Stuff We've Asked For That We Haven't Got

I feel like the Patreon folks are really busy doing lots of stuff, and testing new stuff, and organizing events, and basically it all looks really productive… and yet I feel like few of the things we’ve asked for have really been addressed…? Is that just me, or do you all feel it too?

My patrons continually complain about the same things (or leave because of them):

  • No way to search content or scroll through it comfortably.
  • Extremely poor comment implementation, particularly comment threading and notification
  • API stuff that used to work breaking
  • No ability to gift patronage
  • No ability to prepay for a 6 or 12-month period to avoid monthly charges
  • The weirdly limited formatting on posts, which makes them all look like badly coded blog posts from the early 90s

…and probably a bunch of other things I’m forgetting. (Feel free to post about them.)

These are really bad pain points. One of my patrons today presented me with a Google spreadsheet she had painstakingly filled in with my posts, what they were about, and a link to them so that other patrons could have a chance of finding things they were interested in. A Google sheet. I was mortified. (Grateful too, for something she shouldn’t have had to do, which was not fun.)

I feel like a lot of the big reveals lately that consumed a lot of time on the team’s part were not useful to me as someone who’s been around for years, while the things I’ve been asking or hoping for keep getting backburnered, or implemented in a way that makes them unpalatable (sorry, Merch. You were exciting until I read the terms.)

I don’t want to sound too negative, because I appreciate the things Patreon does right. But when you’ve been waiting for some of this stuff for years, you get tired. -_-

Am I alone here? :confused:


You are not alone in the slightest. All of those points you mentioned plus one of the worst private messaging interfaces I’ve ever used.

Why hasn’t there been a unified way to message out rewards to patrons yet that’s separate from private messages? Why can’t I see private message history with my patrons? Why have all of these points been ignored in favor of making a new landing page that nobody was complaining about?

I am Tired :frowning:


Hey there haikujaguar,

We totally understand it can be frustrating that there are features, bugs, and improvements that the Patreon community is anxious to become reality(or un-reality!).

The Product team at Patreon is focused on making creators more money. We use many resources and methods to work out what feature changes or implementation would make the most impact for all creators. User research, data analytics, and the feedback we see from creators in this forum are all inputs into this process. They all combine to form a picture of what will help the most amount of creators make the most amount of money, which is why we have been focusing recently on patron conversion as that will help all creators. However, the reality is that we simply cannot build everything for everyone and deciding what to build next is extremely hard. Not everyone is going to benefit from everything we build, sadly. Please know that we take these forums into consideration and recognize the pain points you mention do need work, and we want to improve them for you! But while we are a startup, we cannot work on everything and have to remain focused on our ultimate mission to get creators paid.

For example, Annual Plans and Post Searching are things we’re working towards that are on your list. I hope they can reduce friction for patrons as well as put more money in creators’ pockets. These are huge projects that we want to get right, so they’ll take some time. But know we are actively working on these improvements right now!

I hope that provides some insight into what the team is working towards. Look out for future editions of the Insider here for more updates!


I’m reading what you’re saying but it’s coming across as “you think you want it, but you don’t,” as if we’re clueless about basic business principles. I’ve been on this platform since April of 2014, and I’ve been running a business for almost two decades, and I find explanations that a development team might not be able to do everything condescending. (I’m sorry, but I thought you might want to know how that’s coming across.) I question your analysis, as well; backer conversion might look important, but if you can’t retain your backers with the platform, all you get is churn. The point of a patronage business model is the development of long-term relationships with your clients. Increasing conversion is only profitable if you can keep the resulting influx of people. We’ve been telling you for years now that the platform isn’t good at retention because the quality-of-life issues are interfering, and the only communications I see from Patreon are the kind of self-congratulatory fluff I used to write in product marketing, with occasional feature roll-outs that serve creators with big platforms, big fanbases, and big monthly numbers.

We know you’re focused on them–you took a big trust hit a while back about that.

Patreon as a company is six years old now, which is no longer start-up territory. I wish you’d stop working on the front end and focus on the back end, which is where most of us are losing patrons. Attracting new people before you can ensure they have a good experience is backwards… and responses like this feel like an attempt to make people be quiet, rather than an honest attempt to listen and be introspective about the issues.


I also share many of these frustrations and pain points!

I also love/hate the idea of a Google Doc/Sheet that just lists all the past posts and may implement it myself! Just reposting it every couple of months with the latest update so everyone has the access they are paying for in a more user-friendly way!


I am very grateful to have Patreon in my life. In fact my entire world has been changed because of Patreon.

With that being said, I can say with extreme passion, even love for this platform, a successful former career in marketing, and my own personally livelihood behind this statement: the issues that haikujaguar are bringing up are more important that anything else Pateon is doing.

