Patreon, the crowdfunding platform for artists and content creators, has made dubious decisions in the last few years. Most recently, it is attempting to exert editorial control over its users’ works. In this YouTube video by Clownfish TV, the hosts Kneon and Geeky Sparkles opine why they don’t recommend Patreon anymore. They also take a critical look at its stock valuation, and recommend alternatives for people to make money online.
Patreon originated as a payment processor for online creators, providing a way for their fans to donate money, while taking a cut for itself. Many YouTubers turned to it during the “Adpocalypse,” when YouTube advertising revenue dried up. However, Patreon angered the community when it expelled Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, for his political views. Many users, even those who don’t agree with Sargon, left the platform in support of free speech.
Kneon and Geeky read a post by a Patreon user called Redamz, who is developing a indie video game. Patreon is trying to censor the game for being lewd, even though erotica has been a moneymaker on the site for a long time. The moderators and/or executives at Patreon do not enforce rules evenly, if they bother with them at all. This is a problem in many Silicon Valley-based companies. Redamz has already collected enough money from backers to finish his or her project, and plans to leave Patreon immediately. They do mention Patreon competitors Subscribestar and Pixiv, which have much better free speech policies.
The video then moves on to a Wall Street Journal story about Patreon winning a stock valuation of $4 billion. This is dubious considering the company’s user backlash and employee layoffs. It hasn’t been profitable in almost its entire existence. Perhaps investors see future potential as independent entertainers replace Hollywood. But Patreon is too poorly run to be trusted.
Clownfish TV run their own websites in addition to their YouTube channel. You can find web design tutorials on YouTube and make your own using WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix. Then you can create a merch store, your own donation buttons to your PayPal account or cryptocurrency wallet, and run affiliate links to products for sale and collect commissions. There is also the previously mentioned Subscribestar. It simply doesn’t pay to use Patreon as your middleman.