A few days ago I remembered that I still had it after being notified of the new patron subscription. As a consequence, I decided not to mislead the audience, stop accepting payments and close the page. Instead, I recommend switching to Liberapay as a more appropriate platform for regular donations or taking advantage of one-time transfers or referral links.

If you’re so interested in the details:

tl;dr

  • The Patreon tools is inappropriate when there are no projects or more than 1;
  • Platform policy is opaque, you can get banned for anything;
  • Taxation of 20% together with deductions for platform plans hits hard on profitability;
  • There are no channels for natural audience growth;
  • Patreon really doesn’t like to let users go anywhere else;
  • In Liberapay, sponsors have more flexibility, way and way without rewards and paid publications;

Patreon is no good for hobbyists

If I published anything regularly, the format of getting paid “every month” or “for every X release” would be valid. But it all breaks down when there are projects that don’t fit into both schemes.

The platform doesn’t work when there are multiple projects and they are radically different from each other. The solution is to create a new account for each project, but this is more management, more taxes and subscription fees.

It is suggested to pay extra for team pages with a bunch of tools that are not necessarily useful at the start or later.

All of the above is hard to fit into 3-4 typical types of payments. It’s even harder to define rewards in these terms. If you can afford only one option like “pay as much as you want, from $1”, it’s no different than any other donation collection page in the banking systems, which, by the way, take no commission (or charge mere pennies) for transfers and are completely free.

Ah, yes, Patreon pages cannot be adapted to several languages, which limits the audience a lot.

Patreon has an opaque policy

Platform bans author without explanation reasons for harmless content with criticism.

NSFW is sort of banned, but it’s allowed, but it’s banned without verification via submitting documents by the author, but it’s allowed if the author has enough patrons… If I develop a bot to search NSFW, but I don’t post anything 18+ on the page, am I at risk of getting banned or not? Will I be hidden from search if I enable NSFW status or not anymore?

Despite filling out the W-8BEN form for tax exemption as a non-US resident, I was still taxed at 20% VAT.

Monetization changes rarely, but very significantly. More often than not, it hurts. There are now 4 types of subscriptions on the platform, one of which is active for older authors until they change their plan to any of the three available. The only difference between them is the workshop formats, the availability of a consultant, and the advertising tools. The latter doesn’t make sense at all because of the following nuance.

Patreon does not promote authors.

There is no catalog of any authors on the main page. Moreover, there is no such section at all.

On the one hand, this is good, because each author has equal conditions compared to others. Everyone is in charge of attracting their own paying audience, and success directly depends on their tools and the efforts they put into them.

On the other hand, potential patrons who discover an author on their own in the directory and support them naturally can’t do so.

That being said, the pro-Patreon feature listings for X list several authors and there’s no transparency as to why exactly they should be visible to everyone and others should not be.

It’s hard to get your own data on Patreon

To start with, the form to request to download an archive with my data is extremely counter-intuitively placed. There’s no link to it in the help, site map, or developer blog. It’s not even in “Privacy settings1”, as you might think from the name of the menu item in the footer, but in the “Privacy Policy”. This link was only discovered through a very detailed query to an external search engine. Well, okay, let’s say it’s good that the form was found at all.

Let’s log in and begin the process:

Of the options offered to download, delete, and configure the rights to use this data, only the first two are actually available to us. Well, it’s a good idea to at least save whatever you want to delete later:

Up to 30 DAYS, Carl! What other sites take minutes, hours, or a couple of days at most, Patreon will take up to a month to process. I get that you don’t want to let me go anywhere else. I’m afraid to ask what I’ll be charged when I’m about to delete my page…

At the time of posting, I had not received an email that I was ready to download the archive.

Use Liberapay

To current and new subscribers, I recommend re-subscribing to regular Liberapay donations.

The essence of the new platform is similar: automating regular donations to authors. Unlike Patreon, the platform’s source code is completely open, it has a directory of users, project functionality and teams that you don’t have to pay anyone for.

Yes, it doesn’t have any tiers, awards, goals, or paid publication feeds, but it doesn’t need to. Instead, the platform only does one task and does it well by giving sponsors the flexibility that’s not available on Patreon:

  • Charges can be automatic or manual in the form of email reminders;
  • Ability to donate weekly, monthly, or annually;
  • Supports any amounts in 30+ currencies with a commission of no more than 5%;

While there are other ways to donate like Ko-fi, this is the only alternative with the same regular donation functionality, and it’s easy enough to be audited and monitored by the community.


P.S.: Later, when I get my Patreon data archive, on the appropriate page lists of all former, current and uture donors will be published. They deserve to be immortalized in my history, because thanks to them and you, I continue to do what I do.


  1. As of this writing, this page is not working at all due to some JavaScript bug. ↩︎

Webmentions on refactoring

Don't worry, as before I continue to collect them on any page of my site. They will be reflected here again at alater date.