Getting new Patreons is a wonderful thing to focus on. And in a world where NEW “customers” is everything, I get Pateon trying to focus on that. BUT as someone that uses and runs a Pateon site, I can tell you it is FAR from a great experience. It’s basically a tumblr blog…

I know, reaching new customers is important, but I promise you keeping an existing supporter is much more valuable and making their experience better is much more valuable to everyone involved.

The things haikujaguar have mentioned are all focused around the experience the end user has. When people join a Pateon site they do NOT want to scroll through 1000 posts looking for content. They want to click a Gallery. I personally have had this one issue brought up to me hundreds of times.

Again, as someone who had a successful career marketing in the business world, someone who now makes a living in your platform, and someone that is incredibly passionate about this platform, I promise you that fixing the experience for existing users should be where 100% of your attention goes for now.

You want ideas? Listen to the creators here who live, breath, and survive from this Platform. We know better than anyone, yes even the employees of Patreon, what needs your attention.


I want to add my voice to the chorus. In the three years I’ve been on Patreon (which I appreciate, BTW), I have made numerous suggestions for improvements. Many of these have been small obvious things that have come from 10+ years experience as a pro-blogger. Almost every time the response I’ve got back has been, “Thanks for reaching out, that’s a great idea, it’s something we’re definitely working on” followed by no changes whatsoever. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve given up making suggestions.

As I say to my daughters, watch what he does, and you won’t be fooled by what he says.

Patreon peeps, I love you, but I don’t feel we’re on the same page. As people above have said, creators are an untapped resource, full of creative ideas on how to make Patreon even better. If only Patreon staff thought the same way.


I agree with everything previous posters have said. I’m still very small on Patreon but I use it a lot and there are things that glitch that, 6 years in, should not still glitch.

I’ve lost patrons because their card expired but they lost their login, and the email reset link to get a new password never appeared. They never signed up with a new email address (and really, why should they) so their patronage stopped. I’ve had people never pledge to start with, because Patreon won’t work on their particular phone browser and they’re not too confident on navigating the page on desktop. I can only nudge them so many times to use the app or a different browser or whatever - the site should be easy to use on all browsers, for people who aren’t fantastic at navigating tech. According to my dash, someone who pledged years ago but whose very first payment was declined and they never updated their details, is a patron.

I respect that the company needs to bring in new creators and that offering cool new features will help with that, but patrons - and by extension, current creators - won’t stick around if the infrastructure isn’t working properly.


Something else that’s just occurred to me, and I’m sure I can’t be the only person it irritates: a while ago I pledged to my friend, who had themselves pledged to my page. Instead of my pledge coming out of a bank account of my choice, my friend got paid with the money that was sat in my Patreon waiting for me to withdraw it. So my patrons were essentially paying for me to be a patron for someone else - and my friend and I were just throwing money in circles.

My patrons know where their money is going down to the penny, pretty much. Why should they essentially pay for me to be a patron myself? I asked the support team at the time and got a basic ‘we’ll let you know if anything changes’ response. I don’t know if anything’s actually changed?! It’s prevented me from pledging to creators I’d love to support, because the money my patrons pledge is for very specific projects I can’t otherwise afford to do, and not for me to use as pocket money and redistribute at will.


Hey folks, I wanted to chime in here as I can feel the frustration in this thread.

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to share these concerns with us. Patreon cannot exist without creators and it pains me to hear that most of these issues hurt creators more the longer they are on Patreon, which is the opposite experience we would want for our most loyal members. It also sucks when we hear stories of the work arounds that patrons and creators have had to create to get around some of these issues. I just wanted to say thank you for being with Patreon for 6 years, for posting in this forum, and helping us improve the platform for everyone.

Secondly, you’re right @haikujaguar. A lot of recent improvements have been creator-centric, aiming to help you attract new patrons and get more of them to become patrons (patron acquisition and conversion in tech speak). These things are important to us as we want to make the process as seamless as possible for when a potential patron is thinking about joining as that puts more money into creators pockets.

However, we understand that the other side of that coin is equally important as you mentioned - keeping and retaining patrons. We don’t want to drive more patrons to join if they are going to leave - that would not be good. One of the reasons we’ve focused at the top of the funnel (the moment a patron joins) is because our patron research showed that a reason they leave is because they didn’t understand membership or the benefits they get. This leads to the patrons being confused, not knowing where to find the benefits they signed up for, and then leaving. By trying to provide more info upfront, we are hoping to have an impact down stream, which is why we are working so hard on the new creator landing page.

