I’ve been using patreon as a creator for 6 years now and it has been a HUGE Help in me being able to get off my feet as an independent illustrator. Patreon is fine on the surface, but if you’re trying to do anything more complicated than have a tip jar (IMO) then it’s really hard work to run. For me as an artist it is frustrating when we’ve been asking for various things for ages, or if they make changes that are done without asking us here (like the change of the front page), I don’t know, it seems like they’re not bothered. There is no customer service now and it was GREAT when they started. I’m moving away from patreon but it’s taking me a while to find the right place to go (probably going to build my own thing using word press possibly).
@Onyrica, your comment is so spot on I have nothing to add, other than to say Thank You for putting what many of us are thinking into words.
Actually, I do have one other thought:
I’ve supported a BUNCH of people on Patreon over the years, some of them with “small followings” and some of them “big names with TONS of fans” and I’ve noticed that the “smaller” ones are often doing WAY more to keep their patrons involved and engaged… while many of the “big names” use Patreon essentially as a Tip Jar.
This isn’t a hard and fast thing AT ALL, of course, and it certainly goes the opposite direction!!
But I wonder if the problem here is that the “big names” that Patreon often uses as headliners to show off how much you “can” make aren’t complaining because they don’t NEED the site to work as dynamically as the rest of us do… OR because they have staff doing the work for them, and a staff just does what they have to do to get the job done!
Just a thought.
i wish i had set up my account as more of a tip-jar than a complicated rewards filling system tbh. because that’s ~mostly~ what i see too. my friends with the tip jar model hardly have any complaints about the site. unfortunately, patreon advertises itself as this complex rewards delivery system with all these features! that… don’t really work. or at least, don’t do what we need them to do.
although i also recognize that a lot of really REALLY big top-earning creators were doing a lot on the platform. more complex rewards and they did not have patreon in their pocket because they still left. (jessica nigri, omgcosplay, megturney, ect)
my friend is featured in this as if they addressed her concerns or didnt repeatedly completely ignore her asking multiple times about removing patrons quietly and blocking them without informing them
e: im sure it will come as a total surprise to her that shes in this and being used like this lol. jesus christ
This really sums up a lot of my feelings and I’m sure the feelings of many others - thank you for taking the time to write that out so rationally.
I’m not sure if anyone has checked it out, but I am a huge fan of GiveWP, I use them for a tip jar in my livestreams…and I have even been thinking recently that it might be rad to build my own ‘patreon’ on my website, then I have full control and can serve my community!
It would be quite a custom thing to build, but if i think how much work I’ve put into Patreon over the years, it can’t be more than that!
Anyways, here’s the link to them (it is an affiliate link, which for some reason feels disingenuous, so apologies if it is inappropriate)
Love to all as we navigate this oh-so-ephemeral human experience on our way Home
I feel your frustration too. I have been desperately looking for a better solution since the Patreon website does not seem to be improving in any meaningful way. They added the search function after years of asking and it barely works. The other day I wasted several minutes helping a patron find a “candle” post that did not show up on search because she had typed “candles”! Seriously! It is beyond me how we still have no galleries or basic filing systems in place to make the patron experience easier. I am totally with you. A large number of my turnover is due to problems with their website not the quality of my content and that is just wrong.
I would be interested in your research. I’m talking to a web design group right now coming up with solutions for the issues my patrons are having finding content. I would hate to move my 3200+ patrons elsewhere but I have had such frustration from patrons that I think a lot of them would welcome the move.
@angelafineart feel free to email me (my website is www.emilyhare.co.uk you’ll find the email link there) and I can send you a cut and paste of what I’ve looked into as I have to a few folks who have messaged me here. There are DOZENS of options to patreon out there, I’m not looking at things like ko-fi as they are essentially another platform like patreon, what i’m looking to do is making it all part of my own website.
When creators leave Patreon- where do they go? I’m just curious about the other options.
Its almost as if the ‘tip jar’ model from 2013 makes far more sense for creators and investors than the ‘subscription’ model which PT pushed more recently isn’t it?
Thank you. I have felt so demoralized. This was validating to read.
Thanks Emily! That sounds promising. I’ll be sure to send you a PM.
