Comradery is a Patreon alternative.

Update: Comradery is live.

Update 2: My Comradery page is live.

Original content.

When I first learned about Patreon, and what Patreon was offering any kind of creator, I was elated. Here was an easy-to-use service that would allow me to offer bonus writing to people that financially supported me on an ongoing basis.

Patreon was perfect. I could offer anything I wanted. Exclusive blog posts. Private writing updates. Blog posts in audio. It seemed great, until Patreon kept trying to make a profit more than making its users comfortable and happy. The change proposed in 2020 was the last straw for me. I chose to move to Comradery because I needed to find a more secure platform.

Typically, how it works is people pay creators monthly. At the end of every month Creators get a deposit totaling pledges into one payout. Patreon takes a cut as well as the payment processor. That was fine. They were providing me a platform and I wanted them to continue to provide the platform while I made the content. I didn’t care that Patreon was taking cuts. In my mind, they provided a platform I could use. I started noticing, though, that they continuously kept making changes that would make them money without giving me a higher percentage.

I noticed the first change involved platform fees. New creators would have to pay a higher platform fee. Since I signed up before a certain date, however, I was granted the founders fees, which are lower, but I don’t think that will last for long. In both cases, I was losing money either way.

Patreon then tried to raise the service fee to 2.9% + $0.35. many creators had supporters that could only pledge small amounts under $5.00. this new fee would ensure creators received even less money after payouts. there was so much backlash that Patreon had to put it off, but I don’t think that idea has vanished from the table.

Finally, this most recent idea would ensure that Patreon collects more platform fees while creators are hurt, again. In 2020, Patreon announced that anniversary billing was going to become the way of the land in 2021. Patreon claims it surveyed many creators about making the change but, again, there was so much backlash about anniversary billing that Patreon had to, once again, stop the plan and assure disgruntled creators they listen and care .

In short, the reason why so many are against this is because it would destroy their income. Anniversary billing would mean that creator’s deposits would trickle into their bank accounts throughout the month instead of being paid once at the end of the month. Supporters would be charged multiple times a month instead of paying one lump sum at the end of the month. Meanwhile, Patreon collects even more platform fees with every transaction.

Every time Patreon made a change, creators and users had to make a big stink about it in order for Patreon to take them seriously. For example, this thread about anniversary billing has pretty clear-cut remarks regarding the decision. Patreon, though, still doesn’t even come across like it’s listening. If your users have to figuratively yell at you every time you make a change, I feel like users don’t matter because they’re just barriers to you taking more platform fees.

Patreon keeps saying it’s listening, and they host video town halls where they keep assuring creators they are heard, but I’ve stopped believing them completely.

Even though Patreon keeps telling creators they listen, I feel as if they don’t understand their own platform. One of the reasons why Anniversary billing was conjured, according to Patreon, was so Patreon could clear up confusion with double charges in one month caused by their charge up front method.

The thing is, though, charge up front is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do. Their own help article on charge up front explains it well. It’s there because supporters can pay to gain access to a backlog of content.

Even though they may have rolled back anniversary billing for now, I know it won’t be long before it will become mandatory just like everything else. Patreon has found ways to keep people tied to their platform, as well. For instance, if I unlaunch my creator page, which is different from deleting my account, I’m no longer entitled to the founders platform fee. I’ll have no choice but to pay the new, higher, platform fee.

I’m simply tired of trying to fight with a corporation over who gets my earned money. I’m tired of having to play chess just to secure an income off my internet writing. In fact, I’m so done with playing hopscotch with corporations, I’m turning to a Patreon alternative instead.

What is Comradery anyway?

Comradery is a Patreon alternative where the creators own the platform. They work very differently than a traditional company. This means, for example, that my accessibility needs will be taken much more seriously. Creators will get to have a say in how they want the platform to evolve and grow. I know I’ll have input on major and minor decisions that shape the platform, and my comments won’t be dismissed.

Some other things that are extremely attractive to me is their transparency on updates. Their transaction fees are lower because there’s ultimately no hierarchy or investors to satisfy. When I’m making decisions in meetings, I’ll have a chance to better understand the needs of creators of color, for example. They are very inclusive. That became extremely apparent when my first interview to join the platform was taking place. They are extremely transparent and open about everything, which means I don’t even have to wonder who’s reading my emails. I know a lot of people on the team. I’ve spoken to them. I know exactly what I’m getting into with Comradery because I’m owning the company.

Comradery has a very slow onboarding process. After filling out their intake form, it took almost two months for them to have an interview with me to assess my needs and to even get my input on a few decisions they were going to make. They told me they interview everybody that wants to join. I liked this because it gave us all a chance to know each other and understand expectations.

I liked the diversity as well. I was interviewed by two non-binary people. A Black person and a white person. They wanted to ensure that I understood that this was a safe space for everybody, and that I was to respect all genders, races, abilities, and more. I, of course, illustrated that wouldn’t be a problem at all.

Even though Comradery hasn’t launched publicly yet, I couldn’t stop thinking about that interview. It was the first time I was really valued by a company, and that my accessibility needs weren’t sporadic checklists. I also felt like I was joining a safe space, one I’d eventually be able to meaningfully contribute to, which was, ultimately, far more transparent than any other company I’d ever worked for.

If you’re interested, I highly encourage you to at least apply to be a creator at Comradery. I didn’t have any bad vibes with my initial interview with the two team members. It’s refreshing to learn what taking control of a company is like. It’s refreshing knowing that you won’t have to wonder what goes on behind closed doors because creators own the platform. The creators make up the community and the platform and, as a result, make decisions that will be collectively decided. This, ultimately, sounds far better to me than worrying about what my donation platform will do next.

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