By Shamus Posted Sunday Jun 1, 2014

Filed under: Personal 199 comments

Most Patreon videos are there so you can introduce yourself and talk about what you make. I chose not to do that. Instead, I talked about why I was doing a campaign. Which involves a lot of complaining about Google.

Link (YouTube)

If you’re not into the whole video-watching thing, then visit visit my Patreon page for the transcript. Uh, also visit my Patreon page if you want to donate, which is the whole point of this.

There’s a certain taboo against talking about money. To an extent, I understand that. It’s crass to brag about how much you make, and since pay grades are all over the place, one person’s “Boo Hoo I only make $Butts” is going to be pretty offensive to someone who makes $Butts/2.

But Krellen has made a pretty good case that these rules don’t always make sense. Certainly there’s room for talking openly about money when you’re asking people for some. I know I’m far more likely to give to charities with a lot of transparency and reluctant to give to ones that act like a drop box. So let’s talk about what I do and what I’m hoping for.

I want to stress that none of this is an attempt to pressure you to give. I would much rather you read without giving than feel guilted into leaving. I do this because I like to make content and you’re here because you like the content, but neither one of us is under any particular obligation. Having said that, we’re going to talk money using real numbers so if you’re not comfortable with that then you’ll probably want to skip the rest of this.

The Google ads used to net me between $200 and $300 a month, with them bringing in more around Christmas and less in the summer. So if the Patreon can get to $300 a month, then this will all break evenThe amount shown on the Patreon page is the gross, before transaction fees are considered..

I don’t feel like I can directly reveal how much I make from The Escapist. I need to keep that number confidential out of respect for them. But as a way of trying to be open about this while also protecting their privacy, I will say that between my writing for the Escapist and some other part-time freelance work that I do (stuff that’s private and also boring and not worth discussing) I bring in between $750 and $1,500The freelance stuff is pretty spotty, and I don’t always have an idea for a column. So both incomes are variable..

So I probably make slightly better than minimum wage. My wife works and we manage to pay the bills without needing to sell our children on eBay. Note that while people normally associate “minimum wage” with “low, pathetic income”, context is important. I don’t have to maintain a car, drive to work, pay for parking, pay to eat lunch, pay for Starbucks, or keep a steady rotation of dress clothing. I can live far from the sexy tech jobs, in places where rent is low-ish. That stuff adds up. So if you compare me to Kevin Who Runs the Photocopier, I’m actually better off even if we bring in the same number of dollars in an hour of workParticularly since Kevin gets in trouble for playing videogames, whereas it’s a required part of my routine. Poor Kevin..

But Shamus, think of everything you’re missing out on!

Yes, I could make much, much more if I gave up this site and just took a programming job. But by working on this website instead of a tech company I get to live close to my extended family, I get to spend lots of time with my immediate family, I get to do lots of cool creative stuff, and the work is very low-stress. It also means one less guy burning gas, taking up parking space, and clogging the highways. I do this because I love it and I’d rather have the quality of life than the money.

Anyway. Going by the numbers above, if this campaign went way beyond expectations and hit $1,500 I could think about giving up on The Escapist and the freelance stuff and making this site a full-time job. (The freelance stuff would be the first to go. Bo-ring!) I could make more content. But is that worth it? I have no idea. Would people rather have more articles here than a weekly column over there? Would it be wise to cut myself off from the new readership that The Escapist sends my way? I honestly don’t know.

I’m really nervous about messing with things. We’ve got a good thing going here, and I’m always shy of shaking things up in a way that might break that. If it hadn’t been for my fight with Google I probably would have put off this Patreon campaign forever. Too many new readers would drown out the community we have. Too few and we’d slowly dry up. Too little content and people stop checking backYou’d be surprised how many people don’t use RSS. And even when they do, people are always looking for low-yield sites to cull from their daily info-foraging.. Too much and they feel overwhelmed and skim. (Yes this happens.) I feel like I’ve accidentally discovered a magic formula for doing fun, creative work at home and I’m scared of doing anything that would disturb that.

So. Patreon. Give if you want to give. Don’t if you don’t. Please share and enjoy the site either way.

EDIT: Okay. Whatever happens, the Escapist column isn’t going anywhere. I’m really glad people like that so much.



[1] The amount shown on the Patreon page is the gross, before transaction fees are considered.

[2] The freelance stuff is pretty spotty, and I don’t always have an idea for a column. So both incomes are variable.

[3] Particularly since Kevin gets in trouble for playing videogames, whereas it’s a required part of my routine. Poor Kevin.

[4] You’d be surprised how many people don’t use RSS. And even when they do, people are always looking for low-yield sites to cull from their daily info-foraging.

From The Archives:

199 thoughts on “Patreon!

  1. Sigilis says:

    Sorry about technology running amok, censoring you and making you live in fear of an omnipresent, omnipotent and opinionated artificially generated simulacrum of a bunch of ad executives. If it’s any consolation, at least you’re living in a future that’s only slightly dystopian in certain places. Think of all the ways that you’re not being oppressed by algorithms!

    In any case, enjoy some money from me and try not to think about the implications about the power of the information broker in this information age.

    1. Karthik says:

      > you're living in a future that's only slightly dystopian in certain places.

      Reminds me of this William Gibson quote: “The future is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

  2. SKD says:

    I’m sorry Shamus, but I am only permitted to donate to people who solemnly swear to spend all the money on easy women and hard drugs. Since I am fairly certain Heather would disapprove of both I am honor bound not to require any oaths of you.

    1. Wide And Nerdy says:

      What if Heather told you she was easy for Shamus? And would prescriptions count?


        1. Humanoid says:

          Snort? Evidently then there are no easy women and hard drugs for Shamus, but there is a dismissive woman who takes hard drugs.


        2. Wide And Nerdy says:

          (Long sigh of relief) Shamus, your wife is awesome.

  3. Thearpox says:

    I don’t think you should give up the Escapist, even if the campaign goes way beyond expectations. It is still a piece of content that you produce, and its got your character.

    As long as the Escapist doesn’t implement a pay wall, and you continue linking to every single article you write, I will consider it to be no different than the stuff you put up on the blog.

    As for what you should expand upon if you drop the freelancing, could I suggest writing/finishing-up another book? It would avoid the trap of having too much content, while still producing more content.

    FauxPS: The title text is glowing, and so is the comments box, the hyperlinks, and any other place where there is blue text. In effect, my eyes are bleeding.

    FauxPPS: There should be a section where we can complain about parts of the site/interface not working, so I can stop polluting the comments every time something comes up.

    1. ET says:

      I too, don’t think you should abandon your Escapist posts. Those are good reading, on topics which…you normally wouldn’t cover here? I don’t know; I’m not really able to articulate this well. Anyways; I like them. :)

      1. syal says:

        No to mention the link to the article usually includes another article.

        1. Humanoid says:

          I have to admit I only read the actual Escapist articles, oh, maybe half the time. But I read the blog post that links to it 100% of the time. Part of the reason is that the work filter blocks the Escapist (which Shamus and Yahtzee aside I don’t otherwise consume at all anyway), but the other is just laziness going off-site for something I’d be unwilling to comment on on the site itself.

    2. Benjamin Hilton says:

      Yes I much agree that keeping the Escapist column is a good idea. I found this site through your articles there and I can’t be the only one. Plus they are always interesting in their own right and the Escapist could use more level headed analysis.

  4. Gravebound says:

    I’ve, personally, never minded clicking over to the Escapist for your columns, so even if the Patreon does do exceedingly well, I’d say keep that extra bit of income to your family. You never know if you might need it. (But I am a pessimist.)

    1. Pessimism. Otherwise known as “realism” or “sanity”.

  5. Phantos says:

    I’m still not totally sure how money is transferred through Patreon, even after skimming the website.

    If it depends on PayPal, then unfortunately there’s nothing I can do. Me and PayPal have a relationship not unlike you and Google.

    But I hope it goes well for ya.

    1. Thomas says:

      It seems like it can be through Paypal or through card details

    2. Humanoid says:

      You can pay by credit card instead. It’s processed by Stripe, but that’s invisible to the user, you just plug in your card details like any other online transaction.

    3. krellen says:

      I would suspect, like with other things like this, you should assume Patreon is taking 20-30% off the top.

      1. Thearpox says:

        I think it’s more like 5%? Or 10%?

        I vaguely remember Campster mentioning it somewhere.

        1. Humanoid says:

          Yes it’s 5% excluding processing fees (i.e. PayPal/Stripe’s cut). That fee is apparently 30c + ~3%.

          It’s also worth noting that multiple Patreon pledges are processed as one transaction, so donating a dollar each to two projects for example incurs no more in fees than a $2 donation to one project.

          For example: If you have a standing pledge of $1 to Spoiler Warning, Josh gets (1 – 0.05 – 0.30 – 0.03) 62c. If you pledge $1 to Spoiler Warning and to Shamus, the 30c fee effectively becomes 15c for each, so Josh and Shamus receive 77c each.

          P.S. As to be expected, Patreon processes all transactions in USD, so your bank might charge you a few extra percent conversion fee if paying by credit card.

