Services provided by Patreon
Patreon is an intermediary between content creators and consumers (“Patrons”). The value-added functions provided by Patreon are:
- Payment processing and management (subscription / per creation).
- VAT handling.
- Low fees for micropayments (through payment aggregation).
- Content hosting and access regulation.
- Social networking.
Patreon has recently announced changes to their fee structure which will make it significantly more expensive to support a large number of creators with small amounts, effectively eliminating the third point. For further information, read this discussion on Reddit, this blog post or head over to Twitter to witness the shitstorm. There’s also an interesting theory that financial regulations might be the true reason why Patreon suddenly shot themselves in the foot .
The only alternative providing all of the 5 functions listed above appears to be Drip (by Kickstarter). However, Drip is currently “invite-only” and not yet open to all creators.
All other alternatives I found may fulfill some of the functions, but not all of them. Nevertheless, they often charge higher fees than Patreon.
Snowdrift.coop maintains an excellent overview of crowdfunding and fundraising services (there are several lists on that page, be sure to scroll all the way down). However, many of them won’t solve the micropayment problem (notable exceptions are Flattr and Liberapay).
You could also have a look at marketplaces for digital goods, particularly if your supporters expect to get something in return for their payments. Here are two lists to get you started:
12 Platforms to Sell Digital Downloads
Sell Product Online
The majority of creators I used to support on Patreon offer direct donations through PayPal or via bank transfer. Obviously, this only satisfies the first point on my list, but it might still be an acceptable solution to many small donors who removed their pledges on Patreon in protest against the new fee structure.
- Replace Patreon with PayPal and MailChimp
- Replace Patreon with WordPress + WooCommerce
- For webcomics: Tapas
- Mighty Networks [looks similar to Patreon but doesn’t seem to aggregate payment or handle VAT]
- Ko-fi [a glorified PayPal donation button?]
- SteadyHQ [just like the new Patreon, but based in Germany and more expensive]
- Enty [a Japanese version of Patreon, probably NSFW]
- Spike Trotman on Drip – Kickstarter’s Answer to Patreon
- MakerSupport.com [big on free speech, not clear on micropayment support]
- So, here’s my story… Ep27: Patre-OFF [Podcast]
- Patreon’s Silence Is Destroying Their Two Greatest Successes