Geek Proud, GeekOut.

Patreon: An Angry Rant

These days, it’s oh so easy to exploit people who read your website. Like a well published newspaper, your website runs like clockwork. So clearly then, you deserve the very best from your readers, as you provide them oh so many days, weeks, months of content. Ah give me a break, we’ve come so far and yet the greedy remain greedy, but the seriously hard working can get the reward they deserve. Patreon provides the hard working with a really stable platform to get paid for their work; however it’s also opened up a very lazy type of person. In this article, I’ll talk to you about Mr. X – An account I saw on Patreon whose name I have obfuscated so I’m not calling them out, but rather the attitude they have.

Anyone who knows me will be aware that GeekOut will never go on Patreon, which is where this sudden angry rant comes from. Oh sure, there are legitimate uses for the platform, which I will actually talk about in the paragraphs below, but I am going to address all of those people who set up a website, talking about what should be a passion subject and trying to spin it into a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. Sometimes the reward of building up a reader base, or a group of fans and yes, friends, is far greater than the potential £50 you can make a month.

NOTE: Let me start off by saying that no one I have associated with via GeekOut has caused this ire; instead this has been brought upon by people who work perhaps less than an hour a day at their craft. The example I have, is of a man who writes an anime blog. Let’s call him Mr. X. He is full of hopes and dreams that he will become the next Anime News Network. He will be paid all of the money to write about anime in the most grandiose of ways. He will be writing regular content, because he wants to please his paying, adoring fans…

… And yet, Mr. X didn’t take the time, nor did he have the patience to put in the damned hard work needed to get anywhere! So what did he do? He got upset and he told Twitter how bad a service Patreon was. Because he made nothing.

Sure, Mr. X is deep down a very nice guy and we all like nice guys, but god damn, he made his website a staggering one month before his blog was put up on the creators funding platform. Now, three months later, he whines about how Patreon has done nothing for him. The irony is that Patreon has given him what he has given them; nothing. Nothing special at least, nothing to talk about. See, he set up his website, posted some obligatory posts… and then got angry that he was getting no reward for the 10 minute process of setting a blog up. It doesn’t matter if you have loads of experience blogging, it also doesn’t matter if you add no extra value to a product. What matters is that you get your own Patreon account, right?

In seriousness, there are very legitimate uses of Patreon, including artists and video editors. Patreon allows you to reward the people who donate to your brand, which you should take advantage of. You cannot make a Patreon to fund your dreams without offering a little more. A paywall doesn’t solve the problem, but rather a well established community does. If you think paywalls work, you should see the bounce rate on some of the biggest websites that have implemented a paywall. It’s quite shocking, but all together not too surprising.

To everyone reading, Mr. X sounded absolutely dreadful, right? But seriously, Mr. X really isn’t a bad person; he’s just seriously misguided. He thinks that blogging is a get rich quick scheme, but having been running GeekOut South-West for over three years, I can tell you that those who stick it out are hard grafters who have nothing but love and dedication to their craft; they have a drive to provide rich content (or services) for their friends, family and fans. Let me be real with all of you and give you some actual financial figures that GeekOut South-West makes for us; from Joel and his interviews, to me and my video editing. Bearing in mind we run monthly meetups; we scour the internet for interesting and geek relevant information, to which we do a full write-up of said information; we make YouTube videos when we can; We work with smaller communities to try and promote them and so on.

The sum we make per month, is that number you see above. This is our monthly income from GeekOut South-West. Sure; this doesn’t take into consideration the occasional article we’ve had sponsored, which also includes other work outside of GeekOut South-West that we’ve earned through the website. Yeah, we don’t actually earn anything by running this website… And even though I make a loss every year by running the website, to me, the website is worth more than the money I spend on it. It’s given me an outlet; it’s made me appreciate those who work hard and it’s also given me the desire to improve what I do here. Whilst I will never make a Patreon account, I’m not against people using it for the right reasons. I agree people deserve to make a living out of what they love… But don’t just open a blog and expect to be paid for it. There are bloggers I’ve come to know through running this website, some of them have been running blogs for a very long time indeed, who also make nothing. Whilst I have no qualms about trying to turn GeekOut into something bigger, I’ll never open a Patreon account just to say “I want money for doing what I do”. Afterall, if you’re reading this, chances are you’d not expect to pay me for my work. If you did want to donate – That’s fantastic! In the future, I’ll have an option for you to do just that… But I also don’t mind if you look at this website and just think “I kinda like it here”.