          1. swenson says:

            Oh! That’s nice to know. I worried that when I only support someone with a small amount of money per month, most of it would be lost in fees, but if this is true, then it’s not a problem! Excellent. Patreon has just gone up in my estimation a little bit.

      2. Shamus says:

        Short answer: about 5%. Long answer from their FAQ:

        What does it cost to use Patreon as a creator?
        Patreon is free to join and free to setup your creator page. Only after you make money through pledges on your creator page does Patreon process an approximate 4% for credit card processing fees (we use Stripe, trusted by thousands of sites) and 5% for Patreon to cover operating costs.

        More information on credit card fees: Credit card fees are variable for every creator. There are several factors that determine the fees. First, we process all patrons pledges in one bulk transaction at the end of each month. This means if you have patrons that are supporting you…AND another creator the credit card fees will be lower. Where if Im support you for $1, AND another creator at $5, instead of getting two credit card fees and each creator taking a hit the fees are split by both creators resulting in a smaller fee and a larger cut to each creator. Note that as we grow, the fees across the board to creators will lower as patrons will be supporting more of their favorite creators.

        Another factor that goes into credit card fees is the amount of micro donations. The smaller amount pledged, the larger amount the fee is.
        In an effort to be fully transparent, here is our math example:
        Donation amount $1: $1 – (2.1% + .30c) = .32c fees = 32% credit card fees for this single pledge
        Donation amount $20: $20 – (2.1% + .30c) = .72c fees = 3.6% credit card fees for this single pledge
        Remember, these example pledges are outliers, but based upon our average pledge across our site, the credit card fees land at approximately 4%

        1. Steve C says:

          In a few months please give a debrief on what Patreon ended up meaning a real sense. What fees you actually had to pay, small print gotchas etc.

          1. swenson says:

            I’m also curious about how Patreon numbers change over time. Big rush at the beginning that tapers off quickly, I’d assume, but I’d like to hear actual numbers for this.

        2. Mersadeon says:

          Wouldn’t that mean that it is MUCH more effective to have everyone who wants to donate through Patreon essentially bundle it through a single credit card and then just give the person that owns that credit card the money back?

          1. Humanoid says:

            If you have a convenient and fee-free way of getting money to that person, then yeah. Also noting that ‘MUCH’ here is literally 30 cents per person.

        3. Deadpool says:

          Short answer seems to be 9%… 5 for Patreon, 4 for the card.

          Still, as of right now… Not a bad set up. I am glad this is working out and glad to be a part of it.

          On the subject of patron exclusive content: I vote “fuck that!” I like your free for everyone style and I’d hate to see it change…

    4. Rodyle says:

      Oh, god. Normally I don’t mind your (in the widest sense) American ways, but what’s up with you guys and credit cards? What wrong with just using a debit card for stuff like this? I hate it that I have to have a PayPal account because you guys don’t understand that debit cards are infinitely better in every possible way.

      (and before you ask: no, a credit card is not really a possibility for me. As a student I’ve already racked up 15K+ in student loans and I try to live on a tight budget. Those 5-ish euro’s a month that credit cards costs are money I can’t spend on for example a Patreon).

      1. Humanoid says:

        I have three credit cards which cost me nothing whatsoever. No fees on any of them (well, one charges for currency conversion so I don’t use that one for international transactions), and they’re always paid off so I don’t pay a cent in interest. Why three? I use one for my day-to-day, local transactions, one for my international transactions such as for Amazon and Kickstarter, and one is exclusive for PayPal as a sort of quarantine measure – I don’t want them involved in my day-to-day banking.

        N.B. I should probably note that I’m in Australia, no idea what kind of cards are available elsewhere.

        EDIT: I’ve heard some people have managed to register their Paypal account to a prepaid ‘credit’ card, which is an interesting option for people who can’t/won’t get a ‘proper’ one or just choose not to use theirs.

        1. Rodyle says:

          But that’s my problem with them: a credit card has exactly the same functionality and costs as a debit card as long as you always have them paid off. In that case: why not use a normal debit card?

          1. Canthros says:

            Debit cards often lack (or, historically, have lacked) certain protections from fraud. Additionally, many people have much more money available to them as credit than they do in their bank balance.

            (I feel your pain, though. My credit card won’t cover enough to buy groceries for a month, because I have so little credit history.)

            1. Humanoid says:

              It’s odd because over here people have to make an effort to get *lower* limits. My first credit card (since cancelled) which I got right as I got my first job automatically had a $6000 limit or thereabouts. The last card I requested had a default credit limit of $24000 (I had to go back and request the minimum, which was $9000). I am *not* a high earner, I’m pretty close to the median here. I guess it could be just Australian banks being a lot more risk-happy, they’re financially in a better position than most banks worldwide.

          2. Humanoid says:

            Few reasons:

            – Extra features such as purchase price insurance, travel insurance and free extended warranty on purchases made with the card.

            – An extra layer of abstraction is theoretically more secure. Getting a credit card with unauthorised transactions frozen is only a mild inconvenience compared to having fraud occur on a debit card.

            – Plus rewards points, sure it only works out to about 1% of your purchase value, sometimes less, but a perk’s a perk.

            – Hell, one of my cards entitles me to free wine at participating restaurants. I’m a teetotaler so I don’t use that feature, but it’d be great for Reginald Cuftbert. I think I also get free airport lounge visits.

            1. Volfram says:

              In addition to the above, transactions performed as Debit exact a small fee from the cardholder, while transactions performed as Credit exact a small fee from the payee. It’s cheaper to run transactions as Credit.

              Additionally, so long as you pay your cards in full before any interest deadlines(as I do), there is usually no monthly fee(I’ve never had one). This is true for Visa and Mastercard. I don’t know about Discover or American Express, as I’ve never had either of those.

              Apparently in the US, our fixation with credit vs. debit boils down to “It’s objectively a better financial decision for the cardholder, provided the cardholder never incurs interest fees.” Basically the downsides for wherever you live do not exist here.

          3. SirAnon says:

            This is way off topic, but..

            So the way I understand it is, if you have a credit card, use it regularly and pay it off right away this shows as a very good thing on your credit report. Then when you want to get a loan for a car/house/medical expenses/vacation the creditors look and see that a) other people trust you with a line of credit, and b) you are dependable in paying it off. This in turn gives them confidence in giving you an additional loan(more credit).

            A Debit Card does not go towards your credit score in this manner.

            That being said I only use a Debit Card and rent, so when my car died I couldn’t get a loan from my bank(because no record of good payment history).

          4. In Canada we have both debit and credit cards quite prevalent, so perhaps I can shed some light on why I use my credit card primarily:

            1) Reward points – I get a small percentage back in travel points back with every purchase I make. My debit card doesn’t offer that. I have seen some that do in the past, but my bank doesn’t now, and the reward when they did was not as much

            2) Deferred payment – Obviously you don’t want to wait until you actually accrue any interest, but that happens on balances that are outstanding for more than a month. We operate on a two week window to sync with our pay schedule from work. Basically, we know that in a two week period we pull in $X, so we can spend whatever portion of that we were going to spend, and not worry about if we actually have that money on hand at the time. We basically get two weeks income to invest instead of keep on hand as a float to cover debit transactions.

            3) Credit card benefits – We get a bunch of things like travel insurance and no fee currency conversion with our credit card that only work if you use it for the transaction in question

            4) No Debit card drawbacks – Debit card use counts against your “transaction limit” per month, after which you actually have to pay. I don’t think we specifically have this limit with our account, but most people do

            5) Work – If I travel for work, I am obviously not going to be fronting the money. Using my credit card means I get the points, and then just get reimbursed later without personally paying for anything

            6) Emergencies – Tying in to the point above, if I get stuck in a foreign country somewhere and need to get out, I don’t want to worry about whether my bank account has enough cash to cover a plane ticket.

            7) Protection – There is better consumer protection for credit card purchases instead of debit. If I buy something with my credit card ant it turns out to be a fraud, it’s easier to get the money back (because I never actually gave anyway)

            There are a bunch of other benefits as well, but a lot of them are going away as major banks start offering debit cards that are also tied to the visa network, so you can use them anywhere visas are and do NFC payments and such.

          5. Benjamin Hilton says:

            Also bear in mind that often the word is simply used interchangeably.

            My debit card is run through Master Card, and as you pointed out they have the same functionality, so often I simply refer to it in conversation as a credit card.

            So if you see people talking about credit cards, there is a strong chance that many of them are in fact using debit, and are simply speaking in vernacular.

            EDIT: Ah ninja’d by Shamus further down. So what he said.

          6. Felblood says:

            Most credit card machines are capable of making a “debit as credit” charge. In most countries there is no extra fee to the cardholder (though it will show as deducted from your balance right away even though it takes a few days for the merchant to get the money).

            Better legal and technological fraud protection is a big part of why I keep Credit cards. I would never give my debit card number to a lot of places that keep my credit card on file (i.e. Steam, Amazon, Stardock).