Oh how lovely it must be to be able to ignore the fact that you’re personally responsible in allowing other people to even have a living, and in neglecting that moral balance, fucking over the very people that’re helping you get those investors in the first place @patreon
i’ve seen some people switch to subscribestar, pixiv, kofi, and even using woocommerce subscription plugin for their own websites. I’m considering some of it myself tbh
I have to admit, while I’m not one of the “big names”, I am someone doing what you’re describing as using Patreon as a tip-jar (I would put it a little differently, but no nevermind here), and I gotta say: I’m over here thinking What are you people DOING?! Don’t you know Patreon is TERRIBLE for that?!?!
I, uh, see you’re noticing that.
It would be great if Patreon worked the way it represents itself to work, and I don’t think any of you are wrong to try to hold Patreon’s toes to the fire. I’m not suggesting you don’t complain. I am right there with you complaining (though often about slightly different stuff).
That said, if I can presume to advise you: do everything in your power to not do things on Patreon you don’t have to do on Patreon, just to preserve your sanity. And your relationship with your patrons.
I have lots of specific suggestions if you need them, but the most basic is: if Patreon isn’t doing what you need, maybe you should be evaluating whether you should be even trying to get that functionality out of Patreon? Can you do it somewhere else or just do without it all together?
Because Patreon is going to let you down, and let you down, and let you down.
@reyna I know you’re in a really hard position, one you may even feel is impossible. But when you post here, you often say things which make me cringe, in how they throw gasoline on the fire. I don’t think you have any idea that the things you are saying are exacerbating users’ anger, and that’s the opposite of what you want. But that is what’s happening.
And it’s not just you, @reyna; Patreon’s Communications team is falling into an incredibly common trap for big multi-user sites, where you don’t realize how your communication is exacerbating the hostilities with which you are greeted when you interact with the userbase, so retreat more from them or double down on doing the same things, making the problem worse. It turns into a feedback loop, driving worse and worse division between users and staff at Patreon.
I consult in this area from time to time (usually just in non-profits), and I’m giving you a freebie I usually charge for: Patreon’s creator-facing staff lean way, way, way too hard on niceness and affability to try to solve problems. In particular, you folks have a tendency to try to use niceness and affability to paper over faults in professionalism, transparency, and fidelity, which is an explosive move. Patreon is deep into the land of toxic positivity.
When that happens, the users escalate their nastiness almost compulsively, because they experience that toxic positivity as silencing and smothering, so their aggression up-regulates, as they struggle to make themselves heard.
I see where you’re coming from. If Patreon isn’t suiting our needs, change our needs or go elsewhere. The problem for most of us, it seems, is that Patreon isn’t delivering on the features that promise to fill our needs. We came in with expectations that those specific needs would be met, so it’s not as if we were wanting more than what was given to us (necessarily, obviously new features can be added, but I’m strictly talking bare bones here), but we’re not given them in the first place.
I understand how you feel, but I don’t know if it’s fair to point directly at her. It’s definitely a site-wide problem among the staff, and we have no idea what goes behind the scenes. We don’t know all of what she’s allowed to say or do. And if you’re a part of the Discord, you’ll have seen a recent debacle come up with what users (and Reyna) thought was a bug, until she talked with other employees to find out it was an intended feature change. So there might even be an internal communication issue in their company as well.
I definitely agree with this. But I will also point out, again, this is all on the Discord, which in and of itself is frustrating–but there seems to be more of a push than I’ve seen before in terms of correcting this issue.
Reyna posted today:
Hey everyone –
Before heading out for the weekend, I just wanted to drop a note and let you know that all the feedback, sentiment, and comments from the community we’ve received lately are not going ignored. I’m working with multiple teams to make our communication with you all about Patreon’s product development more regular and transparent. On Tuesday, I’ll be posting an early community-only edition of the 2020 Wrap Up + 2021 Look Ahead blog post that Patreon will be publishing publicly mid-week - your version will also have some extra bits of info not included in the public blog post.
2 quick reminders:
‣ Jack’s Creator Club applications close on Sunday 1/17 (see more in #patreon-announcements!)
‣ Monday is a holidays in the USA so the community team will not be back online until Tuesday 1/19. If you come across any bugs or issues, please submit a support ticket at Submit a request – Patreon Help Center
Hope you all have a great weekend!
This is of course, all still words and no, as of yet, visible action. But I’m looking forward to the promised communication changes.
At the very minimum, there is some promise with this thread:
This is one of the reasons I neglected logging in here for a while, well one of many reasons. It was somewhat sickening to see them crow about millions they’d gotten from investors as I was struggling to get by during the pandemic and battling health issues on top of it all…and then loading up Patreon for all its clunkiness and exasperating flaws after reading how they’d come up with sooooo much money to make Patreon better…really??