Patreon

Last updated

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 inEnglish
Headquarters,
U.S.
Created by
Key peopleJack Conte (CEO)
URL patreon.com
RegistrationRequired
Users 3 million monthly active patrons
LaunchedMay 2, 2013;8 years ago (2013-05-02)
Current statusActive

Patreon ( /ˈptriɒn/ , /-ən/ ) is an American membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service. It helps creators and artists earn a monthly income by providing rewards and perks to their subscribers. Patreon charges a commission of 5 to 12 percent of creators' monthly income, in addition to payment processing fees.

Contents

Patreon is used by YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, adult content creators, [1] and other categories of creators who post regularly online. [2] It allows artists to receive funding directly from their fans, or patrons, on a recurring basis or per work of art. [3] The company, started by musician Jack Conte and developer Sam Yam [4] [5] in 2013, is based in San Francisco. [6]

History

Logo used from May 2013 to June 2017 Patreon logo with wordmark.svg
Logo used from May 2013 to June 2017

Patreon was co-founded in May 2013 by Sam Yam and musician Jack Conte, [4] [7] who was looking for a way to make a living from his 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, Patreon raised a further $15 million 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 put the total raised for Patreon at $47.1 million. [13]

They signed up more than 125,000 "patrons" in their 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 to 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 15 gigabytes 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 January 2017, Patreon announced that it had sent over $100,000,000 to creators since its inception. [22]

In May 2017, Patreon announced that it had over 50,000 active creators and 1 million monthly patrons, and was on track to send over $150 million to creators in 2017. [23]

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,[ clarification needed ] a mobile app called Lens, and a service to set up exclusive livestreams. [24]

In August 2018, Patreon announced the acquisition of Memberful, a membership services company. [25]

Business model

Patreon users are grouped by content type, such as video/films, podcast, comedy, comics, games, and education. 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. [26] 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. [27] [28]

Patrons can unlock monetary tiers that increase the content type they see from the user. Several content creators on Patreon are also YouTubers. They can 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 exchange for aiding the Patreon user's goal. [29] 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. [30]

As of February 2014, almost half of the artists on Patreon produce YouTube videos, while most of the rest are writers, webcomics artists, musicians, or podcasters. [31] 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. [32]

Unlike other online platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, which use trained algorithms to identify potentially inappropriate content, Patreon's trust and safety team monitors users and investigates complaints of Terms of Service violations. [33]

Bans of specific users

In July 2017, conservative YouTube personality Lauren Southern was banned from Patreon over concerns about Génération Identitaire's blocking of NGO ships in the Mediterranean, ferrying migrants to Europe off the Libyan coast. A letter she received from Patreon said she was removed for "raising funds in order to take part in activities that are likely to cause loss of life," referring to an incident in May involving Southern, and the larger Defend Europe mission in July, which she covered on YouTube. Philosopher, writer, and podcast host Sam Harris, who also received contributions from patrons on the website, objected to Patreon's approach and announced that he would be leaving the platform because of it. [34] Shortly thereafter Patreon deleted the account of It's Going Down , a left-wing news website, for allegedly doxing. [35]

In December 2018, Patreon banned activist Milo Yiannopoulos a day after he created an account and also banned Carl Benjamin because he used homophobic and racist slurs in a YouTube interview in February 2018. [33] Benjamin claimed that Patreon had taken his words out of context [36] and that "the video in question should not fall under Patreon’s rules because it was on YouTube." [33]

This ban was criticized by Sam Harris and some American libertarians, who have accused it of being politically motivated. [33] Furthermore, Jordan Peterson announced a plan to launch an alternative service that will be safe from political interference, and jointly announced with Dave Rubin in a January 1, 2019, video that they will be leaving Patreon by January 15, 2019, as a direct response to its treatment of Carl Benjamin. [37] [38]