            –But even if you don’t need to carry a balance now, there are other advantages to keeping some activity on your credit card. If you ever need to use the card to borrow money in an emergency, the transaction can be delayed, if your account does not normally have any activity.

            People who use their card on a regular basis can often use the extra transaction fees their bank earns as leverage to negotiate better perks. Policies vary from bank to bank, and often card to card, but a customer who knows what he’s worth can get a lot out of a card company. Knowledge is power.

            Also, if you hate the guy who owns the local gas station, remember that he probably pays a lot more than 4% for credit card fees. His margin is a lot higher on cash.

          7. Ranneko says:

            As an Australian I also do get reasonable interest from my bank account (I get about 3.5% on mine).

            If I ensure I pay off my credit card on time, I get an extra up to 55 days of interest on the money I am spending.

          8. Tse says:

            The money paid by using a debit card is yours. The money paid by using a credit card is the bank’s. If someone steals a credit card, they spent the bank’s money, not yours.

      2. Klay F. says:

        Actually credit cards are objectively better for me. I never actually spend more money than I have, which is just common sense, and paying off the debt improves the credit score which is good for any emergencies where I might need to get a loan. Whereas using a debit card helps me in no way whatsoever. As far as I’m concerned there is never a situation where a debit card would serve where a credit card wouldn’t serve equally or better.

      3. swenson says:

        Because I’d like to be able to rent an apartment or buy a car or get a good rate on a loan some day, and I can’t do that if I don’t have good credit, and I can only get good credit by showing I can use a credit card responsibly.

        Personally, I never buy little stuff with a credit card (if it’s too painful to take out of my bank account, that’s a good sign I don’t need to buy it), but I buy bigger stuff like gas with it.

        (also, can you not use your debit card on Patreon? I’ve never run into a website where I had to use a credit card instead of my debit card. But I use Paypal with Patreon so maybe they have different requirements than other sites?)

        1. Humanoid says:

          Another point of difference here I guess. Australian debit cards are useless for anything online. Literally – you can’t buy anything with them unless in-person. The gradual introduction of “Debit” Visa/Mastercard cards is sort of changing that, but they’re far from ubiquitious. A good thing, in my view, because they’re kind of the worst of both worlds to me. Useful for kids who can’t get a credit card I guess, but even then they can buy the prepaid ones.

      4. Shamus says:

        I should note that the term “credit card” has gotten mangled a bit here. I have a card that looks like a credit card, works like a credit card at the cash register, but draws from my bank account. And I still call it a “credit card”, even though it’s not really using credit.

        Cards like this work as either credit or debit, the only difference is that when you use it as debit you have to type in your PIN, and when you use it as credit you don’t. So for convenience most people use it the latter way, which is probably why the term “credit card” has been generalized into meaning “Any card that I use to pay for shiny things.”

        I don’t know how it works in other countries, but the important thing here is that merchants don’t want to deal with dozens of different companies to support their transactions. The want to deal with Visa, Master Card, and a few others.

        So the problem isn’t so much “credit cards”, but the companies involved in the transaction.

        1. Humanoid says:

          Yeah, these “Debit Mastercard” / “Visa Debit” cards I referred to generally work the same way in Australia – hit the savings button on the machine to have it work as a debit card, or the credit button to use the credit infrastructure. But as far as I’m aware, we call them by their specific names instead of any generic name. They have the usual sixteen digit numbers associated with credit cards. Generally the customer is better off using the credit option as it provides more protection such as the ability to chargeback, but some retailers charge a fee (typically 2%) to use the credit facility, because their bank charges them more to process these transactions. Legally, a business has to provide at least one method of payment which does not add a surcharge to the base total.

          “Debit card” in general isn’t common terminology here (though it might be a regional quirk), the preferred name is probably “EFTPOS card”. And shape aside, no one would mistake it for a credit card because the numbers are formatted differently.

          That said, we need to use a PIN for either card, though for credit cards retailers can optionally set a threshold for which it’s not required. Actually we can still sign for credit cards instead of using the PIN, but this option is being removed from August this year.

          1. Chargone says:

            In New Zealand, the visa/master card debit cards got introduced in the last few years. They work exactly like normal/old debit cards (also called eftpos or bank cards), except you can buy stuff online, they have some of/more limited versions of a credit card’s protections, and, if you go somewhere overseas where they’re setup to take visa/mastercard credit cards, but (fairly obviously) not (New Zealand) debit cards, the visa/mastercard system will accept them as credit cards, treating your bank balance as your credit limit. Though in that last case there’s a bunch of fiddly details about exactly how long it takes to do what and what the restrictions are and so on. Nothing problematic, just ‘stuff to be aware of to not cause yourself issues’. With my bank, and in my situation, the difference between a normal debit card and the visa one (visa vs mastercard being entirely down to which bank you’re with for this) is a 10NZD a year fee and being able to shop online.
            It’s also only recently (again, last couple of years) that pin numbers have replaced signatures for credit cards. Certainly, it took quite some time for debit cards to completely replace cheques (well, they still haven’t really. In retail stores the transition was pretty quick. It’s only Very recently that tradesmen being reliably setup for eftpos has become a thing, and most still take cheques, i think. For personal transactions, online banking has lead to direct transfers generally replacing cheques for those situations where cash isn’t viable, though plenty of older people still use cheques for that.)

            Should be noted, your credit history is Much less of a big deal here than in the states. So far as i can tell, the assumption is ‘your situation is such that you Can pay, you have no history of Not paying, so we’ll assume you will. And if you don’t we have a bunch of different ways of getting our money back and/or making your life miserable if we have to.’ Or something. I’m not sure on the details, it’s never come up, but everything I’ve come accross says that Not having a credit history in the states is a huge stumbling block, while here it doesn’t seem to matter much. It probably helps that the courts are set up differently, and the attitude towards their use is different, as well. And, of course, NZ is a dmall, island nation, making skipping out on your debts much trickier.

            ‘Course, it’s not really something I’ve had reason to keep track of.

        2. Mersadeon says:

          Just to add my two cents: This makes Kickstarter and Patreon pretty much impossible for people like me. Where I come from, credit cards are incredibly unusual for anyone that doesn’t specifically need them (people who have to pay a lot up front and are compensated by their corp for example). Having a credit card would mean incredible hassle, just to gain a card that has no added functionality compared to my bank card.

          Both Kickstarter and Patreon are missing out on a big pile of money especially from Europe.

          1. evileeyore says:

            Except both can be dealt with via PayPal which works directly with your bank. No credit/debit card required.

            1. Theminimanx says:

              Kickstarter can use PayPal? That’s news to me.

              1. Humanoid says:

                They don’t. But Kickstarter – or more specifically Amazon Payments – are happy to take pre-paid credit cards, which is a not-uncommon thing for European backers to use in this context.

                1. evileeyore says:

                  Huh. Sorry, I could swear I used PayPal to do my last fund the last two Kickstarters I participated in.

                  Must be confused with something else.

                  1. Andrew_C says:

                    For some reason, they take Paypal if the project is based in the UK (and other EU countries, I think) but not the US

            2. Dreadjaws says:

              Except that Paypal is not supported in every country. I can use Paypal in my country, but I need to have a credit/debit card to use it, since the service won’t work directly with my country’s banks.

              Same for Kickstarter. It doesn’t use Paypal (it never has), but it uses Amazon Payments, which also requires a credit card.

        3. Rodyle says:

          I’ll reply to all of the above here, just because it’d take too long to do it personally.

          That actually explains a lot, and also why I don’t know about many of these advantages, simply because most of them don’t really exist in the Netherlands: debit cards are pretty well insured over here, credit cards are not a real thing, so it’s not a huge thing in credit score and we don’t have a transaction/month limit on debit cards here.

          Furthermore: the double debit/credit card and that getting into the vernacular makes much sense.

          The issue remains however that for us people without credit cards, as Mersadeon said, it’s really hard to deal with Kickstarter, Patreon and even large companies such as Amazon, which still do not accept debit cards. Sure, Paypal is an option, but it’s also much harder to keep safe than the online payment methods used in the Netherlands (iDeal), which requires some form of authorisation outside of a password (often in the form of either a random reader or a code sent to your phone).

          1. karln says:

            I’m supporting a few people on Patreon via my (UK, Visa) debit card. Have you tried yours?

          2. Zak McKracken says:

            Hint: Many Debit cards have a small visa logo on them “VISA debit” or somesuch, and you can actually use them for many purposes that would otherwise require a credit card. You can’t pay over the phone with them, but mine works fine for many e-commerce things that nominally require a credit card.

            Still own a credit card because at one point I just needed to have one for a number of things. Costs 20 Euros per year. Wouldn’t recommend.

            At least around here, the security of credit cards is _much_ worse than for debit: A photocopy of a credit card is enough to pay money via phone and the only way banks deal with it is by having robots trawl through your transaction history and give you a notice if something doesn’t seem to match. If that happens, the receiver of the money has the problem. Basically, the fees go into the fund that pays for losses due to fraud.
            I’ve never had reason to actually use the credit on my card, but try booking a hotel room on the phone without one …

            1. Rodyle says:

              Also to Karln:

              Nope. Dutch debit cards work via maestro, which makes it impossible to use on online stuff like this.

