Patreon last week announced a controversial change to its service fee structure. Scheduled to go live on December 18, the revamped structure would have resulted in creators taking home a larger portion of each donation – a flat 95 percent – albeit at the expense of backers.
Under the proposed plan, Patreon would have withheld 2.9 percent of every donation on top of a $0.35 fee per pledge. That doesn’t sound like much but for backers that prefer to spread out their support via several small pledges (a hundred $1 pledges versus donating $100 to just one creator, for example), the fees would have quickly become prohibitive.
The Patreon community, both artists and backers, pushed back against the proposed changes, letting the company know of the potential damage its decision would have. In fact, many artists have already lost patrons over the matter.
Patreon co-founder and CEO Jack Conte said on Wednesday that his company will not be adopting the new service fee structure. The company still has to fix the problems the proposed changes addressed, he said, but they’re going to do so in a different way that involves feedback from the community.
Conte said he spent hours on the phone with creators and the feedback was clear: the new plan would have disproportionately impacted $1-$2 patrons. Feedback also revealed that they underestimated the value of aggregation and overstepped their boundaries as it relates to the relationship of creators and fans.
Patreon said it needs to be better at involving the community more deeply and earlier in these kinds of decisions and needs to provide a more flexible product and platform to allow creators to own the way they run their memberships.