Setting up a premium membership program is a great way to earn a profit or generate support for content creators and social media influencers alike.
For nonprofits and informational Youtube channel owners, websites like Patreon and SubscribeStar allow your fans and subscribers to support your organization or earn some money on the side through your created premium content.
By the numbers, Patreon is a much more famous choice than SubscribeStar. However, some users may find it too expensive or have been banned for releasing certain things. If this is the case, you may want to look for an alternative.
Likewise, if you’re a SubscribeStar user and may be dissatisfied with how long it takes to get paid, you may be looking at Patreon as an alternative as well.
If you’re a beginner struggling to choose which platform to use or an existing user deciding whether or not to switch platforms, this article will compare Patreon and SubscribeStar to help you make that choice.
What are they?
Patreon and Subscribestar are subscription-based membership websites that allow creators to earn money from their fans. Unlike Youtube and other sites where the creation and publishing are free, the content for both sites is exclusive to a paying audience. However, some can be made free to the public for free on both sites.
Upon subscribing, YouTubers and podcasters can offer their audience premium videos, podcasts, or other perks like podcast audio transcriptions. A nonprofit company can also use these websites as a way of getting financial support from supporters.
What can you create on Patreon and SubscribeStar?
There are different types of content you can create on each website.
Many YouTubers opt to have a Patreon to publish anything that can potentially violate its guidelines and be demonetized.
Content can be demonetized by the site for several reasons like using offensive language (or curse words) and tackling sensitive topics such as violence.
For these reasons, many users publish their compliant videos on Youtube and post some of their more controversial ones behind a paywall like Patreon.
That said, the website isn’t necessarily without its restrictions as well. There are certain rules on what you can and cannot post.
In terms of nudity, for example, it does allow it as long as it’s marked 18+ and is published on a Patreon-only page. It does not, however, allow outright pornography, unconventional sexual content such as incest, and glorification of violence.
Content containing harmful and illegal activities like Doxxing is also prohibited. Moreover, politicians and people or organizations with a known dangerous or criminal history are not allowed to sign up and create an account.
These restrictions are placed to make sure that it remains a safe place for both creators and fans. While it does not have a clear-cut set of guidelines on what can be disqualified, users are free to publish content that is edgier while ensuring that some lines are not crossed.
SubscribeStar has a set of guidelines as well. Acts, like breaking the law, sharing personal information, infringing someone’s copyrights or impersonating someone, spamming, spewing hatred and bigotry, and covering social events such as marches and protests, are strictly prohibited.
It is a bit more independent and forgiving compared to Patreon though. This is why some creators have turned away from it and have opted for SubscribeStar instead. These include political commentators as well.
However, an article from the Financial Times has said that PayPal has been banned as a payment method for these reasons.
Pricing and fees
Both websites are a good way of earning profit, but how much do they take away? If, for example, you charge $20 per month, how much of that price goes to you as payment, and how much goes to additional fees?
For every payment made to you, you will have to pay a percentage of your revenue and a processing fee.
There are two processing methods you can avail:
- Standard Rate – This applies for prices that are more than $3. They take 2.9% of the profits and a flat rate of $0.30. So, if your monthly income is at $20, they will take $6.10 and will leave you with $13.9 per member.
- Micropayment Rate – This rate is for prices lower than $3. Here, they take 5% and a flat rate of $0.10. So, if your monthly income is a measly $1, they will take $0.15 and will leave you with $0.85 per member.
Aside from the processing fees, they also have service fees that depend on your chosen plan as follows:
- Lite – On the Lite plan, you will have access to all of its basic features for only 5% of your monthly income. It’s enough to start a page, publish content, and communicate with fans.
- Pro – The Pro plan costs 8% of your monthly income. Unlike the Lite plan, you can set up membership tiers, create special offers, use unlimited app integrations, and many more.
- Premium – This Premium plan is their most costly plan, taking 12% of your monthly income. However, it’s not for everyone. Only users with at least 100,000 subscribers have access to the Premium plan. With this plan, you can set up team accounts, get a dedicated partner manager, and include merch for membership programs.