              1. Bubble181 says:

                It’s not our fault those crazy foreigners use inferior products. Maestro is far and away the better technology. Not using PINs is also simply inexcusable in most cases…Recent vacation to the US once again showed how weird it is over there. A €500 charge on your CC? No problem, don’t even bother to sign, we’ll just swipe it. I’m honestly surprised there isn’t much, much more CC fraud in the US than there is, and our Belgian and Dutch blocking our cards for the US by default makes a LOT of sense.

      5. Alan says:

        Lots of good details above, but one I want to emphasize: in the US, if my credit card is use fraudulently (say because of the Target data breech), legally my damages are limited to $50 and thanks to competition it’s actually $0. The burden of proof is on the credit card company; if I claim a charge is fraudulent, I’m pretty much guaranteed to get my money back. (This hurts merchants, but that’s a different story.) The protections on debit cards are much weaker; a criminal could theoretically wipe out my account and I’m fucked, the burden of proof is on me. (I haven’t researched this in a few years, it’s possible some protections have since been added.)

        1. Mersadeon says:

          (Warning, anecdote ahead)
          Someone once got my Paypal Account info (no idea how, it’s the safest password I have, never used for anything else) and ordered a really expensive watch, to be delivered to an abandoned building hours away from me. So obviously, that guy wouldn’t get caught. I contacted PayPal, got my money back and everything was peachy, I never had to prove anything. So I assume from this that Paypal works similarly to credit card companies?
          (Just as a disclaimer, that doesn’t mean I think Paypal are saints.)

          1. evileeyore says:

            I have a lot of good experiences with PayPal, they are far, far, far, far, far, better than Bank Of America (which is my brick and mortar bank).

          2. Alan says:

            Legally PayPal has no obligation, although they seem to be erring toward helping the buyer these days. However, credit card companies have strict policies for managing problems, including chargebacks. As a seller, chargebacks suck, but with care you can effectively manage the risk. PayPal pretty much just makes shit up on a case-by-case basis. They have antique violins destroyed. Accounts get randomly frozen. The dispute system in place for credit card companies is replaced with the whims of customer support staff.

          3. Cybron says:

            Paypal is EXTREMELY pro-active in preventing fraud

            This is (sometimes) nice for the people who are sending. It can be really, really awful for the people who are receiving. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about people who got their incoming payments frozen for some ridiculous reason.

        2. Jamey says:

          Alan: Your bank account is *technically* protected by similar safeguards, however, the problem is that since it has direct access to, say, your checking account, if a fraudulent charge hits you can get that money back but there’s a time delay, and if that causes any *other* charges to bounce you are not protected against any third party overdraft fees, etc. which can add up *very* quickly. This is only generally a problem for people that don’t maintain a large balance in checking, which unfortunately is the vast majority of Americans.

          1. Alan says:

            Someone maintaining a large balance in their checking is giving their bank a free loan and losing money to inflation. It’s pretty much a bad idea for everyone.

        3. Zak McKracken says:

          Credit cards basically have no protection. Anyone with a photo of your card can use it, any place you ever paid at with the card can use it to pay.
          The only “security” is in hindsight (and the delayed transaction helps) so if your bank can figure out who abused your card, they can sue them, otherwise they use your card fees to pay the damages. And they use the exorbitant interest paid by people who actually use the credit to make money.

          Debit cards have proper technical protections in place (PIN and stuff) and are much harder to commit fraud with. In exchange, yes, the burden of proof is shifted because in most cases, fraud actually does require the owner to at least make a mistake. If your card is stolen and you report that, from that second on, everything is the Bank’s problem.

          If you pay someone by direct debit and they screw you over, you can still have your bank completely undo the transfer within a certain timeframe.

          … so actually debit cards are safer, just less convenient. And quite often more expensive.

          That said, due to competition and different customs, I expect the fee situation to be completely different in the USA, compared to most European countries.

          1. Volfram says:

            My bank(US Bank) keeps an eye on my credit card purchases and will automatically flag unusual ones and require me to confirm they’re legitimate.(purchasing copies of Minecraft for two friends, for example.) Additionally, I’m able to dispute charges the moment they appear on my transaction history, before they make it to my statement, and the charge will be immediately held pending confirmation. I’ve actually seen someone threaten to commit fraud by disputing a credit charge for a Kickstarter donation(for which he was rewarded with a jump to the front of the delivery line, one of the reasons I will never use Kickstarter for anything again).

            1. Zak McKracken says:

              That’s what I’m saying: Credit card “security happens after the fact. And it happens by the bank watching you closely, and asking for confirmation, after something has happened that they think may be fraudulent.
              If you want to use a debit card, you need to prove that you have the authority to do so before you use it.

              You can actually call both types “security”, where one corresponds to locking your door and requiring people to either have a key or ask you nicely, and the other corresponds to leaving the door wide open at night but having a camera behind it that will call the cops if someone “looks like a burglar”.
              Granted, banks have become better at detecting fraudulent transactions, but in the (2) cases I know, the transaction could not be undone. Even if the bank did reimburse the card holder, the fraudster had purchased something and got to keep it. (And I don’t know what usually happens to the person who sold the thing to the fraudster).
              I personally prefer the “lock your door” strategy, even if that means that of course the insurance company will ask whether I actually did lock my door should I be burgled.

          2. Richard says:

            May I ask which country you’re from?

            In the UK, credit cards offer huge consumer protection due to the Consumer Credit Act, which absolves the consumer of any liability at all for any fraudulent transaction made to their credit card account.

            Phone up the credit card company, tell them you didn’t make the transaction, and it gets reversed before the bill is due.
            (Had that a few times, mostly transactions happening abroad.)

            At worst, they send you a form to sign declaring you didn’t make the transaction. (Had that happen once)

            On top of that, Section 75 of the CCA means that the credit card company is jointly and severally liable (along with the merchant) for faulty/misrepresented goods and services (between £100 and £30k).

            So basically , if you buy TV using your credit card and it’s faulty, even if the shop doesn’t want to refund, your credit card company must.

            Which? published a summary here, or you can read the original Act if you’re that way inclined.

            Debit cards do not have these protections.

            Basically, if you’re a UK resident, you need a credit card.

            1. Zak McKracken says:

              All of that reuces the risk of you falling victim to fraud but it does not prevent frauf from happening, it only delegates the risk to the bank. Which, of course, you pay them for!
              If I had to guess I’d say that in each of the misuse cases you had, the bank had to reimburse you. They may have gotten that money from the merchant, of course, Now, the fraudster still got to use other people’s money and likely got to keep the stuff he bought. The bank paid the balance from the fees they take from you and other customers, the merchant … is probably screcwed.

              In other words: credit cards minimize the risk for consumers at the cost of everyone else involved. They spread it in a consumer-friendly way, but that doesn’t mean they reduce it.

              You’re right, though. In the UK you need to have a credit card, simply because it is so often the only option.

              1. Richard says:

                In the UK the actual fraud prevention methods of Debit and Credit cards are identical.
                – They are both chip’n’pin, CVV/CCV, signature and they both use the same online fraud prevention techniques.

                You can argue that the fraud prevention sucks, and you’re probably right that there’s much better ways to do it, but shikata ga nai.

                As a consumer though, your Debit card leaves the bulk of the liability with you, while Credit cards put all of the liability with the merchant and credit card company.

                The merchant always gets screwed, but that’s just the risk of doing business.

      6. Nick Pitino says:


        I can’t speak for anyone else but I do have a debit card.


        Having said that I always, always run it like a credit card.

        From my perspective it still works the same, the money coming straight out of my account like it had been run debit.

        Difference is that I don’t have to use my PIN number, and that’s a good thing because if someone managed to steal my card and get my PIN number they could just walk up to an ATM, drain my accounts, and I’d have relatively little legal recourse.

        Whereas if I run it through the credit system then if someone steals my card (but doesn’t have my PIN) I have options of blocking transactions and getting my money back from the credit processors anti-fraud people.

        Point is: I suspect a good many people say ‘Credit Card’ as kind of a lazy shorthand when they probably do have a debit card.


        And I see now that this comment chain is hours old, and everything I said was said before and better.

        Oh well.

        1. Zak McKracken says:

          You really shouldn’t give your PIN away, ever. You should not write it down, either. And if your (well, at least my) debit card is lost and you report it as such (there are toll-free numbers for that), from that second on the risk is no longer yours. So … pretty similar to credit cards, except it’s much harder to get use out of a stolen debit card, as opposed to credit cards.

      7. Malkar says:

        As someone who works for a company that doesn’t accept international debit cards (and yet does a lot of international business), the reason is HUGE HUGE HUGE amounts of fraud involving debit cards. Especially prepaid ones.

        1. Zak McKracken says:

          Do you have a link to an article or some proper numbers?
          My impression up to right now has always been that credit cards are so incredibly easy to abuse that the volume of credit card fraud must be much larger that for debit cards.

      8. Deadpool says:

        Bank cards are both debit cards and credit cards nowadays. If you have a bank account, you basically have a credit card.