Patreon banned comedian Owen Benjamin following alleged hate speech. Benjamin filed an arbitration claim for $2.2 million (later upped to $3.5 million) and told fans to file identical claims against Patreon as required by the Terms of Use in an attempt to pressure them into a settlement. Benjamin said that the suit(s) had a basis due to a disrupted economic relationship. Patreon launched a counter-suit against 72 individuals who filed arbitration claims and sought a preliminary injunction to stay all arbitration proceedings pending the outcome of its counter-suit. The injunction was denied, meaning that Patreon may be required to prefund the arbitration claims against itself up to $10,000 per claim. Patreon had previously changed its terms of service on January 1, 2020, to end the conditions under which the suits attempted by Benjamin's supporters (but not himself) occurred, as the lawsuits were filed on January 6. The terms-of-service update stated that only the person banned from the platform would be allowed to file a complaint and that any arbitration fees would have to be paid by the person or entity filing the complaint. The suits open the door to lawsuits from supporters of other Patreon users banned from the platform, with far-right freelance journalist Lauren Southern preparing her suit. [39] [40]

Changes in content guidelines and terms of service

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 a backlash from several creators, including some 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. [41] 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. [42]

In 2018, Patreon was accused of cracking down on ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos. [43]

On October 24, 2020, Patreon announced that it would ban all accounts "that advance disinformation promoting the QAnon conspiracy theory". [44]

Regarding adult content

In March 2014, Patreon announced via email that creators of sexual content on their platform would no longer be allowed to use PayPal services through Patreon to fulfill subscription payments. [45] In July 2016, Patreon emailed their content creators announcing that payments through PayPal would resume for adult-oriented creators. [46] Those who worked within the "Not Safe For Work" categories on Patreon could accept payments through PayPal via PayPal's subsidiary Braintree. [35] However, in October 2017, Patreon reverted its stance on NSFW content, introducing new restrictions. [47] They published an expanded version of the community guidelines with a broader definition of sexual content, triggering a backlash from some adult content creators. [48] [49] [50] A petition in protest of the changes gathered 1,800 signatures, which drew a response from Jack Conte. [51] [52]

In June 2018, Patreon started to ban some creators who produced adult content. [53]

See also

Related Research Articles

PayPal Online financial services company

PayPal Holdings, Inc. is an American multinational financial technology company operating an online payments system in the majority of countries that support online money transfers, and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods such as checks and money orders. The company operates as a payment processor for online vendors, auction sites and many other commercial users, for which it charges a fee.

YouTube Online video platform owned by Google

YouTube is an American online video sharing and social media platform owned by Google. It was launched in February 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. It is the second most visited website, with more than one billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day. As of May 2019, videos were being uploaded at a rate of more than 500 hours of content per minute.

Vimeo, Inc. is an American video hosting, sharing, and services platform provider headquartered in New York City. Vimeo focuses on the delivery of high-definition video across a range of devices. Vimeo's business model is through software as a service (SaaS). They derive revenue by providing subscription plans for businesses and video content producers. Vimeo provides its subscribers with tools for video creation, editing, and broadcasting, enterprise software solutions, as well as the means for video professionals to connect with clients and other professionals. As of 2021, the site has 200 million users, with around 1.6 million subscribers to its services.

Tumblr American microblogging and social networking website

Tumblr is an American microblogging and social networking website founded by David Karp in 2007 and currently owned by Automattic. The service allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users' blogs. Bloggers can also make their blogs private. For bloggers many of the website's features are accessed from a "dashboard" interface.

Owen Benjamin American alt-right internet personality

Owen Benjamin Smith is an American alt-right internet personality and former stand-up comedian and actor. He began his career as a comedic actor, with roles in films including The House Bunny and All's Faire in Love, and in the television sitcom Sullivan & Son. Following his career in acting he became a stand-up comedian. Benjamin faced increasing difficulty in booking shows after several incidents, including describing an individual as a "child molester" for raising a transgender child and using a racial slur onstage. His political views became more extreme, and he began publishing more political content online. In 2019, he was banned from several mainstream social networks and platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for violations of their policies on hate speech, and moved to more lenient alt-tech platforms.

Jack Conte American musician and entrepreneur

Jack Conte is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is one half of the band Pomplamoose, along with his wife Nataly Dawn, and CEO and co-founder of Patreon.

Hank Green American vlogger, author, and entrepreneur

William Henry "Hank" Green II is an American vlogger, science communicator, entrepreneur, author, internet producer, and musician. He is known for producing the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, where he and his older brother, author John Green, regularly upload videos, as well as for creating and hosting the educational YouTube channels Crash Course and SciShow. He has also advocated for and organized social activism, created and hosted a number of other YouTube channels and podcasts, released music albums, and amassed a large following on TikTok.

