Per Creation and Patrons Stealing Paid Content

Hi guys,

I’ve been a ‘per creation’ creator for many years and it is now financially impossible for me to shift to a per month pledge system.

Every month we get new rogue patrons who join, consume our 400+ Patron only posts then leave without paying. People have said this is “just a cost of doing business” but that is not acceptable and there is more that can be done!

A simple fix for this would be to allow the “charge up front” feature to also work for ‘per creation’ creators. After all, once a new patron joins, they are accessing content that is behind a pay wall, so why not charge them for it?

Their first pledge can be towards the next paid post so they are not paying more. And if they then become financially committed they are more likely to remain on the platform for the remainder of the month which give us more time to share new posts with them and show them the value of being part of the Patreon community.

I feel that not enough is being done to protect creators here.


What?! I didn’t think Patrons could join and then leave like that without paying anything?

It’s hilarious to think, that people can join a per creation creator and get EVERYTHING that was released up until the join date for free.

Oh they can - imagine you want to come and steal someone’s content - you join with top tier pledge /showing a valid bank account or whatever it is/ - and grab all the stuff - they stay for few hours to up a week and they delete their pledge. At the end of the month/when the money charge magic happens / the creator stays with fewer supporters and the sense that they’ve been robbed. And they actually are.
The only solution for this indeed is charging upfront.
I was about to make a post about that.

And that’s that.

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I hope In the future, they will tweak Charge Up Front. I -cannot- use it because it has some serious pitfalls (not to mention you can’t undo it once you’ve done it.)

I have access to it, being a monthly creator, but not only does it have the very real potential of screwing me over in terms of monthly work load (people can pay for a tier that is full, leave, and someone else could join and immediately
be charged, and now i’ve gotta fit another item in in my monthly workload that I may not realistically be able to fit) as well as screwing over patrons as they will get charged immediately if they upgrade their pledge amount and then have to pay it again on
the next month and similar issue with starting to pledge closer to the end of the month and then being charged again. This is also a royal pain for me to handle/make right with them as well.

I just wish it had more options. Pro-rate has been asked for, for years, and it would solve a lot of the over charging issues. I don’t feel it is right to have my patrons pay extra like that, just to prevent people from stealing my work. :confused: It puts the onus
on them, and not the people who steal, which feels really shitty. If it paid immediately and was payment for the next month pay period, like Kombilife said, that would also be a decent solution imo. One size does not fit all. Giving creators options on how
to handle it would be so great. We all have different relationships with our audience.

This is why I only post high res stuff via PM. Sure, folks might see my web sized posts and behind the scenes and that stinks, but at least my patrons are getting the high res important goodies only.

I hope that per creation folks can get pay upfront options soon. I know many who struggle with this issue and it stinks that there isn’t an option for them, just because they have a different schedule.


Hey @kombilife, thanks for making this post and I’m sorry to hear about this difficult situation for you. I’m happy to try and shed some light on the current billing setup for patrons and the options you face.

Q: Why do patrons get access to all of my back catalog when they join? Why aren’t they charged?

A: An important thing to note is that per creation billing is our legacy billing and was not set up with the idea that posts are a “thing” you are selling your patrons. It was built with the idea that your patrons want to support you and think your work is more valuable than ad revenue.

Instead of thinking of your paid posts as things that your patrons have “purchased”, try to think about your paid posts as content you’ve created– and your patrons have membership that unlocks access to your content. Patrons value that content at different levels of support.

Q: How do I know if I should use per creation?

A: In the end, whether or not you should use per creation billing is entirely up to you! We’ve seen per creation work great for:

  • Creators who publish quarterly work– think reviews, Zines, and anthologies.
  • Creators who don’t post every month. If you don’t post content every month for patrons, it makes sense that you might not want to bill them every month. Per creation billing offers that flexibility.

I feel like you have a few options:

  1. Switch to monthly and enable charge-up-front, which is our most best way of ensuring no patron can join and steal content without paying. You could explain to your patrons the reason for this change and why it’s necessary. You can read about how and why Amanda Palmer made the switch from per-creation to monthly here.
  2. You protect your back catalogue of content using a different delivery system, like a private Dropbox folder, messaging, or links you post in a Discord server.

I’d be happy to offer you a free 1:1 consultation with our team to talk through your options as I know this is not an ideal situation to be in and a big potential change to protect your work. We’d love to chat with how you currently use per-creation and brainstorm potential options to help solve this. Send me a DM if you’d like that, and in the meantime I have passed this feedback to our product team.

Hi @Mindy,

Thanks for the reply. It seems from what you said that there isn’t an option and there wont be one coming. As I said, I can’t move to a pay monthly system. As much as I would like to, it would put me out of business.

I didn’t realize that Charge Per Creation was part of legacy billing, how disappointing. Thank you for explaining that.

I don’t consider the posts “things that I have sold my Patrons”. Most of them are free Patron only posts which I market to my YouTube audience as an incentive for joining the Patreon community and supporting my work.

It frustrates me that I can’t stop some rogue users joining patreon and accessing the content (which I am intentionally not making available for free) and then leaving without contribution.

Patreon deals with the access and the charging, I deal with the content creation. Like I said, this is an issue and i feel that more can be (and should be) done by Patreon here, legacy or not!

If you think there is value in us speaking further and you have an additional workable solution which is not mentioned here then I would be happy to schedule a call with you. However, I know I am not the only Patreon creator who has this issue, so it might be worth putting your further ideas here for others to see.

Thanks for your time

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It’s become really clear to me, as a fellow per-thing creator, that Patreon is never going to prioritize our experience. As Mindy said, we’re considered part of a “legacy” setup and therefor there are no plans to ever include us in things like special offers, or other upgrades. It’s a real bummer, because like you I can’t switch to monthly without immediately losing 40% of my annual revenue, but I’ve stopped hoping that Patreon will do much for us at all at this point.

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Not a perfect solution, but have you considered a site like Gumroad for your backlog? I’ve seen lots of artists use it. That’s where they either post all of their older works (previous “per creation” sets), or their newer ones as well, then just give the paying patrons a 100% discount when they post it.

Would keep all your work behind a paywall and is more protected than what Patreon offers.

Okay lemme get this straight:
So are you telling me that someone can join my Patreon, which is a per-creation account, grab all the content, and then cancel without being charged at all ever??

^^ If the above is really what is happening, I’m fairly horrified to be honest.
The per-creation model already was not what I wish it could be, which ideally would allow us to distribute content to select tiers and to charge ONLY those tiers, but on top of this if people are swooping in to grab all my content and then leaving without paying a dime then I’m sorry but that’s some BS.