Whilst I have been rather critical of Patreon users here, I am not against a well implemented Patreon campaign. This article also isn’t an attack on Patreon itself, which does a really good job for those who treat it with the respect it deserves. Perhaps you’re well known for donating to charity, or perhaps you’re a new artist with lots of talent? Whatever it is, be unique and remember that really, this is going to be a full time job for you. Don’t be another of what you are – Be the best of what you can be. Learn what makes you be you and celebrate it. Show it off and let us know: What do you think of Patreon? Have you seen accounts like Mr. X’s? How do you think people should stand out? Finally, do you have a Patreon account and what do you do differently? Let us know in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.

12 responses

  1. I do have a Patreon account for Falcon Game Reviews, but only for funding the site itself. I made my case as clear as possible. I didn’t start the Patreon page to help pay my bills or buy myself things. I also chose to leave everything open for everyone. Nothing is locked behind a subscription, and there’s only one level of subscription as well.

    It seems like many people think that Patreon is a free money generator.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

    • And that is a good way to use it – If you’re looking for a bit to support the site, rock on. That is what it’s good for. When people make it out to be their claim to a livelihood, I think they should consider: What happens if Patreon goes down? What happens if people stop funding them?

      Interestingly, the money I have received on sponsored, paid articles have paid for 3-4 months of meetup costs here or there. I would love to turn this into a job, but like most responsible websites, I realised I had to be reasonable :)

      Liked by 1 person

      May 8, 2017 at 9:47 am

  2. It seems that with Patreon, some of the effort required to build a website enough to the point where you can profit off of ads, is pretty much lost. I think that if Patreon doesn’t get some sort of serious regulation soon, the place might get overrun by amateurs and ‘misguided’ people.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    • You know, that’s the issue I was wondering myself. When does “a passion” become a business? Why aren’t there people checking this? It’s mad!

      But, for the ones they serve who are used to raising capital in this way, Patreon is great.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 8, 2017 at 11:35 am

      • It’s kind of like Kickstarter in a way. Every project is either great or terrible with no real middle ground.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      • Absolutely – There are just as many duff Kickstarter campaigns. Yet, one of the most genius was for potato salad. What a world we live in ;)!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 8, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      • Ah, I nearly went two years without remembering that potato salad thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 8, 2017 at 1:56 pm

  3. Chris Scott

    I’m still not sure how I feel about Patreon. I certainly have no ill will towards those that use the service but I’m personally not fully comfortable with it as a platform. Something just seems off about it for me. At least with Kickstarter, I’m putting it towards something (be that a game, a show, a book, a movie, etc…) and while it can slip into the void and become vaporware, I know what I am funding. And I am only doing it once. Patreon seems more nebulous. Where exactly is my money going…
    And while I’d love to get paid to write about geek culture or to produce my podcasts, that’s not why I do it. I do it because I like to, nothing more and nothing less. Maybe it’s my age, at 38, I had my chance to break in to the industry and I backed off of it and now this is just a fun hobby. Who knows… Anyway, I’m not completely down with the platform.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 17, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    • A lot of people see it as a platform to get paid; Really it should be a platform to supplicate. I think you’re right on your analysis, but as you say: No ill will to those who use it properly. Just, there’s too many brand, brand new blogs on the platform y’know?

      Like

      May 17, 2017 at 5:31 pm

  4. I’ll start by saying I have a patreon since this weekend, but I’m hoping to use it weirdly more like a kickstarter… In mine the patrons don’t get charged until I’ve finished what I’m making. Probably not a good business model but I guess I’m the opposite of Mr.X here who wants something for nothing lol

    Liked by 1 person

    June 7, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    • See, if you have a goal to provide actual content for those who pay, more power to you. As I say in this article, it’s not about slamming the platform, nor the genuine users. It’s about recognising those who are Mr.X :)

      Thanks for the comment! I will check your page out!

      Like

      June 7, 2017 at 7:52 pm

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