We have done a lot of patron and fan research in the second half of this year as we recognized it was an area we had not focused on enough lately. Plus, creators are the closest to their patrons concerns - you hear it the most - and that’s why your input is so crucial. The good news is that we are actively working on almost all of the things on your list but I understand that this is going to be one of those things where seeing will be believing, as @DrPaulEllis mentions . Once we have released improvements to some of these things over the coming months, I hope we can win your trust back. You’ll hear more about what we’re working on to tackle patron retention and other features very soon.

To respond to @agentredgirl’s points, Patreon currently has about 200 staff and 60 of them are in this forum and read it weekly, if not daily, to keep in touch with our community of creators who use Patreon. They don’t post a lot but they are here, reading and informing themselves on what creators needs are. We use the threads in the forum for research when we start working on something, we reach out to creators for their feedback and involvement in betas based on their posts in here, and post when we make changes to keep you informed. Every month the CEO of Patreon hosts a live video chat for an hour to listen to our community. Our number 1 company value is “Put Creators First”. We judge everything we do by that lens and we know that we don’t succeed unless our creators do.

On a final note, I’m going to make a new thread later this week that shares a little bit more about our plan for this forum next year as it touches on where I think some of the frustrations are being felt and will share the results from the survey I posted August/September.


I have no doubt at all that the Patreon staff are working hard, day in and day out. And focusing on the top of the funnel makes sense, too. Yet, you still managed to build the entire Patreon merch system, which must have taken months of hard work and planning, and I struggle to see the point to it - on-demand merchandise based stores are trivial for us (as creators) to set-up these days. I appreciate the way it can be hooked into tiers, but it’s not something I’ll ever use, and it must have taken so many dev resources away from issues that bug me and my patrons daily, all of which have been listed already.

Although I guess that fixing the comment system, or the post interface, or the emails, doesn’t actually generate Patreon any revenue in the way merch does. Perhaps this feature was driven by investors rather than creators.


Hey @photonstorm, the merch program was made possible through acquiring another company, called Kit. You can read all about that in this TechCrunch article:

This acquisition not only made merch possible, but greatly reduced the amount of time and focus required from the core Patreon team. Of course, it still took time to combine the two companies and unify how the platforms work together, but no where near as long as if Patreon had started from scratch.

Plus, the decision to acquire Kit and bring merch to creators is because we know that scaling merch is a hugely painful problem for creators, and something many many creators have wanted Patreon to do for years. In fact, our research showed that over 60 percent of today’s Patreon creators either want to or are already delivering some kind of physical merchandise. We know that creators want more options from Patreon merch (postcards, pins, more flexibility with shipment dates etc) and we’re excited to make this program even more valuable for creators in the future.

We are also excited to be actively working on those things you mentioned right now to help alleviate the frustrations these features currently cause.

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I beg your pardon? “A lot of recent improvements have been creator-centric”? What exactly is patron retention then, if it’s not “creator-centric”? I don’t need you to acquire patrons for me. That’s my job. I need you to create a platform that helps me keep them. You don’t keep patrons by concentrating on the “top of the funnel.” The top of the funnel is customer acquisition. It’s literally the opposite of the retention process.

I guess this needs statement: onboarding new patrons accomplishes nothing if they leave because the site is nonfunctional. A strategy that results in patrons leaving is the opposite of a ‘creator-centric’ strategy.

You’ve been telling us for years now that you’re “working on” the issues we keep telling you are enormous problems. I’m sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t believe it. If you’re actually working on them, you’d have deliverables and deadlines and due dates, but I have yet to see a schedule for rollout for any of the QoL improvements we’ve been asking for over and over again.

Here are some quotes from my patrons:

  • “When I get an email that you’ve made a new post it’s 50% excitement that there is a new post and 50% dread at having to try to get to the website to show me the post.”
  • “I’m sure this is old news, but the tag system doesn’t work at all on the app so I uninstalled the app.”
  • “It makes it hard to engage with any of the posts because the comment system is absolute garbage.”
  • “Yeah, I honestly hate using the website. And I gave up on the app, it doesn’t do half the stuff I expect it to do.”
  • " it doesn’t scroll properly and keeps reloading and making you re-reload EVERYTHING so I gave up on it"
  • “Yeah, Patreon. ‘Here’s our website where you pay creators that you like so that you can see their content. However the website does not work in a way which will allow you to see the content.’”
  • “Tumblr is more usable.”

These are CONSTANT complaints. I’ve been receiving them for years. I’ve been talking about them for years. So have many of my fellow creators here.

No more “no, really, we mean it this time.” Give us a time-table, beta and street dates. If you really are working on this, you’ll have those things, and we’ll be all ears and all support. I’ll finally be able to attract the fans who are waiting for the site to reward them for sticking with me.


