Patreon

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Patreon, Inc.
Patreon wordmark.svg
Screenshot
Patreon screenshot 20 January 2018.jpg
A Patreon page from January 20, 2018
Type of site
Membership platform
Available in English
Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.
Created by
Website patreon.com
Alexa rank Increase 383 (June 2018)[1]
Launched May 2013; 5 years ago (2013-05)
Current status Active

Patreon (/ˈptriɒn/) is a membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service as well as ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or "patrons."[2]

Patreon is popular among YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, and other categories of creators who post regularly online.[3] It allows artists to receive funding directly from their fans, or patrons, on a recurring basis or per work of art.[4] The company, started by musician Jack Conte[5] and developer Sam Yam[5] in 2013, is based in San Francisco.[6]

In return for the service, Patreon charges a commission of 5% for each donation and 5% in transaction fees, thus allowing the creator to get 90% of the donations.[7]

History

Logo used from May 2013–June 2017.

Patreon was founded in May 2013 by artist Jack Conte,[5] who was looking for a way to make a living from his popular YouTube videos.[8] Together with Sam Yam he developed a platform that allows patrons to pay a set amount of money every time an artist creates a work of art. The company raised $2.1 million in August 2013 from a group of venture capitalists and angel investors.[9][10] In June 2014 the company raised a further $15,000,000 in a series A round led by Danny Rimer of Index Ventures.[11][12] In January 2016, the company closed on a fresh round of $30 million in a series B round, led by Thrive Capital which puts the total raised for Patreon at $47.1 million.[13]

The company signed up more than 125,000 "patrons" in its first 18 months.[14] In late 2014, the website announced that patrons were sending over $1,000,000 per month to the site's content creators.[15]

In March 2015, Patreon acquired Subbable, a similar voluntary subscription service created by the Green brothers, John and Hank Green, and brought over Subbable creators and contents, including CGP Grey, Destin Sandlin's Smarter Every Day and the Green brothers' own CrashCourse and SciShow channels.[16] The merger was consequent of an expected migration of payment systems with Amazon Payments that Subbable used.

In October 2015, the site was the target of a large cyber-attack, with almost fifteen gigabytes' worth of password data, donation records, and source code taken and published. The breach exposed more than 2.3 million unique e-mail addresses and millions of private messages.[17][18] Following the attack, some patrons received extortion emails demanding Bitcoin payments in exchange for the protection of their personal information.[19][20][21]

In July 2016, Patreon sent out an email[22] to its users, announcing changes for its more adult-oriented creators. Notably, content creators working under the “Not Safe For Work” (NSFW) categories on Patreon can now accept payments through PayPal via PayPal's subsidiary Braintree. This move now allows Adult Content creators on Patreon to accept payment more easily. Before these creators could only accept payments through credit cards.[23]

In January 2017, Patreon announced that it had sent over $100,000,000 to creators since its inception.[24]

In May 2017, Patreon announced that it had over 50,000 active creators, 1 million monthly patrons, and was on track to send over $150 million to creators in 2017.[25]

In June 2017, Patreon announced a suite of tools for creators to run membership businesses on the Patreon platform. Notable improvements included a CRM system, a mobile app called Lens, and a service to setup exclusive livestreams.[26]

In August 2018, Patreon announced the acquisition of Memberful, a membership services company.[27]

Business model

Patreon users are grouped by content type, including video/films, podcast, comedy, comics, games, education, etc. These content creators set up a page on the Patreon website, where patrons can choose to pay a fixed amount to a creator on a monthly basis.[28] Alternatively, content creators can configure their page so that patrons pay every time the artist releases a new piece of art. A creator typically displays a goal that the ongoing revenue will go towards and can set a maximum limit of how much they receive per month. Patrons can cancel their payment at any time. Creators typically provide membership benefits (commonly in the form of exclusive content or behind-the-scenes work) for their patrons depending on the amount that each patron pays.[29][30]

Patrons can unlock monetary tiers that increases the content type they see from the user. A number of content creators on Patreon are also YouTubers. They are able to create content on multiple platforms and while the YouTube videos may be available to the public, the Patrons receive private content made exclusively for them in aiding the Patreon user’s goal.[31] Patreon takes a 5% commission on pledges. As of May 2017, the average pledge per patron was around $12, and a new patron pledged to a creator every 5.5 seconds.[32]

As of February 2014, almost half of the artists produce YouTube videos, while most of the rest are writers, webcomics artists, musicians, or podcasters.[33] As of December 2016, Patreon's Community Guidelines allow nudity and suggestive imagery as long as they are clearly marked, but prohibit content that may be deemed pornographic or as glorifying sexual violence.[34]

Controversies

In July 2017, conservative journalist and YouTube personality Lauren Southern was banned from Patreon over concerns about Génération Identitaire's blocking of NGO ships in the Mediterranean.[35] The letter from Patreon accused her of "raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life," referring to an incident in May that involved Southern and the larger Defend Europe mission in July which she covered on YouTube.[36] Sam Harris objected to Patreon's approach and announced that he would be leaving the platform because of it.[37] After further backlash, Patreon deleted the account of It's Going Down, an anarchist group involved in doxing which had frequently been cited as evidence of a double standard by Southern's supporters.[38][23] Patreon CEO Jack Conte subsequently announced that he would be expanding the company's appeal process, regretting the initial wording of the letter which said "[we] will not consider an appeal."

