Just to followup, Patreon changed their mind. They will not change their fees as planned. (They still intend to address the “problem” though, so they will need to change something eventually.)
But the damage was already done. Patreon destroyed their reputation with small creators overnight and I am seeing tweet after tweet today indicating they won’t be back. Perhaps a year from now people will forget, but right now, they are still angry (and rightly so).
And while I will say the above apology is a very good one as apologies go, I personally don’t believe a word of it. I have learned over the past ten-plus years to deride all altruistic statements from any software business which maintains users as commodities, which is basically all of them.
Small creators won’t be back because they were never in it for the money anyway–I think they saw it more as a social support system. A lot of small creators pledged to each other, in fact, which is counter-productive from a business perspective. But I think they viewed $1 pledges in the same way they might view a “like” on Facebook or Twitter. Something that doesn’t really cost anything, but is still more than just empty words.