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Blizzard Watch > NewsDec 12, 2017 2:00 pm CT

The future of Blizzard Watch, Patreon, and our supporting community

Update: Patreon has rolled back this change, but everything we discuss below still applies — and this won’t fix the damage already done in terms of lost subscribers. But we’re extremely glad Patreon has rolled back these changes, so you can support us without paying a cent more than you intend to. And for those who don’t like Patreon, moving forward we’re happy to accept your support via PayPal or Patreon — whichever you prefer.  Read below for details.

Original post: Patreon announced they’ve changed the way their business works. Instead of having its creators pay the finance charges each time they get a donation, it’s having each and every one of its patrons pay for each and every one of their donation’s finance charges. This means if you’ve been supporting us at $1, it’ll now cost you $1.38. In return for this, creators will keep a flat rate of 95% of the total amount pledged. However, that makes things more expensive and unsustainable for you; especially if you only give a small amount each month.

In response to Patreon’s changes, we’ve lost over 100 supporters (understandably) because they can not afford these changes.

Not only do we not agree with these changes, it puts Blizzard Watch’s future at risk and runs counter to the way we conduct business. This change punishes people who can only contribute a couple dollars a month and that doesn’t allow a diverse community of backers at many different levels of support. We value all levels of support; our community has students, doctors, moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas, and everyone in between. Some people can give us only retweets, some a dollar a month, and some $50 a month. We like having our community that way — it represents the bringing together of so many diverse people that we are all stronger for it.

Patreon gave us a one day heads up before they announced this change, and it left us rather unprepared. Now that we’ve had some time to think on it, we’re expanding our system with new ways to keep Blizzard Watch running:

With that out of the way, let’s dive into this a bit more…

Consequences for Blizzard Watch

Patreon’s changes present Blizzard Watch with a problem. Advertising makes about 15% of our monthly income, while the other 85% comes from our supporters.

Blizzard Watch operates on a very slim profit margin. I’d rather pay writers for more words than keep something sitting around in a bank. Patreon and PayPal are not exactly the same, but we can use both of them. We expect several thousand dollars of income within the first ten days of the month — Patreon gives us that, which means writers get paid on a semi-regular schedule. PayPal won’t provide that — it’ll be a constant stream of money, which while at the end of the month provides the same amount, it leaves us with real and significant short term deficits. But because we know this, we’ll be able to work with it.

Another consequence for Blizzard Watch is the simple fact that it costs more to gain a new supporter than retain one. With the significant loss of supporters that this Patreon change has kicked off, we’re faced with a steep hill to climb to regain them. That being said, I think this something that we can do.

Status of these changes

You can set up recurring support to Blizzard Watch through PayPal now.

You can set up recurring support to Blizzard Watch through Patreon now.

On Monday, December 18th:

  • You’ll be able to log in with Patreon or PayPal to access supporter only content, turn off ads, and access all your benefits
  • You’ll see supporter only content appear on the site, right along side all our other articles

Some of you have already helped test this system a couple weeks ago in our Discord channel (unintentionally good timing that we were working on it for the last month). Right now it’s possible to log into Blizzard Watch via Patreon and disable ads, but that’s it so far. We just need to do a little bit more work to integrate PayPal and to allow for supporter only content to appear on the site without crashing the servers.

We’re also always looking for ways to make it easier to support us.

What we learned

Blizzard Watch has always been a learning experience for everyone involved. It’s forced us to take on roles we’re not used to, learn things we never thought about before, and change on a moment’s notice. This is another learning experience; we put all our eggs in the Patreon basket, and while it’s been a great few years, that basket broke. Just like when WoW Insider closed without a moment’s notice and we created Blizzard Watch overnight, we’ll now find our way going forward through this too.

That’s what this post is all about. Going forward. And in a very real way, that has always been at the core of Blizzard Watch; not lingering on the stupid stuff that was completely out of our control, but taking what we can do and making something wonderful with it. Whether it’s changes in a game we love or hate, changes by an employer closing its sites without a second thought, or changes by the platform we invested ourselves and our product in, at each stage Blizzard Watch rolled with the punches and came out stronger.

The constant is that we — the writers, the readers, the listeners, the community — are all still here. AOL, Patreon, or whatever crazy stuff gets thrown at us be damned; we’ll find a way.

As always, I, and all of us, invite you to join us in that journey.

Thank you for reading this and your continued support,

– Adam Holisky & The Blizzard Watch Crew

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