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.