Just days after the crowdfunding site Patreon’s announcement of upcoming changes to its credit card processing fees — which was widely lambasted by the artists, animators, podcasters, and creators who earn money on the platform — the company said today it is abandoning the new plan.
“We messed up,” Patreon CEO Jack Conte told BuzzFeed News in an interview. “We overstepped our bounds. We made creators feel like we can make those decisions without consulting them.”
This isn’t the first time, or the most dramatic time, that a tech platform’s users have revolted over a product change or new fee. But it is one of few examples in which such a revolt led a platform to so quickly reverse an announced change.
Patreon allows people to raise money for their creative endeavors via monthly or per-post payments from their followers. These recurring payments are often more reliable and useful to creators than one-time donations. Patreon experienced massive growth between 2016 and 2017, doubling the number of creators on the platform and reaching 1 million patrons.
But Patreon’s payments structure, in which creators were charged various fees, generated thousands of customer service queries every month. “My cofounder built our original payment system in 25 days by himself in 2013,” Conte said, adding that, after four and a half years, it’s no longer the most logical or efficient payments architecture for a company of Patreon’s size.
In trying to simplify this system, Patreon had planned to move some of the service fees from the creators — who currently pay fees both to Patreon and to…