I could do with some feedback on something I’ve been contemplating of late…
Patreon for those that don’t know is a way that viewers, followers, fans, or whatever you want to call them can help their favourite creators on any platform continue to do what do. It’s been particularly popular of late thanks to YouTube monetisation challenges, and lately another hit to the YouTube community with the ‘Not Suitable for all advertisers’ badge being introduced. Patrons can contribute a monthly amount of usually differing levels to allow them to receive different benefits of being a Patron, so a monthly a mount of (for example) £3, £10, or £20 can release different levels of interaction and access to things non-patrons don’t see or get.
I have never had a strong standpoint on Patreon, neither for or against, but I have always felt that it’s something I’m not super excited about, purely because I wanted to do whatever I could to make my content available for everyone should they want to see it. This does limit the channel a little when it comes to certain things that aren’t really suitable for that format (random life vlogs, behind the scenes stuff, previews etc) – it is a review channel after all. Some people however do like the background work, they do like a little preview or ‘backstage action’ so to speak.
Why am I thinking about this right now? As you may know, I suffer from Ankylosing Spondylitis and Fibromyalgia and both are deemed as ‘chronic’ by my specialists, I’m not going to go into what I can and can’t do as I’ve covered it before, but, what it does mean is that I am unable to hold down a ‘regular’ job. YouTube gives me a platform to record, publish and interact on my good days, on days when things work, but also take time out for recuperation days, and the really challenging days of incredibly restricted movement.
Because of the flexibility of YouTube, I’ve been able to produce content that seems to be enjoyed by a good amount of people, and in doing so the small but vital revenue as a result of the videos being monetised means help with regards to paying for studio equipment, cameras, software, lighting, and all the things necessary to put out the content that I do. At this point you should probably know I don’t claim unemployment or disability benefit etc on account of being a very proud and old fashioned kind of chap. Yes, I know I’ve contributed to the pot during my 25 years busting my arse at work, however, it still is something that I’d rather completely avoid in favour of being independent, doing something productive, and creating a ‘job’ – this also helps me psychologically feel that my disability is not all consuming and I can still be a constructive member of society.
One of the biggest objections that people throw at particularly vaping reviewers, is that we get free mods and tanks and RDA’s, so we shouldn’t need to bring more money in – but those products do not pay the bills. If you’ve followed me for a while you may know that I will very occasionally sell a product (ordinarily around half of retail price) in order to fund software or something essential to the channel, and as for the rest of the products I will try to bulk them together for charity raffles on my channel, and occasionally other helpful things outside of the channel that I don’t go into. This all means that a few tanks and mods do not pay for the computer, cameras, lighting, etc.
Generally there are a few ways to earn rarely a full time income but bits and bobs that help pay the bills:
- YouTube monetisation
- Product Advertising of vape products
- Product Advertising of non-vape products
- Go Fund Me
and the issue there is…
- YouTube monetisation is getting less and less worthwhile – and it was pretty poor to begin with
- Product Advertising of vape products – legally there are issues with regards to things like the TPD/TRPR in the UK, but also some people can think this will skew the integrity of the reviewer
- Product Advertising of non-vape products – Certainly something I’ve been looking into, and I have approached a few beard grooming companies without so much as a reply
- Sponsorship – again challenges occur there with the TPD/TRPR, and like advertising some people think this will encourage a reviewer to be less truthful, so not an option
- Patreon – The reason for this post
- Go Fund Me – makes it harder for people to support what they enjoy but does allow for a one off now and then
- I have merchandise, although this is printing to order, and so gaining 1.50 or 2.50 profit on T shirt isn’t going to go a long way to helping out
Of course when I started reviews on the dodgy laptop mic and camera, it worked and allowed me to do something cool, and these days, you can do a lot with a simple smartphone, but should the creativity and therefore final product enjoyed by viewers be restricted to just that because of bullish pride stopping a creator from progressing, or should there be a place for funding what you enjoy to allow you to continue watching and helping that creator/channe/musician/artist evolve and become better at what they do?
The YouTube format is something that is growing and evolving all the time, Fortune.com did a small piece this year to say that the Wall Street Journal showed that YouTube is about to overtake TV when it comes to how new generations are consuming their media ( http://fortune.com/2017/02/28/youtube-1-billion-hours-television/ ), and as such, wouldn’t it be realistic to assume that the creators, much like presenters and actors on the TV should have at least the ability to earn something?
As part of my viewership, your opinion matters to me, so here’s where you can get involved…
I’m still incredibly torn on this matter, again though, it’s important to highlight that I certainly do not have any issue with people that do this, and am very much on the fence about the whole situation.
This is where I would love to hear from you, what do you think? Do you think that while other genres of content are perfectly fine for this type of ‘fan-funding’ for want of a better word, vaping should be a separate entity? Is it something that if I did it, would make you see me in a different light?
I look forward to hearing some great constructive and helpful comments – on both sides of the fence.
The Vaping Biker.