Once I’ve sent out Christmas Haiku to everyone who were subscribers to my campaign on December 18th, my relationship with your platform as a creator is over. I’ll still continue to pledge to three people whose work deserves my respect and support, but I won’t be reinstated pledges I cancelled, and I certainly won’t support anyone else who uses the service again. I think it is worth explaining to you why an about face over the ridiculous issue of fees doesn’t change a single thing for someone like me.
I’m still not convinced you grasp what the problem is to begin with.
The main reason I chose your service was not, I now realise, the convenience of a one-stop crowdfunding experience. Being busy with other things did make the platform really attractive, and that was backed up with the appearance of a group of people who appeared to genuinely care about creative process and not the bottom line. Of course it matters to get paid for your work, but with this being problematic at present in the real world, virtual success will undoubtedly begin to mirror issues elsewhere. Not everybody will be bringing in thousands of dollars a month and now you realise just how many people depended on the tiny gifts of faith to keep them sane, I suspect there could well be some pause for thought.
However, my biggest complaint, and the reason why even with the about face in your attitude I won’t return, is the belief that for every creator, money matters more than process. It is the modern, hugely misguided belief that how much you earn is the best reflection of any true success, and when companies like you define modus operandi for the platform in financial statements… Principles matter, and cannot be swept under a carpet: when you decide to provide handy links for creators to help claw back lost cash it is clear that principle is far less important than your initial assertions would suggest. If this were just about money however it could be far more dispassionately rationalised, but there is an integrity gap that continues not to be filled, and that bothers me greatly.
It may also seem disingenuous for me to continue funding people on your platform, but I have pledged support to these people and that will not be affected by whatever suspect business decisions you make, either now or in the future. I’m fairly confident, looking at my cancelled pledges, that those people won’t lose a lot of sleep over my principled stance either, so nobody that I care about really loses, except myself, which continues to be of some interest to those who are now approaching me with surprise. Why, if the platform was so convenient and useful, do I now decide to leave and not come back?
Your exit surveys are criminally vague when it comes to challenging pledges over reasoning: you have to care enough about someone when you take their money away to then admit the real truth as to that withdrawal of funds, and most individuals when they choose to crowdfund to begin with won’t want to admit they can no longer afford to do so on departure. Amazingly though, nobody was backwards in coming forwards around the reasons why they cancelled over this affair. Looking objectively at my individual cases, I don’t believe any more that Patreon really does care about people like them or me. From what I have seen and heard, what I believe is that it matters more to produce a profitable business model that can be sold in time to the highest bidder. I am not special or individual, we are simply users to be counted as assets.
However, without all of this I would not have been encouraged leave and go it alone: without six months where it became apparent I had material that could be sold, there would no be the confidence to move forward and pursue my dreams. I think that’s what makes this whole sordid affair even more upsetting: I trusted your platform to mirror my own integrity, and it failed. My good opinion once lost is lost for ever. I might say that in jest, but there’s a good reason why Darcy is one of my favourite characters in English literature. He and I are both shy, nervous and reticent to reveal ourselves in public. Once we put faith in something and it becomes a personal experience, to have that faith ignored and effectively dismissed as not important is not a blow that we will easily recover from.
I don’t want to be a successful businesswoman. I need to be a happy creator. Your platform seems to believe I have to be one to become the other, and that’s not true. I don’t want to be associated publicly with people who aren’t interested in artistic integrity, unless it makes them a profit. Therefore, I’ll find another way to help support myself, and you are no longer part of that process.
I hope you think long and hard about the damage you have done, not only to your brand, but to people like me whose trust is lost forever.