining my personal reasons and also trying to understand the other side of things as well because it’s all important.