In October 2017, Patreon published an expanded version of its community guidelines, triggering a backlash from some adult content creators.[39][40][41] A petition in protest at the changes gained 1800 signatures, and drew a response from Patreon's Jack Conte.[42][43]

In December 2017, Patreon announced a service fee starting on December 18, 2017, where some fees would be charged to the patrons rather than all fees being paid by the creator. This caused backlash from some creators, including some creators who saw members of their fanbase withdraw small pledges in response. Under the new payment model, a $1 pledge would have cost a patron $1.38, and a $5 pledge would have cost $5.50, representing a 38% and 10% rise respectively.[44] Due to this backlash, and the loss of many pledges for creators, Patreon announced that they would not be rolling out these changes, and apologized to their users.[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Patreon.com Traffic, Demographics and Competitors - Alexa". www.alexa.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2018.
  2. ^ Conte, Jack (June 14, 2017). "Membership: The Future for Creators". PatreonHQ. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  3. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (March 15, 2017). "How The Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It". NYTimes.
  4. ^ The California Report.org: "Creating Patrons of the Arts Through Crowdfunding" Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. July 11–13, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Jack Conte interviewed on the TV show Triangulation on the TWiT.tv network
  6. ^ Patreon.org: Intro Archived March 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed July 14, 2014
  7. ^ "Patreon - our fee structure". Patreon official website. Patreon. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Levitz, Dena (September 9, 2013). "Donation, Patron Services Help Fans Support Their Favorite Authors". PBS. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  9. ^ Tate, Ryan (October 22, 2013). "The Next Big Thing You Missed: 'Eternal Kickstarter' Reinvents Indie Art". Wired. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  10. ^ Luckerson, Victor (December 4, 2013). "Top 10 Exciting Startups". Time. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  11. ^ Buhr, Sarah (June 23, 2014). "Patreon Raises $15 Million Series A, Revamps Site To Focus More On Content". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  12. ^ "Patreon Raised $15 Million". YouTube. June 23, 2014. Archived from the original on October 4, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  13. ^ Buhr, Sarah (January 19, 2016). "Patreon Gains $30 Million Series B Funding To Support Growth". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on May 31, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  14. ^ Dredge, Stuart. "Amanda Palmer races to $13,000 per release in Patreon crowdfunding". the Guardian. Archived from the original on June 9, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "Creators on Patreon Receive Over 1,000,000 per Month From Patrons". October 10, 2014. Archived from the original on April 4, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  16. ^ "Patreon Acquires Subbable, Aligning the YouTube Stars". Forbes. Archived from the original on March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  17. ^ Hunt, Troy. "Pwned websites - Patreon". Have I been pwned?. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  18. ^ Goodin, Dan (October 2, 2015). "Gigabytes of user data from hack of Patreon donations site dumped online". ars technica. Archived from the original on October 8, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
  19. ^ "Extortion attempt on victims of Patreon site hack". BBC. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  20. ^ "Scammers Fumble Attempt to Extort Patreon Users". Billboard. Archived from the original on November 25, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  21. ^ Biggs, John. "Extortionists Are Threatening To Release Patreon User Data". Techcrunch. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
  22. ^ Alptraum, Lux (July 27, 2016). "Patreon Ends Payments Discrimination Against Adult Content". Motherboard. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  23. ^ a b "The real consequences of Patreon's adult content crackdown". Engadget. Archived from the original on May 16, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "Creators have made $100M on Patreon". Medium. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  25. ^ "Patreon doubles in a year to 1M paying patrons and 50K creators". Techcrunch. Archived from the original on May 18, 2017. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "Patreon Launches New Tools Following Forecast of $150M In Subscriber Funding". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  27. ^ "Patreon Makes a Move as Tech Giants Encroach on Its Territory". WIRED. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  28. ^ "How do I become a creator and make a page on Patreon?". Types of questions. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  29. ^ Pham, Alex (May 10, 2013). "Jack Conte's Patreon: Anyone Can Be a Patron of the Arts". Billboard Biz. Los Angeles. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  30. ^ Henriksen, Erik (February 7, 2014). "Portland Cartoonist Erika Moen Launches a Patreon (Also, Patreon Sounds Pretty Brilliant)". The Portland Mercury. Portland, OR. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  31. ^ "How Creative Entrepreneurs are Using Patreon to Build Their Businesses". smallbiztrends.com. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  32. ^ "What Patreon's Growth Says about the Future for Creators". Patreon. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  33. ^ "Explore Top Creators on Patreon - Patreon". Archived from the original on July 16, 2014.
  34. ^ "Community Guidelines". Patreon. Archived from the original on December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  35. ^ Ian Miles Cheong (July 21, 2017). "Patreon bans Lauren Southern, claims she will get people killed". The Daily Caller. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  36. ^ Fairbanks, Cassandra (July 30, 2017). "Patreon changes policies in response to backlash over banning Lauren Southern". Big League Politics. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  37. ^ Robertson, Adi (August 3, 2017). "Inside Patreon, the economic engine of Internet culture". The Verge. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  38. ^ Kraychik, Robery (July 23, 2017). "Patreon kills Lauren Southern's account". The Daily Wire. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  39. ^ O'Donovan, Caroline. "Patreon Updated Its Rules On Adult Content, And NSFW Content Creators Are Worried". Buzzfeed. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017.
  40. ^ Kelion, Leo. "Porn-makers challenge Patreon's crowdfunding ban". BBC.co.uk. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  41. ^ Cole, Samantha. "Adult Content Creators Are Fighting Patreon's New Anti-Porn Rules". Vice.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  42. ^ "An Open Letter to Patreon". Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  43. ^ Conte, Jack. "A Note to Our Adult Content Creators". Patreon.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  44. ^ Alexander, Julia (December 7, 2017). "Patreon changes have creators concerned they'll lose income, supporters (update)". Polygon. Archived from the original on December 9, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  45. ^ Conte, Jack (December 13, 2017). "We messed up. We're sorry, and we're not rolling out the fees change". Patreon. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.

External links

  • Official website
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