Patreon scraps plans to introduce new charges, and apologizes to users

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Artists' and creators' platform Patreon has scrapped controversial plans to introduce a new pricing structure after a vocal backlash from users.

The site -- used by many artists and creators to raise money -- had planned to add a service charge to pledges placed by patrons. While the new pricing structure would have reduced fees paid by artists, there was a fear that fewer pledges would be made due to fees having to be shouldered by those pledging money. CEO Jack Conte has now apologized and says that the company will work on a better system that does not unfairly impact upon smaller payments.

In a blog post addressed to creators and patrons, Conte says simply: "We've heard you loud and clear. We're not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week."

That's not to say that changes are not still on the cards, however. Conte says that the now-scrapped changes were going to be introduced in order to fix problems with the currently system. He says that these problems still need to be addressed, but now the company will work with its users to come up with a solution.

Conte says:

Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I'm sorry. It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.

He says that users of the site need to be more closely involved in any changes that might be introduced, and highlights key pieces of feedback that will be taken into account moving forward:

  • The new payments system disproportionately impacted $1 - $2 patrons. We have to build a better system for them.
  • Aggregation is highly-valued, and we underestimated that.
  • Fundamentally, creators should own the business decisions with their fans, not Patreon. We overstepped our bounds and injected ourselves into that relationship, against our core belief as a business.

The new pricing structure was due to come into force on Monday December 18, and introduced a 2.9 percent fee plus $0.35 on every pledge -- making smaller pledges disproportionately expensive. For now things will remain as they are, but expect new changes to be announced in the near future.

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