Update: Patreon Reverses Decision

If you haven't already heard, today Patreon announced that they were reversing their much maligned decision to shift payment processing fees onto the patrons.

I think this is a valuable lesson when it comes to consumer interaction. Here's what they learned:

1. People valued the low dollar pledge, especially in volume. The creators that could get the pledges and the people that make them understood the concept of crowd-sourced funding: a lot of small amounts can often beat a few big amounts.

2. Lots of pledges aggregated spreads the cost of the transaction out for less impact. The move that Patreon had initially planned would result in more individual transactions, at a cost of higher processing fees, resulting in the cost burden concentrated at the patron.

3. Creators don't actually pay the fees. There is only one source for the money: Patrons. So, ergo, the patron has already being paying it. This is the consumer expectation: the fees are baked into the price.

4. Talking to your customers is a good way to avoid a storm. Patreon has a couple of customers: creators and patrons. Creators give us a reason to go there, patrons enable it to continue. Patreon needs to be aware that these groups have a symbiotic relationship and that means don't mess with it.

Patreon has a few real issues to address in how they do the whole pledge system. No question that there is something not quite right there, I think a lot of us understood that, but there are better ways to address it. Prorated fees, partial content unlock, etc. There are many ways to fix some of the real concerns without messing with the relationship between creator and patron.

In any case, good for Patreon on reversing this decision.

(Also, yes, I'm overdue for some Art Candy - soon to come)