Flattr is a Swedish-based microdonation subscription service, where subscribers opt-in to pay a monthly patronage to help fund their favourite websites and creators.

SoundCloud Online audio distribution platform

SoundCloud is a Swedish-founded online audio distribution platform and music sharing website based in Berlin, Germany that enables its users to upload, promote, and share audio, as well as a digital signal processor enabling listeners to stream audio. Started in 2007 by Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, SoundCloud has grown to be one of the largest music streaming services. SoundCloud offers both free and paid membership on the platform, available for desktop and mobile devices.

Lindsay Ellis American YouTuber and film critic

Lindsay Carole Ellis is an American film critic, YouTuber, and author. From 2008 to 2014, she was part of the Channel Awesome production company under the web name The Nostalgia Chick, a counterpart to the Nostalgia Critic. In 2014, Ellis ended her affiliation with Channel Awesome to focus more on long-form video essays. Her debut novel, Axiom's End, published in July 2020, became a New York Times Best Seller.

Twitch (service) Live-streaming platform

Twitch is an American video live streaming service that focuses on video game live streaming, including broadcasts of esports competitions. In addition, it offers music broadcasts, creative content, and more recently, "in real life" streams. It is operated by Twitch Interactive, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. It was introduced in June 2011 as a spin-off of the general-interest streaming platform Justin.tv. Content on the site can be viewed either live or via video on demand.

PewDiePie Swedish YouTuber

Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known online as PewDiePie, is a Swedish YouTuber known primarily for his Let's Play videos and comedic formatted videos and shows. Kjellberg's popularity on YouTube and extensive media coverage have made him one of the most noted online personalities and content creators. He has been portrayed in the media as a figurehead for YouTube and as being almost synonymous with YouTube gaming. In 2016, Time magazine named him as one of the world's 100 most influential people.

YouTube copyright issues relate to how the Google-owned site implements its protection methods. The systems are designed to protect the exclusivity of a given creator and the rights to reproduce their work. YouTube uses automated measures such as copyright strikes, Content ID and Copyright Verification Program. However, these methods have been criticized for favoring corporations and the manifestation of a copyright claim industry that seeks financial gain through exploitation of the monetization of uploaded content.

Tapas (website) Webcomics hosting website

Tapas, formerly known as Tapastic and originally known as Comic Panda, is a webtoon and prose publishing website and app. It was created by South Korean entrepreneur Chang Kim in 2012, who is the CEO of the company behind Tapas, called Tapas Media.

Belle Delphine South African-born English Internet celebrity, pornographic actress, model, and YouTuber

Mary-Belle Kirschner, better known as Belle Delphine, is a South African-born English Internet celebrity, pornographic actress, model, and YouTuber. Her social media accounts feature erotic and cosplay modelling, sometimes blending the two together. Delphine's online persona began in 2018, through her cosplay modeling on Instagram. Her posts on the platform were often influenced by popular memes and trends.

Liberapay French crowd-funding platform founded in 2015

Liberapay is a non-profit organization subscription payment platform. It was founded in 2015 in France.

Elsagate Controversy concerning a genre of YouTube videos presumably aimed at children, but containing inappropriate themes

Elsagate is a neologism referring to the controversy surrounding videos on YouTube and YouTube Kids that are categorized as "child-friendly", but which contain themes that are inappropriate for children. Most videos under this classification are notable for presenting content such as graphic violence, sexual situations, fetishes, obscene language, drugs, alcohol, injections, toilet humor and dangerous or upsetting situations and activities.

BitChute is a video hosting service launched by Ray Vahey in January 2017. It is known for accommodating far-right individuals and conspiracy theorists, and for hosting hate speech. Some creators who use BitChute have been banned from YouTube; some others crosspost content to both platforms or post more extreme content only to BitChute. BitChute claims to use peer-to-peer WebTorrent technology for video distribution, though this has been disputed.

Thinkspot Social networking service

Thinkspot is an online social networking service started by Jordan Peterson following the banning of several content producers from the membership platform Patreon. Peterson and Dave Rubin conceived of the site together as a platform centered on free speech. Currently in public beta release, it has received mostly negative reviews from media critics.