I appreciate the efforts to address this problem, it’s certainly one I’ve experienced with a handful of patrons in the past, though I’m not quite sure that the front page was really the issue. The people were already enticed enough to sign up, it was only AFTER they pledged that they got confused. So the initial pledging wasn’t really in question. (This isn’t to say the changes you’re making are not necessary or helpful.) I just feel like the focus should be on the post-pledgers, since that’s where most of the confusion lies. Something like a creator-customizable email to explain their page or process, adding a search feature, or other things people mentioned.

It really does seem like getting people to stick around first, building up that foundation, should be the priority. What’s the point of getting a few extra bucks from the new changes that entice people to join, if they’re just going to immediately leave right after? Seems counter intuitive.

It’s nice to see y’all replying and reading our posts though. I’m looking forward to learning more about y’alls plans for next year :slight_smile:


I’m still waiting on decent two factor authentication that relies on either an app (like Authy or Google Authenticator) or a physical hardware token (Like the Yubikey).
Given that so much of my financial freedom is based on my patreon accounts, I’d like better security.


I’m with you on this.

I want to really UNDERLINE how wonderful patreon is, it really is, it has meant I can make my own art and not worry about scrabbling to get client work (i’m an illustrator). I have been using it for almost 4 years now.

HOWEVER I agree with every single thing that Haikujaguar has said.

I had a new patron today having real trouble with the app and with sending messages, I couldn’t help him at all. He has just joined at a top tier and I don’t want to lose him obviously!

Retention is essential. Making it easy to search posts, not the endless scrolling (which I have commented about and asked to be changed for a long time). I do not understand why these things are difficult to implement and why they wouldn’t be an automatic basic requirement for a site like this. And of course the messaging system is terrible. I don’t know, I’m no expert but it feels very clunky and the number one thing for me is ease of finding archived posts and also searching on patreon itself should happen.

Please stop working on the sexy costume and get the body in good shape first before putting it on :wink:


Isn’t this already a thing? I use Google Authenticator to log in every time. Unless I’m misunderstanding you?

@ShannonMorse Patreon provides the ability for users to turn on SMS or TOTP Two Factor Authentication. More info can be found here. In order to use TOTP for two factor authentication, you would need to download an authenticator app such us Duo or Google Authenticator before you turn the feature on. Let me know if this is different than what you had in mind

@artbyemilyhare @sambeawesome @haikujaguar Normally we prefer not to share timelines as it can impact trust if, for whatever reason, we’re unable to meet the timeframes. However, I recognize that this is important for you and so I’m happy to provide more info in this case.

Here’s a look at all the things we’re hoping (and expecting) to ship before January 2020. To be clear, this is an optimistic list but our team is working hard on these, plus larger projects we’ve shared that will be coming next year, like international currencies, annual pledging, and exploring gifting patronage (as it means different things to different creators).

  • Post Organization for creators & patrons
    • Pinned posts
    • Search posts via titles
    • Welcome notes by tier
    • Featured tag placement on page
  • Improving Patron Experience
    • My Membership Tab for patrons

We’ll make a more in-depth post for each feature nearer the time that has images and more info, this is just to show in good faith what we are currently working on. We’ll be sharing more info about some of these and new experiments we’re running in the next week or so :slight_smile:


I can agree with both major points in this thread: I love Patreon wholeheartedly, but the user experience on the site is lackluster to say the least. I’ve been here since 2014, and a search bar is one of the oldest requested features I can remember! So I’m happy to see it on that WIP list above. Currently, to search my own content, I have to write on the address bar since the tag list is way too long to browse :sweat_smile: :

I think it’s clear now that creators need better posting presentation and tools, in order for supporters to enjoy their membership experience. I understand that Patreon’s main objective is handling subscriptions and not the content delivery, but if so many creators use Patreon for both those things, maybe it’s time to make both similarly important? :thinking:

As always, thanks for your hard work!


+1 with @haikujaguar thank you for articulating what a lot of us feel. I love that Patreon is so active and productive, but 100% agree more of that energy needs to go into these simple fixes we’ve been waiting for for ages.

@mindy: those are some very welcome fixes, thank you! Please add to that list these changes we’ve requested so many times, too:

1. Request details for fulfilling rewards at the sign up stage so that we don’t have to chase up patrons after signup. (Eg. if a patron signs up for a tier where the reward is a tshirt, or a producer credit, or whatever - give us the ability to request their preferred tshirt size/colour/cut or their preferred credit at sign up. Writing to Patrons to get these details, and following-up dozens of times, wastes hours of my life and results in many patrons not receiving their rewards because I don’t know what tshirt size they want. And no, I don’t want to employ a third party to handle rewards)

2. Include fields in the postal address system (so that distinguishing the street address, postcode and suburb when sending rewards to addresses in other countries, isn’t like trying to solve a cryptic crossword)

3. A decent private message system (see other posts here)