  6. Thomas says:

    I like your Escapist articles so I personally wouldn’t want to see you stop them (unless you’re not enjoying them). I don’t know, I hope you manage to not stress about it too much, I’d like to support you just as a cool guy who makes the website that I visit every day =D If all the support in general adds up to more than you made with ads, then maybe the ads were just undervaluing the awesomeness of your site

    1. Taellosse says:

      Agreed – I quite enjoy your columns (and did enjoy your comics, when you still made them). I also like the occasional post-script article you write over here to accompany them. I think it’d be great if this campaign reaches a point where you can set aside your other freelancing stuff (except for whatever comes along that you’d find fun, of course), but I, personally, would like to see you keep going with the Escapist.

      For what it’s worth, you’re one of 2 non-video reasons I visit their site with regularity (the other being Yahtzee’s Extra Punctuation column), and if your column did go away, I’d visit them that much less often. I get most of my game/movie/general geek news elsewhere, so for me at least, you’re a draw to their site, not the other way around – if you started writing those columns here instead, I’d still read them. As did many others, I found my way to you from DM of the Rings back when it was still active, and stayed even after it finished. You actually were the first to bring The Escapist to my attention, and are thus indirectly the reason I started watching some of their video content (which is the main reason I go there at all), like Zero Punctuation, Jimquisition, and The Big Picture.

      Anyway, good luck with the campaign! My own finances are kind of in flux right at the moment, but when they settle down, I hope to contribute a bit myself.

  7. fish food carl says:

    I hope it works out very nicely!

    On the topic of the Escapist (although this is purely anecdotal), I’d suggest not cutting that out. I was familiar with DMotR, but I wasn’t a follower of your blog, wouldn’t have bought bought your book, or contributed to your site if I hadn’t found you through Experienced Points/Stolen Pixels/Shamus Plays first.

    You’ll know your own traffic and demographics better than I do, but I know a few people who only know about you from the Escapist.

    1. Henson says:

      Seconded. I discovered you through your articles on Escapist. “Hmm, this guy’s got some interesting stuff to say. Oh, he’s got a website.” And now Twenty Sided is one of my most-visited sites.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I wonder how much readership do the columns on the Escapist bring to the blog? How many stick around? How many of them are, if not trolls, inflammatory?

        1. Humanoid says:

          Josh aside, the trolls regardless of source, could probably be counted on one hand, so unless there’s been some ultra-quick moderation, there is no meaningful downside.

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            Oh I’m not saying that the Escapist is drawing a bad crowd to the blog* or anything like that. It’s more me generally wondering what effect does Shamus’ presence on the escapist have on the blog nowadays.

            *Although how that doesn’t happen is something that eludes me, and probably falls in the greater discussion of “how the community here came to be as it is” that we had some time ago.

        2. swenson says:

          I’m here because of Stolen Pixels! I think I also knew about DM of the Rings at that point, but somewhere along the way I made the connection of “hey, the same guy does both of these things I like” and proceeded to see if there was anything else he did that I liked.

          Obviously, there was. :)

    2. Grudgeal says:

      I… Have no idea how I got here. It just happened at some point.

      As far as I know I’ve always been here.

    3. Deadpool says:

      The escapist thing is also what brought me here. Shamus mentioned Spoiler Warning Fallout 3 in passing (WITHOUT a link! You are so bad at self promotion Shamus!) and that lead me here…

  8. Warrax says:

    I’m in for a couple bones a month, and quite glad to be supporting a great site :)

    You know… If you’d started this before your fight with ED-209, I probably would have contributed anyway with the ads still here. I’m sure I’m not the only one, I’m just sayin’.

    Don’t undervalue what you do here.

  9. Smejki says:

    Leaving Escapist?
    I’m sorry, Shamus. I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.
    You are the part of their culture for me. Also the articles are good and you would write them anyway so continue writing stuff for them or I will do sad face.

    If you make way more money than expected buy some tech – for recording, playing, editing, experimenting. And be sure to get some hot assistant! Like a lava giant or something.

    ALSO leave some sticky Patreon banner here. People need some constant reminder that there is the option.

    I’ll support you in a matter of hours. I owe you after all. Because the Internet is shit I am forced(!really, I can’t visit Escapist without the mouse pointer start to flicker ffs!) to use AdBlock. And because AdBlock is also some cynical(?) piece of turd I am pretty sure I forgot to disable it for your site on some of the devices I use. So yeah, finally a convenient way to support you.

  10. Hitch says:

    I’m going to join in on the “don’t quit The Escapist” thing, but from a different point of view. However many advantages there are for you getting exposure there, The Escapist kind of needs you these days. There’s less and less that draws me to that site, but when I go there to read your articles, I remember that there are several recurring features that I like and I need to catch up on. I’d miss out on them if you didn’t keep sending me there.

    1. Thomas says:

      I think Shamus gives the site a nice dose of tech bent that it would be lacking without him. Experienced Points feels very un-IGNish which is something that gaming sites which aren’t IGN should aspire to.

      (Because IGN covers it’s particular section of the market really well. I don’t want to hate on IGN, I just think sites like the Escapist and Polygon probably actively target the ‘not-IGN-crowd’ because that’s their niche in the market)

      1. Humanoid says:

        Reminds me of the 90s where the PC *gaming* magazines I read would have articles about RISC vs CISC architectures and more practical stuff like how-tos on things like DOS memory management and setting up 10Base2 networking. While I haven’t read any for more than a decade now, I suspect that is no longer the case now.

  11. Tizzy says:

    I’m one of those people who don’t RSS. Sounds too much like a “to do” list, I guess.

    When I have time, I visit the site regularly (compulsively?) and comment often. When time is short, I still make it weekly and read most of the stuff, but don’t watch or listen. All this on and off since 2007. The rate of updates, the variety and choice of topics, the verious formats, all of this works well for me.

    If I had any input to add, I would recommend keeping the escapist stuff. First of all, writing with a set of constraints is always useful. And, of course, the visibility is too good to pass up. But of course, it depends on how much more painful the Escapist stuff is to produce…

    1. Retsam says:

      Yeah; I sort of forget that RSS exists, since I don’t use it and people rarely talk about it.

      Part of the fun of internet content for me is remembering to check them, and the fun of discovering that the site has new content. And while I’ll check sites I care about (like this one) regularly, other sites I’ll only remember every couple of weeks and then binge on.

      1. Akri says:

        I have an RSS, but I don’t bother putting this site on there because I check it regularly anyway. For me RSS is more useful for things like comics, where I need to pick up where I left off, and not just start from the most recent content and work backward until I run into stuff I’ve seen before.

        *No, there was never a there/their error in the comment above. I have no idea what you’re talking about.*

    2. rofltehcat says:

      Finding an RSS reader I like is about 75% of the work, then remembering and adding all the things you want to follow is 20%… so setting it up properly takes ages for me.

      Not to forget RSS feeds like the Escapist Podcasts ones that I need to open in Internet Explorer so I can download the .mp3 files instead of being redirected to the stupid video every time I click on them.

      Other than that, RSS feeds are awesome! Once they work, it is simply awesome and one asks himself how you ever managed without it.

  12. Jokerman says:

    Why dies the Tina Foster article have the date of 2014 in this video?

    1. Humanoid says:

      The original post would have been taken down to get the ads back in the short period between when Google banned the site and when Shamus voluntarily removed the ads.

      1. Shamus says:

        Correct. I mean, if I’d been thinking I would have disabled the ads, restored Tina, and then made the video. But instead I made the video while Tina post was hidden (as a draft) and used “preview” to display it.

  13. Chris says:

    I’m excited for you, Shamus! I really think this is going to work out well for you. You’re a content-creation powerhouse. I started following your blog via RSS in early 2008, after the NetHack website linked to DM of the Rings. It’s hard to believe it’s been this long already.

  14. I wish I wasn’t constantly broke, if I do get a regular paying job I wouldn’t mind throwing a buck your way now and again, I did enjoy your content over the tears after all. I can’t even recall how I stumbled across this site.

    As to “giving up on The Escapist and the freelance stuff” what? No. You are one of the few that give The escapist some class and originality. If you stop doing stuff there then the only thing to hold me interest at The Escapist would be Jim Sterling and Yatzee.

    (Edit: Why was this flagged for moderation? Was it that I quoted text from the post? *scratches head*)

    1. Karthik says:

      Did you tick the button that says “Confirm you are NOT a spammer”?

  15. Shamus you should edit the “Support This Fine Website” part on the right side, add a Patreon link there..

    And maybe put the “Support This Fine Website” box above the “Twitter” box, that way those who have a 1920×1080 (or 1080p) screen will have the paypal and patreon links at the bottom right of the screen. It’s a minor tweak but subconsciously people will “remember” it without it being intrusive.
    As things are today the Twitter box is cut off anyway so having to scroll a few lines more to see that is not an issue (at least not for me).

    And the text “The money goes in the money place.” and Donate button, should probably be changed to a button that just show a PayPal button/logo and a Patreon button/logo.