Nebula (streaming service) Video streaming service

Nebula Streaming Service or just Nebula is a global independent video-on-demand streaming service provider. Nebula was started founders Dave Wiskus and 75 creators that were part of the Standard.TV creator community and is meant to complement creators other distribution channels, namely YouTube and podcast platforms. It is owned as a joint venture between Standard and the creators with a minory holding by Curiosity Stream, and profit is divided 50/50 between the creators and Standard, with the creator pool paid out based on watch time.

References

  1. "Patreon Creators Statistics: Graphs + Analysis".
  2. Manjoo, Farhad (March 15, 2017). "How The Internet Is Saving Culture, Not Killing It". NYTimes.
  3. The California Report.org: "Creating Patrons of the Arts Through Crowdfunding" Archived July 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine July 11–13, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Jack Conte interviewed on the TV show Triangulation on the TWiT.tv network
  5. Olson, Matthew (May 7, 2019). "How Patreon Has Helped And Hindered Creators, As Told By 13 Users". Digg. Retrieved May 8, 2019.
  6. Patreon.org: Intro Archived March 1, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Accessed July 14, 2014
  7. "Patreon: Jack Conte and Sam Yam : How I Built This with Guy Raz". NPR.org. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  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 (March 4, 2015). "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 News. November 23, 2015. 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. Conte, Jack (January 9, 2017). "Creators have made $100M on Patreon". Medium. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  23. Constine, Josh (May 18, 2017). "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.
  24. Gensler, Andy (June 14, 2017). "Patreon Launches New Tools Following Forecast of $150M In Subscriber Funding". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 14, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  25. Matsakis, Louise (August 8, 2018). "Patreon Makes a Move as Tech Giants Encroach on Its Territory". WIRED. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  26. "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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. "How Creative Entrepreneurs are Using Patreon to Build Their Businesses". smallbiztrends.com. March 9, 2016. Archived from the original on February 3, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  30. "What Patreon's Growth Says about the Future for Creators". Patreon. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  31. "Explore Top Creators on Patreon - Patreon". Archived from the original on July 16, 2014.
  32. "Community Guidelines". Patreon. Archived from the original on December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  33. 1 2 3 4 Bowles, Nellie (December 24, 2018). "Patreon Bars Anti-Feminist for Racist Speech, Inciting Revolt". The New York Times . Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  34. 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.
  35. 1 2 "The real consequences of Patreon's adult content crackdown". Engadget. Archived from the original on May 16, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  36. "You Cannot Trust Patreon". youtube.com. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  37. Goggin, Benjamin (December 17, 2018). "Top Patreon creators, of the 'Intellectual Dark Web,' say they're launching an alternate crowdfunding platform not 'susceptible to arbitrary censorship'". Business Insider.
  38. "We Are Leaving Patreon: Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson Announcement". The Rubin Report via YouTube.
  39. "Court denies Patreon injunction against fans of 'canceled' comedian". i24NEWS. August 2, 2020.
  40. Goforth, Claire (July 6, 2020). "Alt-right comedian asked his fans to sue Patreon. It backfired". The Daily Dot.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Wilson, Gaby (December 10, 2018). "ASMR creators want you to know it's art, not a weird sexual fetish". Vice News . Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  44. Greenspan, Rachel (October 24, 2020). "Patreon is banning QAnon conspiracy theorists, joining a growing group of tech companies taking action against the movement". Business Insider . Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  45. Violet Blue. "PayPal, Square and big banking's war on the sex industry". www.engadget.com. Verizon Media Inc. Retrieved June 6, 2021.
  46. 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.
  47. O'Donovan, Caroline (October 25, 2017). "Patreon Updated Its Rules On Adult Content, And NSFW Content Creators Are Worried". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  48. 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.
  49. Kelion, Leo (October 25, 2017). "Porn-makers challenge Patreon's crowdfunding ban". BBC News. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  50. 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.
  51. "An Open Letter to Patreon". Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  52. Conte, Jack. "A Note to Our Adult Content Creators". Patreon.com. Archived from the original on February 5, 2020. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  53. Cole, Samantha (June 28, 2018). "Patreon Is Suspending Adult Content Creators Because of Its Payment Partners". Vice.