Crowdfunding service Patreon has sparked controversy with changes to the way it handles payment-processing fees on its platform.
Until now, the vloggers, musicians and other creators using Patreon to raise money from fans have absorbed the charges for processing payments as part of their 95% revenue share.
Under the proposed changes, a service fee of 2.9% plus $0.35 will be added on to the pledges by those fans (or ‘patrons’) meaning that every time someone pays a creator $1, they would now be paying around $1.38.
Patreon described it as “a change that allows Patreon creators to take home exactly 95% of every pledge, with no additional fees” but a number of creators aren’t happy.
Why? Because they’re concerned that the changes will lead many of the patrons paying smaller sums to stop supporting them.
“They're now going to add an additional 35 to the cost of every pledge, plus another 2.9%, which will increase most of my Patrons' pledges by more than a third. I wouldn't pay that, I wouldn't expect anyone else to either,” tweeted comics artist Gibson Twist.
Other creators have tweeted screenshots showing their patrons deleting their pledges: for example here and here. Patreon CEO Jack Conte responded by updating the company's blog post with more information.
"This was never (and still isn’t) about making more money for Patreon as a company. This is a strategic move to make our platform even better for creators and patrons in the future," he wrote.
"We want a Patreon where all creators receive their money as soon as a patron pledges. We want a Patreon where your patrons never have to wonder when they’ll be charged, or how much they’ll be charged, and this is the first step toward the improvements we’re making so that Patreon becomes a better system for everyone."