Aardvark DailyNew Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.
Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk
Please visit the sponsor!
Time was that a small but dedicated band of content creators committed to making regular YouTube videos which attracted a regular audience.
Google saw the opportunity to turn their efforts into money and offered them "Youtube Channel Partnerships". This meant that "the chosen ones" who'd proven their worth could monetise their channels by the inclusion of advertising.
And all was good with the world.
Consumers of YouTube videos got good quality content for free and only a very few of those channels (the "partners") carried ads. The partnered content creators were able to pay their bills or even afford the occasional holiday. Advertisers were assured that their videos would only appear on these carefully vetted and chosen channels, so as to avoid the risk of being associated with "unsavoury" material.
And then, as we all know (because I've already told you several times before -- but bear with me), YouTube got greedy and decided that *everyone* could monetise their videos.
That hurt many of the previously privileged "partners" because their earnings dropped significantly, as the advertising pie was cut into far smaller slices.
The former "partners" weathered the storm and responded by creating even more content to make up the shortfall and all was again good (but not quite so good) with the world.
Then Patreon came along and said to all the content creators "come to us and invite people to make a regular pledge to support your content".
And many did.
That's because a lot of the former "partners" and many of the new creators trying to live off the monetisation feared that YouTube would perhaps once again change the rules without any notice, and in doing so, leave them without a living.
So Patreon grew and became very successful. Huge numbers of people pledged small sums to their favourite YouTube channel content creators and once again, all was good with the world.
Then the Adpocalypse came.
YouTube's greed had backfired and because they no longer had any control over which channels were monetising their videos, powerful brands found that their ads were being placed on a growing range of highly objectionable content. This was not good.
These companies were outraged and pulled their ads from YouTube -- significantly reducing the size of the advertising pie, you know -- the one that was now being sliced so very finely.
YouTube responded by demonetising a huge swathe of videos across their platform, using God-awful AI algorithms that created such huge levels of collateral damage that some of the most popular channels were all but totally deprived of any ad revenues. The appeal process was cumbersome, slow and inaccurate and thus many channels found YouTube no longer viable as a source of revenue.
At this point it seemed as if Patreon was going to be the saviour of YouTube for those who had quit their day jobs to become full-time "tubers".
The viewing public responded and many channels were saved only by the generosity of their fans and the service provided by Patreon.
All was again good with the world.
Until late last week.
When Patreon went feral.
The content creators using Patreon were given just one day's advance notice (before their Patrons were also told) that things were about to change.
To date, Patrons could pledge any amount (from a single dollar per month upwards) as a regular stipend to support their chosen content creators. Of course there were costs associated with the Patreon service but the content creator wore these and they were within the realms of acceptability.
Last week however, Patreon turned on the bullshirt switch and dumped a massive change on the Patreon community. Now they want the patrons to pay fees as well.
In a piece of spin that is, to be quite honest,totally insulting to anyone with half a brain cell, Patreon told everyone that this is a great move, designed to be fairer to all and ensure that content creators get a more stable income from their pledges by taking home a larger percentage of the amount pledged to them. They also claimed to have consulted a bunch of creators who were almost entirely supportive of these changes.
What a load of crap!
The reality is that this is a thinly veiled attempt to significantly hike fees and profits at Patreon in a way that hugely disadvantages both patrons and the people they support.
Those making a $1 pledge to support someone will now be charged $1.38 -- and the content creator still won't get a full dollar out of that amount.
Content creators are furious that this change was implemented without wide consultation.
Content creators are furious that the change has resulted in a large number of people canceling their support -- and it's easy to understand why...
Someone who had decided to support (say) 50 different creators to the tune of $1 each per month would previously have paid $50 a month (that's simple). Now, under the new scheme they'll have to pay $69 -- a 38% increase.
Many of those who haven't canceled their pledges outright have instead opted to reduce the value so as to be paying the same amount as before -- leaving the content creator further out of pocket.
What a giant crock of shirt.
As someone who has been a user of Patreon for over a year I feel as if they have abused my trust and insulted my intelligence. Although I never thought it possible, they've actually been even greater arses than YouTube themselves.
From what I gather, Patreon was "doing very nicely thank you" and making good profits -- so why are they gouging like this?
I suspect it has something to do with a public listing or a buy-out. They want the balance sheet to look as rich as possible so as to get maximum price for their shares.
Unfortunately for them, I think they have sorely misjudged the market and opened up a huge opportunity for someone else to step in and replace them. I know that as soon as someone does exploit that opportunity, Patreon won't see me for dust.
Please visit the sponsor!
Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.