  16. Adam says:

    As soon as I have a source of income more reliable than the money people stick in my graduation cards, you’ll be seeing some of it. I do hope you go back to Stolen Pixels at some point, though.

  17. MadTinkerer says:

    That picture. They’re ignoring the three leftmost lanes painted and have decided to just wing it and pretend there’s four lanes because that’s just how the traffic is flowing when the picture was taken.

    If I made the mistake of moving there I’d probably be able to tolerate it for three days before setting fire to my place of residence to get insurance money to move elsewhere. I am so glad I only have a ten minute commute…

    1. Humanoid says:

      There’s also the *one* lane flowing the opposite direction. And a remarkable density of hot-pink cars.

  18. Humanoid says:

    Aaaaaand break-even point reached, even with the overheads deducted. Party time!

    ($331 at time of writing)

    (And now at time of editing, almost halfway to having extra gravy)

    1. rofltehcat says:

      Wow, that is great! It is currently at nearly 700! Congratulations, Shamus! It seems to be working out great.

      But please continue writing for the Escapist. I really think it has advantages for both you and the Escapist and relying on only one source of income is very risky when that source is dependent on the internet (or even youtube-stuff) for she is a fickle mistress (to maul that quote).

  19. Thearpox says:

    Also, I just checked the Youtube comments. Some people seem to be confused. Apparently they are taking it to mean more Reset Button videos, and more Youtube (As in, on Shamus Young channel) content.

    I’m not sure where they got that idea, and you seemed to be pretty clear, but when we’re talking about a situation where you are asking people for money, it is generally best to avoid misunderstandings like this.

    I… honestly don’t know… maybe they just didn’t even check the links…
    Okay, I’ll just stop here.

    PS: Maybe making a follow-up videos for youtubers specifically, with specific links to Spoiler Warning channel, and clearing up the situation on the Reset Button?

    1. Retsam says:

      Shamus’ YouTube channel does have 7000+ subscribers; so there’s quite a few people who probably just got notified that he posted a YouTube video who don’t follow the blog, and I guess the natural (if incorrect) assumption when you see a YouTube channel post a video saying “we’re doing a Patreon” is that the Patreon is for the YouTube channel.

      Though he does pretty clearly list out what content he produces… oh well, YouTube commenters are rarely known for their listening skills.

  20. Ilseroth says:

    Currently don’t have a source of income or I’d gladly participate in your campaign. Though I never noticed the ads, if they gave you grief I’m glad their gone, You aren’t doing any silly nonsense where the patreon people are given absurd benefits.

    this is exactly how a patreon should be. If you like what I do, you can show it to me directly, as opposed to indirectly by having awkward roman orgy pictures on the side of the page.

    If/when my income becomes… a thing… I’ll likely put some towards the campaign, all the hours I have spent on the site are worth more then I could give even if I could. So even though I can’t give anything right now, I do want to thank you for the site to date and especially now that you broke even want to congratulate you and hope the site and you stick around a good long time :)

    1. Humanoid says:

      You could start a Patreon for a project where the goal is enabling you to support other Patreon projects!

      1. Ilseroth says:

        “Ahoy, I am Ilseroth, I am not internet famous, barely what one would call a content creator and a large fan of Shamus Young. I’d like to support his creative efforts but I am a college student and thereby broke. However, that’s why I am starting a Patreon, so that I can give that money to Shamus Young.

        You shouldn’t feel pressured, and if you’d prefer to give it directly to him, it will cut down on processing fees substantially.”

        1. NoneCallMeTim says:

          It amuses me that Shamus is supporting Spoiler Warning which basically goes to Josh, so actually not far off from this anyway.

          1. Humanoid says:

            Shamus has already overtaken Josh on the Patreon stakes, so it’s just as well perhaps. :)

            Now to target Chris…

            1. LadyTL says:

              Actually Chris had one before Josh and Shamus.

              1. krellen says:

                I believe Humanoid was referring to getting Shamus’s Patreon total higher than Chris’s.

  21. Mechaninja says:

    You’d be surprised how many people don’t use RSS.

    Nope. /sigh. Google Reader died for a reason (That reason is because everyone is stupid, statistically speaking).

    And even when they do, people are always looking for low-yield sites to cull from their daily info-foraging.

    I believe that because you say it, but low-yield sites are the reason I got into RSS. There are a ton of things out there that I like that don’t update regularly.

    Before I discovered RSS, I would go a year sometimes without even remembering that VG Cats existed, and then it’d take me at least 20 minutes to catch up. Rimshot!

    Several edits in, I keep forgetting to add … I’ll look at the budget, because I like your stuff. I pay Curse $20/yr, Blizzard $200/yr, etc, I can probably find something in there for you too.

    I’m pretty sure I’m no one’s target demo, because very little at Escapist interests me, but I check out a couple things whenever you post, and I think it makes sense that one needs “external” exposure at least until one gets to some kind of critical mass like PA or Megatokyo.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Will Riker says:

      Yeah, as an avid RSS user, it’s high-yield sites that I tend to cull from my feed. If it updates more than once or twice a day, it fills up my feed reader far to quickly for me to keep track of it. For things like news sites, I prefer to just browse through the most recent stuff to see what I’m interested in, but that’s kindof a pain with RSS readers, because you have to manually mark everything read. For things that update less frequently (which is most things!), RSS is the best way to keep track of it all. I’m honestly baffled that it’s not more popular than it is.

    2. swenson says:

      “(That reason is because everyone is stupid, statistically speaking)”


      At the time, I was stuck on IE8 for work, and do you know how hard it was to find an RSS reader that would allow me to import all of my Google Reader subscriptions (of which I had many) and still worked on IE8? It was very, very hard indeed. (I finally found InoReader, if anyone’s interested, which is pretty close to Google Reader in functionality and still works fine in IE8.)

    3. Peter H. Coffin says:

      *nod* it’s kind of tragic that one of the most widely used RSS readers these days is LiveJournal…

  22. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Well, looks like you met your first goal. Congratulations. I’m not ready to stop being a Google fanboy just yet but I’m glad you can thumb your nose at them and not pay a price for it. :)

    In fact, maybe this sort of thing, if enough people do it, will eventually get Google’s attention and get them to wise up. They may have gotten comfortable with their power but I don’t think they’re ready to accept that they’ve become evil.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Google’s motto has always been “Do know evil”.

      1. Wide And Nerdy says:

        Don’t know if that was a typo or not but real funny.

        1. Humanoid says:

          Not a typo, but also very very far from original.

  23. Invariel says:

    I like the upfront honesty of the campaign. Getting rid of ads + not hiding any of the site behind a paywall + no stretch goals + simplicity = a big win.

    It would be a bit saddening if you left The Escapist, since I look forward to new posts there by you and then come here to see what I’ve missed since my last visit.

    Best wishes, Shamus.

  24. Josef says:

    What about Paypal donations? Do you prefer them or Patreon?

    1. Shamus says:

      I don’t have a preference. It’s probably best if everyone just uses what’s most convenient.

    2. Humanoid says:

      It’s a version of the Kickstarter dilemma: direct payments cutting out the middleman are in theory more cost effective since you don’t have give Kickstarter a cut of the proceeds. But having that headline figure up there counting up and up tends to have a snowball effect in terms of attracting more backers. This is probably less true of Patreon than it is for Kickstarter though, what with all the extra incentives linked to high final totals.

      But in short, yeah, direct Paypal donations would give Shamus 4-5% more cash in the end. But personally I like what Patreon do and don’t mind giving them their share.

      P.S. Someone keeps rounding up the random trailing cents amount I like to leave, I guess in a way that’s encouraging extra donations as future backers are more likely to add to their pre-planned pledge than subtract from it in order to satisfy their OCD.

      1. Muspel says:

        Doesn’t Paypal take a cut of payments, though? Or do they just charge a flat amount per transaction?

        1. Humanoid says:

          Yeah, they do, but they or Stripe would take a cut as well when paying via Patreon. So it’d be more accurate if I had said that with Patreon, you’re paying two middlemen instead of one.

          Sure the cut that Stripe/Paypal receive if you used them via Patreon instead of directly would be discounted because of the volume of transactions Patreon processes compared to individuals receiving private donations, but since they maximum rate isn’t even 3%, there’s no way it’d make up for Patreon’s own imposed 5% cut.

          For reference:
          Paypal direct via button: Should be 30c + 2.9% (rate for donations to all except registered charities)
          Patreon via credit card: 5% + 30c + 2.1%
          Patreon via Paypal: 5% + 30c + up to 2.9% (the merchant rate floats depending on total amount processed)

          No personal experience mind, so if there are any special rules outside those published publicly by the relevant entities, my figures might be wrong.

      2. Paypal can do subscriptions too, though not as flexible as Patreon though.

    3. rbs says:

      I also gave money roughly yearly since you started paypal, so my Patreonage won’t really change anything except it will be monthly (a few coins more in the end, though maybe there are more fees). But I think monthly is better for everyone.

  25. Erik says:

    Hm, worth noting that Patreon only accepts credit card donations. Since im without credit card (cancelled it after having to deal with weird transactions 7 times) i hit the donate via paypal button instead.

