Patreon to add patron-blocking feature
Patreon has announced that a patron-blocking feature is currently in beta-testing for 50% of its creators. Here’s why I advocated for the feature… and why I think you shouldn’t use it.
First… the details from Patreon’s blog:
Blocking is currently in beta for 50% of creators and will be released to all creators soon!
Patreon should be a safe space. That said, if you notice a patron constantly changing their pledge or spamming your posts – blocking is here to remove them from your page.
A blocked patron can:
view any public posts on your creator page
A blocked patron cannot:
pledge to your creator page
message you directly
access any patron-only content
comment on any creator or patron posts on your page
You can ban a patron directly from your patron manager or from the patron’s URL.
As soon as a patron is blocked, they are immediately removed from your patron manager and sent an email notification of removal.
When Patreon’s representatives approached me asking for suggestions for improvements, this was one that I advocated for strongly. From my perspective, I was seeing patrons join and then delete their pledge before the end of the month (when their cards would be charged).
I wanted the ability to take someone who was abusing the system and block them so they couldn’t continue to “dine and dash” their way through my exclusive content. Heck… I even suggested that once a patron gets blocked by three creators, that patron should lose access to Patreon as a whole.
It was also before Patreon instituted another suggested I spoke in favor of — improved analytics.
Now that Patreon has improved their reporting of patron behavior, I have a more complete view of what’s happening, and my hardline opinion on the matter has softened considerably.
Take last month. I lost 12 patrons between Feb 26. and Feb. 29 — each of them $10 backers. It was a heartbreaking drop.
Before I had access to improved analytics, I would have made the natural assumption that I had been cheated by people who were out to game the system. But those exit interviews were telling me a different story. Actually, they were telling me two different stories — “My financial situation has changed” and “I only intended to pledge for a limited time.”
Knowing that people who might be dishonest enough to cheat the system might also be crooked enough to lie on a survey, I took a few minutes and looked up the history of every backer who cancelled their pledge in the closing days of February.
What I found was eye opening. Eleven of them had been $10 supporters for several months.
If I had blocked those patrons, I would be blocking them from — eventually — coming back and re-pledging. And that’s a behavior that I’ve noticed happening with greater frequency as my Patreon nears the two-year mark.
It’s very similar to my findings on declined pledges. If I were to assume wrong-doing on the part of the patron, I would effectively be hurting my own bottom line when those patrons eventually tried to make good on their payment!
Does that mean that I’ve adopted a Pollyanna view that no one is out there trying to game the Patreon system? Absolutely not! I’m not part of the beta-testing group for this feature, but believe me… there are about three patrons who I will block the very minute I have the ability. These people have de-pledged within fifteen minutes of their pledge, and they’ve done it repeatedly. I’ll block those knuckleheads immediately.
But I’m going to think looooong and hard before I block any additional patrons. I’ll want to prove to myself beyond the shadow of a doubt that the patron in question is malicious.
Otherwise, I could be blocking myself from an eventual source of revenue.