Patreon has been a revolution for many creators who upload their content to the Internet and look for a way to pay for their work. Advertising is no longer the only way to finance on the Internet.
The Internet has been cradle of creations that would have no place outside him: Media, YouTube channels, comics, stories, podcasts, music One of the main reasons the network has managed to attract so many content creators is how relatively easy and cheap it is to start producing and distributing through this channel. For a long time, once the creators managed to attract people who enjoyed the content they produced, they included ads of some sort and thereby made a living, or at least extra income.
However, for a while now, advertising on the web has been generating considerably less money, mainly due to two factors: on the one hand, the typical ads on the web (banners and videos) have been greatly devalued (less and less pay per click), and on the other hand, fewer and fewer people see the ads due to the boom of thead-blocking.
As a result, living on the content produced on the Internet is becoming a much more complicated task. If you don't have a large number of consumers, advertising is not livelihood enough, and consequently, you have to live with the money of your consumers or users.
Exploring forms of financing on the Internet
There are mainly two ways to finance yourself if you decide to stop advertising: one is to close the content to those who do not pay a certain fee and the other is ask for donations to maintain the project but continue with content open to everyone. The first solution is all very well for those who are already well-known and have some prestige, but for most mortals closing the content is suicide and a growth stopper.
Therefore, asking for donations from consumers who enjoy the content the most has become the most common practice among those who try to live (or in many cases survive) based on the money of their users. Thus, a small niche of especially loyal fans puts the money while the bulk of consumers is responsible for making the work known to more people than in the future they could start donating.
Although some creators have opted for their own donation systems, most have switched from the queen platform to regular consumer-to-creator donations: Patreon.
Patreon: history and philosophy
Patreon was created in May 2013 by Jack Conte, who was looking for a way to finance his YouTube videos where he puts his music. The philosophy was and is the following: one keeps his work open on the platform he has been on so far and pdevise periodic donations offering small extras in exchange (For example, early access to content, an extra discussion space, decision-making about the future of the project).
Just 18 months after its creation, at the end of 2014, it had already 125000 patterns (that's what they call someone who donates money) sending over a million euros a month to creators spread all over the world. Among all that is financed by Patreon, YouTube channels, musicians, cartoonists, blogs and podcasts stand out, although you can also find writers, photographers, painters or even sculptors; Patreon has no barriers in that regard.
We interview experienced Patreon
With everything, making the jump to Patreon is a very risky bet: you can lose or gain a lot. We have interviewed people behind two Spanish Patreon campaigns to learn about their history: why they happened to Patreon and how they have been doing.
On the one hand, we have spoken with the guys from AnaitGames, who cover video game criticism and news, both in writing and in a weekly podcast. They started on Patreon a year ago and they currently raise $ 3,800 a month; Fran (a.k.a pinjed), Pp Snchez and Vctor Martnez (a.k.a chiconuclear), three members of the team, tell us about their experience with crowdfunding.
It is not that we did not like advertising, it is that advertising did not like us
We decided to bet on Patreon because we had no other choice. It is not that we did not like advertising, it is that advertising did not like us. () We needed to find another way to finance ourselves, Pp explains. We are not the only ones, Joystiq or GameTrailers are very hard examples of how sometimes talent and work are not enoughFran commented.
Appealing to the audience of a lifetime
On their expectations at the beginning, they were not very optimistic, as Fran tells us: They were almost negative, I would say: Believe that we are going to hit a cathedral host, but it is worth trying before closing the shed without giving it one last chance. In the end, readers have been the ones who have exceeded any expectations and have kept the ship afloat. I am especially motivated more by the love they show us in each email and each comment, by each pat when we hit the mark, than by the money. Although, of course, love is not eaten.
The bulk of the contributions are those that are there from the beginning, those of the lifelong reader
The idea, of course, is that the Patreon allows us to make more and better content to attract new visitors that maybe will support us as well. the bulk of the contributions are those that are there from the beginning, those of the lifelong reader. And although new patterns are arriving every day, they serve to compensate those who cannot or do not want to continue paying, something perfectly normal tells Pp about the evolution that has taken place so far, and the one they are expecting.
In conclusion, Vctor values the general experience in this way: We have done better and worse, but overall it is without a doubt the most liberating and happy professional experience of my entire life. At last we have the feeling that our future depends exclusively on being the best in our own, and I think that has positively influenced the quality of our work. For a certain type of creation (one like ours, periodic, public spirit, cultural and somewhat far from the standards) I think it is the only way to stay alive. It is unstable and adds extra pressure that can be hard, but crowdfunding and subscriptions are the only way to survive when working at a certain scale.
Paying for something already done, an innovative concept in crowdfunding
The other case that we bring is a completely different one in terms of aspirations and dimensions: Javier Pastor had already been writing technology for 10 years on his personal blog for the love of art when he thought that maybe he could earn some extra money with Patreon.
It is not about paying for something that someone will do, but for something that someone already does
Thus, Javier started asking for these donations, especially as an experiment; I could afford it because I wasn't risking anything: Patreonme seemed like a great idea because it wasn't about paying for something someone would do in the future, but for something someone already did. It didn't matter if you published webcomics, videos, music or wrote: in all cases People who have been following you for a long time had the opportunity to contribute for enjoying those contents. It was a perfect opportunity to see if what I wrote could be valued in that way.
I suppose one always expects more, especially when you see how many similar projects – there is everything in both the number of publications and the quality – had a brutal acceptance in the United States. There, the mentality on the subject of paying for entertainment and content is different, and there is an attitude much more likely to contribute if you like and compensate you for something.
I already assumed that participation would be low and after a few months it became clear that about one in a thousand Incognitosis readers contributes via Patreon.
On the one hand, it seems fantastic to me that there are 40 people who decide to contribute a dollar, or three, or five, or even ten a month to the campaign, but it is the exception that confirms the rule. Javier tells us this about the expectations that were formed when he saw how many American campaigns worked; There is no doubt that the cultural issue affects a lot when asking for donations.
Javi values his experience as very modest, although he also finds it understandable: income has been as I say almost anecdotal, confirming that proportion of which he spoke. My traffic is modest – ranging from 42,000 to 43,000 unique per month – but contributions are infrequent. ()
Nor do I want to sound like a beggar: whoever wants to contribute already knows that they can do it and has the tool for it: if they do not do it, the content does not compensate them, and oh hey respect.
The cross is completely free
To conclude, he also makes a general assessment of how he sees the future of crowdfunding and Patreon: If you dedicate yourself to a very specific niche and manage to form a faithful community that really values what you do because you do it very -but very well-, you have certain options.
In our culture, donating or betting pasta in this way is not done so even in those cases I see it as very complicated. I hope that in the future other models for content on the Internet will end up being imposed, and that should make it possible for the young and old to subsist on costs.
There is no doubt that Patreon is assuming a revolution in the way of financing itself from many creators. The Internet needs to take steps in this direction to get rid of the cross for free, and these types of initiatives help a lot to achieve it.