    EDIT: DOH, you can pledge through paypal, but the link appears all greyed out on my PC. Weird stuff.

    1. Rumour is that Paypal may accept Bitcoin in the future.

      1. Humanoid says:

        The Patreon FAQ also states that Patreon plan on supporting bitcoins directly, which would theoretically be the cheapest payment method for backers to use.

  26. Mistwraithe says:

    I think it is a great idea, as was the Paypal donate button which I have used in the past. It would certainly make sense for me to use Patreon instead because it is rather erratic when I remember to use the donate button.

    However… out of curiosity if you had more time to spend on the website (and the great Escapist articles) then would you spend it on more videos or on more written articles?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love your writing so I’m going to continue supporting regardless but I just don’t get this obsession people have with videos. The only ones I watch are Yahtzee’s and even then only occasionally and only because they are short and have a very high laugh to length ratio. I know this topic has come up before so I won’t go on but from my point of view basically videos bad, articles good. For what it is worth :/

  27. Mephane says:

    Shamus, does Patreon tell you the precise value someone decided to donate, or just the net value that you receive? I am asking because I would like to use a specific number but if you wouldn’t see it anyway I need not bother and just enter a round sum.

    1. Shamus says:

      Yes, I see the exact number. Some people do give unexpected numbers. I often do wonder what they mean. :)

      1. evileeyore says:

        If it’s enough to take you wife out to a really nice restaurant, then that’s what they meant.

        DO EAT!

        1. MDCore says:

          Or in my case, if it’s enough for you and your wife to share a small fries at the drive-through, that’s what it means.


          1. evileeyore says:

            Oh yes, that too. When I finally have solid liquidity in my monies and I throw a dollar at you Shamus it isn’t so I can see your undies. It’s so you can do what you want.

            1. Really? But wasn’t someone asking for a debriefing, higher up in the comments?

          2. Wide And Nerdy says:

            LOL MDCore

            That needs to be a thing. Shamus thanking his fans by posting a picture of him and his wife sharing the order of fries we bought them. As if thats all they can afford.

            1. syal says:

              With the kids in the background looking sad because the fry budget didn’t cover them.

              1. Wide And Nerdy says:


      2. Mephane says:

        I don’t have any cake around here so you get half a tau. :)

        (Do I get any bonus nerd points for this “riddle”?)

      3. The Rocketeer says:

        Ooh, that would get strange for me: if I was in that position, then it would be hard to read comments here and, for the people that use he same name here and on Patreon, see the dollar amount they represent blink past in the back of my mind, and make weird, speculative inferences.

      4. Dreadjaws says:

        Have you gotten a $1.138 already? Or a $3.14? Or maybe a $6.66? Off the top of my head, those (or with different period placement) are the specific numbers I can see a bunch of people trying.

        1. MichaelGC says:

          I trust there are several donors who came in at $4.51?

        2. Shamus says:

          I got pi. And I got a 4.44. (Does that mean something specific?) And sometimes I get odd amounts where OCD drives people to even off the total.

          The thing I like is seeing how many people have been using real names that I assumed were just handles. I’d see a commenter named “kvod”, or some other non-name world. Figured it was an acronym or something. But then I’d get a pledge from Kvod Sovchel of Switzenburg, Elbonia and realize that person was just using their regular name all along.

          1. Thearpox says:

            You sure Kvod would’ve wanted everyone to see that his last name is [REDACTED] and that he is from [REDACTED]? I mean, he probably doesn’t care, but… I would.

            1. Shamus says:

              I made up kvod. To my knowledge, there’s no kvod on the site. :)

              1. Thearpox says:


                This is silly. A comedy of situations indeed.

              2. Humanoid says:

                My brain automatically mapped kvod to Kavonde, who may well be from Elbonia. Or is that Elponia?

          2. Humanoid says:

            The person who did $4.44 was clearly trying to curse you with the Chinese number for death! (For reference, it’s a common superstition amongst the Chinese to avoid that number like the plague, it’s like the avoidance of the number 13 in western culture, but amped up a magnitude or two. Conversely, the number eight is considered extremely lucky, and people will pay thousands, if not millions, for things like vehicle numberplates with a sequence of all eights)

            Or actually, that person might have just seen a number that had lots of fours in it before pledging, and wanted to extend the streak of fours. Yeah.

  28. Thomas says:

    Congrats on making your stretch target!

  29. Csirke says:

    I like how at the end of the video you link to, which contains one line of unformatted text :)

  30. Ardis Meade says:

    I wasn’t planning to update my Patreon pledges till August when my budget changed, but since you already took down the ads I guess I’ll do it now and add Chris while I’m messing with it, so he can thank you for my support of him starting two months earlier than it would have. You know if you had gotten this up on Saturday you would have been included on my payment for May. Such is life.

  31. NoneCallMeTim says:

    Anyone know how that drawing of the image of Shamus at the start of the video was done?

    It looks like some kind of program went over an existing image, but I am not sure.

    1. Dreadjaws says:

      That’s a very normal filter found in several picture/video editing software. Look for instance for the “Paper Camera” app in android phones. Or, you know, the same effect in Photoshop or similar.

      Edit: Oh, wait, no. I just checked and the “Paper Camera” only shows the finished product, not the entire drawing effect. Darn it, I can’t remember which Android app let you do the same thing.

  32. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I dont know if youve seen it on aunty paladin,but if you promise to go to Rutskarns and film slapping him,you could just play that every month and earn enough to not have the ads at all.Im surprised that he hasnt monetized his face yet.

  33. BobK says:

    Just a quick question – how did you did the “colouring book” effect on the beginning of the video? The one where it slowly draws you sitting on the stairs? Or was it done manually?

  34. Shamus, I found this

    After a cursory glance it seems that Paypal can be set up to almost act like Patreon.
    Allowing a subscription/recurring donation where the subscriber can set the amount.
    Also how often the donations will be made, and how many times.

    1. Humanoid says:

      The current Paypal donation feature already supports the Patreon feature set, which is to say, monthly donations (click the button, there’s a checkbox there to set it), and has done so for some time now. That said, the ability to set an end date might be useful for some (and is an oft-requested feature to the Patreon devs). Not convinced on the value of increasing the payment frequency though, that’s something more of benefit to Paypal themselves in that they end up with a bigger cut.

      1. Looking more closely at the example code, is see that Shamus could set Paypals frequency himself, in fact it can be fully customized.
        He could provide Daily, Monthly and Yearly. And to never end, or end after 1, 2 ,3, ….. etc. cycles.

        I’m a tad surprised how flexible this is, perhaps Paypal added this not that long ago? (by not long ago I mean the last year or two as I was not aware of this possibility).

        I see the “srt” field has a option list, in theory one could allow the user to enter any value, from 1 for once to 100 cycles. A tiny bit of javascript would be needed to ensure 0 is set for Never end though in that case (maybe a check mark enabling/disabling the numeric field).
        I wonder if the “t3” field allows other values than D, M, Y though. Biweekly would be interesting for some to be able to choose. Bi-monthly too or quarterly. Some may want to do larger lumps of money every three months etc. Many possibilities in choices here.

  35. Vermander says:

    Re the whole “talking about money” thing. It’s usually much more awkward when a friend or relative asks for money that a stranger or an organization. When someone you care about owes you money it tends to alter your relationship and leads to all kinds of awkwardness and resentment. One of the reasons they say it’s not always a good idea to go into business with your close friends.

    I’d much rather give money to a faceless charity or kickstarter than invest in a buddy’s attempt to start a new bar. If a bunch of strangers waste or even steal my money at least it doesn’t damage my relationship with someone I care about.

    1. Alan says:

      To an extent, the taboo about talking about money benefits employers. If you’re paying Lisa less than Phil for the same quality and quantity of work, you definitely don’t want Lisa to find out.

    2. Well, friends is one thing, relatives can be another. Also it depends how you set it up. “Lend me X and I’ll repay you someday” is likely to go sour. But my dad has given me three loans over the years–car, remainder of mortgage, home efficiency improvements. Each time we figure the interest, set monthly payments and spreadsheet it out so as to know when it’s all done, just like if he was a bank. We’ve had no friction at all; I make my payments regularly. I am not interested in treating my dad with less respect than I’d treat a bank.
      I get relatively low interest and no weird fees or hassles. He gets interest payments he would not otherwise get. Financial institutions get nothing, all the interest money stays in the family. Most of it is now paid off; we’re aiming for debt free in a year and a half. The process has involved lots of win, except for banks which is fine by me.

  36. WILL says:

    I’d buy your games if you released them, but Patreon works on a promise of content and that’s always been iffy for me – too many instances of people just stopping or dropping sites/projects. This blog has pretty much not stopped since 2004(?) so I doubt that’d be the case but still…

    1. The Schwarz says:

      This shouldn’t really be a concern since you can modify or cancel your Patreon pledge whenever you want. If you ever do think there’s not enough content to justify your moneys, just go ahead and cancel.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        Yup, exactly. This is why Patreon is far preferable to Kickstarter. Content stops? You stop being a patron. Very simple! You kickstart someone … say making a youtube series of videos on a subject you’re interested in and then they end up farting around for months on end without putting out diddly or squat?

        Welp, sorry buddy. You kickstarted it! No take-backsies. Patreon is really better.

        Interestingly I’ve been keeping an eye on Patreons and … they haven’t had the drop-off I was expecting. I was thinking a conservative estimate would see a quarter of the backers quietly drop away from being patrons but the numbers seem pretty stable for projects I’m interested in.

        So yeah. Yay Patreon.

  37. Ivellius says:

    You know, Shamus, if you really wanted to add another milestone, the last Hobbit movie will be out at the end of the year. If you started, say, taking weekly screencaps of the other two movies for reasons I bet it’d be released on DVD by the time you caught up.

    More seriously, well done on this site over the years.

    1. syal says:

      I can only read this as “If you finish DM of the Hobbit before the movie comes out they’ll probably put your comic on the DVD”.

      1. Ivellius says:

        Well, they should.

  38. KremlinLaptop says:

    This is almost completely unrelated but can I just say how much better Patreon sounds than Kickstarter? Kickstarter puts to mind images of janky old Soviet era motorcycles that spew out a noxious deep blue cloud as more oil than gasoline burns off after you sprain your ankle kickstarting the damn thing. Patron? You’re a patron of fine arts, a connoisseur of intellectual pursuits.

    Also it shifts some of the blame. “I kickstarted Josh farting around in Skyrim and carrying around a broom for no reason,” sounds quite bad but compare it to, “I’m a patron of Josh farting around in skyrim and carrying around a broom for no reason,” and suddenly I sound far less responsible for the antics of a madman!

    Also Shamus’ Patreon was at 800+ USD when I wrote this. Congrats, you definitely deserve it.

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      To be fair, Kickstarter and Patreon are very different models – Kickstarter is about getting something as far off the ground as they need and potentially reaching for further stretch goals and hoping gravity doesn’t pull before anything is completed, where Patreon seems to be more about making sure something stays afloat over periodic payments.

  39. J says:

    Hey, long time reader (sort of)…as in collectively I have now spent a lot of time reading your stuff Shamus. (from binging on it heavily over the last year or so, including the videos and comic strips and articles down the years) originally I found you on The Escapist too (your thoughts on casters and Bethesda) and so think it would be a good idea to keep it going? (I know you’ve addressed this in the edit, but I thought I’d say it anyway)

    Lastly: thanks for your stuff helping to keep me sane throughout my last year exams in school (this is being sent from olde England, so A2s)

  40. Alan says:

    Something that converted me to Patreon: you can give less than a dollar per month to a creator. If you’re only backing one creator, the fixed credit card fee is a killer, but if you back a number of creator you can get the credit card company’s cut down to a reasonable level. Of course, at the sub-dollar level you never get any of the bonus content (for creators that offer it), but I’m okay with that.

  41. The Schwarz says:

    It’s pretty clear by now that we’re gonna end up way over what Shamus expected, so I think this should be said:

    Shamus, you don’t *have* to come up with new/more content to justify the money. It’s obviously already justified by what you’re currently doing or people wouldn’t have given it to you. I know, you’ve said you don’t like asking for money. But, well, too late. You already got it. So just enjoy it and keep doing what you do, because it’s working.

    1. Kai von Eggenburg says:

      Yep. Just keep on doing as you’ve done so far, at your own pace and at your own pleasure. You provide more than enough entertaining and often educating content – you deserve this.

  42. Nick Powell says:

    I have a row of bookmarks that I use for my daily info-gathering, and I’ve never even considered removing this site. It’s just that good.

  43. Stratoshred says:

    Hey there, a perennial lurker here. Enjoyed the site for a good few years now (since… 2010? Maybe?). It feels good to finally give something back; got me to throw a few dollars at Chris and Josh too. As someone who found this site through The Escapist I’d certainly recommend keeping a presence there. Here’s to the next 4+ years…

  44. Tse says:

    Hope I will be able to donate sooner rather than later.

  45. Aaron says:

    well i am happy to give considering when i discovered your site several years ago i quickly went through all current material then read/viewed the old outdated stuff…then reread/viewed the current stuff…and kind i have kind of kept doing that since

    so, thanks for all the great content and i am looking forward to great content in the future…even if its 8 years old and i’ve read it 5 times

    also i am dissapointed that the cat picture at 9:30 was an actual animal

  46. Unbeliever says:


    OK, I’ve gotta ask: Did Patreon recently make some dramatic change, or add a huge incentive, or something?

    Because in one week, I’ve gone from barely knowing they existed, to “ALL YOUR SITEZ ARE BELONG TO US”!

    Seriously. It’s freaking me out… :)

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      The joke’s gonna be on all of us when they turn around and assume direct control of the entire internet.

      1. John C says:

        It should be okay–from what Mass Effect has taught me, assuming direct control of things usually doesn’t work out too well.

  47. Jack V says:

    Best of luck! I would love to see more websites able to support themselves on a donation model. For what it’s worth, I’m never really able to watch videos, but I love your prose articles, and love DM of the Rings and your programming projects.

  48. Cyranor says:

    Been a lurker around here since about 2007 but never posted much. Anyway Good Luck with the Patreon Shamus, I love pretty much all of the articles you’ve posted here. I’m amazed at how you can take something that seems as boring as programming (to me, its all a bunch of gibberish) and explain it in an entertaining way that the uninitiated can understand and make it interesting.

  49. brashieel says:

    Hmm… well, that seems to have gone well. Both goals exceeded by a fair margin within a day. Conservatively, it looks like the end result will be about 4X the losses from Google.

    Any rate, chipping in to see where the whole thing ends up. DM of the Hobbit or bust!

  50. Malkar says:

    I’ve been following the blog (and very rarely commenting) since DM of the Rings was still on-going. I’m glad to see you’ve already been pledged a crapton of money, because you deserve every penny.

    Even if I’m still sad you were out of books at PAX East when I got to the front of the line. :'(

    Anyways, hope my pennies help!

  51. RCN says:

    Oh, Gods. Why the MS Paint writing? I know it was stylistic, but the clash of resolution and dodgy orthography burns!

    I’d love to contribute to your Patreon campaign, but in order to do that I’d first need to figure out how to turn my diploma into a job. It’s trickier than I was led to believe…

  52. Daniel says:

    What ever happened to Project Wonderful? I remember you writing that it’s more flexible but just doesn’t generate as much revenue as Google. Whatever miniscule amount you can make with Project Wonderful is surely better than the $0.00 that not-Google is now giving you.

  53. Shamus, I know you have given up on ads, (or Adsense at least).
    But have you looked at Doubleclick?

    Doubleclick is a ad server for publishers and support multiple ad networks (Adsense is a ad network).

    If you have less than 90 million impressions Doubleclick for Publishers is free. If you have more than 5 million impressions they will set things up for you. If you have less than 5 million impressions then you must set things up yourself (or contact them for a quote).
    You need at least 15000 visitors (monthly?) but people with fewer have been approved.

    Major differences is that you can choose which ad networks to show.
    And unlike Adsense they will still pay out (unlike Adsense that will ban and stop payments I guess?)

    As far as I understand with Doubleclick for Publishers you wont have the issue you had with Adsense and you can chose to not serve ads from Adsense.
    Category choices and more seems possible too.

    Does anyone have any experience with Doubleclick for Publishers?

    I’m planning to ramp things up later on my own site and if this is a better alternative (I don’t mind the extra manual work if the results and control is better for me).

    Looking at anoter guide here
    By the looks of it you actually manually choose ad offers. *scratches head*

  54. Deoxy says:

    I don’t have any stretch goals. I already spend a majority of my creative time making content, so I can’t promise to make more. I don’t have any backers-only content planned, although if I have anything to say about the campaign I might post it in the backers-only section of Patreon. I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go along.

    This. This right here. It’s the distilled essence of what makes this site so awesome: realistic honesty with good word-smithing.

    You’re not uniquely technologically gifted or a uniquely gifted word smith – there are probably at least a few thousand people on the planet that match either of those, as best I can tell.

    No, what makes this place so awesome is that you have BOTH of those things at once, and you use them without condescension or deceit. That’s shockingly rare.

    As a free bonus, your sense of humor tickles my funny bone juuuuuuuuust right. Heh.

    Keep making it up as you go – you seem to be uniquely good at that.

    Edit: Oh yeah, and the thing about keeping up the Escapist work? Yeah, that’s a good idea. It seems to produce a slightly more focused output from you, which is good upon occasion.

  55. Arran says:

    Shamus, your programming articles are wonderful, and they inspired me to enter a career in IT. I’m glad we have a chance to give back.

    PS: Wow, the Patreon campaign is going well! Oculus Rift? :)

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Currently at exactly $1,300 (two gravies & a break-even) from exactly 256 donators. Zenzizenzizenzic!

      1. MichaelGC says:

        OK well that didn’t last very long. If we get to $2,600 from 512 people, I’ll take a screenshot.

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