To calculate how much you’re getting paid, be sure to include the pricing of both service and processing fees. If you’re a Pro plan user, for example, they will take 10.9% of your profits and $0.30 for every payment.
You can always check the pricing page on Patreon’s website for updated information.
Compared to Patreon, SubscribeStar’s fee structure is way less confusing as they only have one plan:
- All users shall pay a 5% cut as a service fee.
- For payments under $30, they shall take a processing fee of 2.9% and a flat rate of $0.30 per membership. The money goes to its payment processor.
- For payments over $30, they shall take a processing fee of 3.5% and a flat rate of $0.30 per membership.
They, fortunately, have a calculator on its website’s homepage that creators can use to figure out their monthly earnings.
To use this, you can simply estimate how many subscriptions you expect to have and how much you plan to charge them.
Considering that all users get full access to all of SubscribeStar’s features for an equal price, it is incredibly cheaper than its alternative.
However, Patreon’s premium plan does have useful features that SubscribeStar lacks like a dedicated partner manager and merchandise. This plan can be particularly helpful for users with over 100,000 subscribers on social media.
Building a community
Aside from providing exclusive quality content, it’s important to form relationships with patrons to retain them. That said, which online platform allows you to build a better community, SubscribeStar or Patreon?
Patreon users are given a wide selection of tools to build relationships with their audience. The Patreon Relationship Manager, in particular, is one of the top tools of the platform.
With this tool, you can view a whole list of patrons and their status. Patrons can be categorized as active, former, refunded, and more.
This list can be filtered according to status, tier level, pledges, and more.
The Relationship Manager allows creators to deliver welcome mail to new fans. They can also chat a selected number of fans.
A good example of using these messages is to select the active ones on your bottom tier and send them a customized message encouraging them to try your higher tiers.
Additionally, it lets you respond to comments left by fans on your posts. Active fans can also start a conversation with you through its Messaging system which they can use to ask questions, forward suggestions, and provide feedback.
SubscribeStar enables you to message fans and to receive messages from them as well.
Tools and Integrations
This section explores the various tools and integrations that both platforms have to offer. Can they be integrated with WordPress? Can they provide detailed data? Let’s find out.
The tools you can use on the platform will depend on your chosen plan (lite, pro, premium).
If you’re on the Lite Plan, for example, you can participate in Patreon-led workshops and message patrons but cannot, however, use features like analytics and merchandise.
The Pro plan, on the other hand, allows users to attend workshops and get detailed data but not merch for patrons.
The Merch program rewards loyal patrons who have been actively supporting creators for a certain number of months. These merchandise items can be given out monthly, seasonally, or at certain times of the year.
Premium plan users can also give away welcome merch to new patrons or offer them as an incentive to invite people to sign up.
It also integrates with Discord, a messaging platform that allows you to make a channel for your patrons to chat with you and amongst themselves. They can send both text messages and voicemail on Discord, as well as book times to go live. Here, they can share information and hold fruitful discussions.
Discord also allows you to reward patrons with special colors.
This Discord integration is exclusive to Pro and Premium subscribers, but it’s free to use. It also enables you to create live chat rooms.
Their Discord feature is great for setting up traditional chat forums rather than a live one. For Pro and Premium users who have at least $50 worth of earnings, it’s free for up to 50,000 views and lets you reward patrons with special badges.
Discourse, on the other hand, is great for polls, Q&A sessions, and any type of discussion that happens on forums.
For creators who have a blog, podcast web page, or forum, you can utilize Patreon’s WordPress integration that lets you offer your exclusives right from your independent website. You can do this by locking certain content and letting patrons unlock it with their accounts.
It also provides data through site cookies to track your profits and subscriptions. It also lets you set goals and integrate with Google Analytics.
Aside from Discord, Google Analytics, and WordPress, it can connect with other apps as well like Zapier, Goodbits, ConvertKit, and more.
Though not as many as Patreon, SubscribeStar also provides its users various tools and integrations.
It has an analytics section as well where users can check the number of earnings collected per tier, pledges by country, profit charts and sources, membership activity (using site cookies), pledges per tier, and many more. Google Analytics can be integrated as an addition too.
As a creator, you can set up monetary goals and get your members to help you achieve them. To avoid skimming and copyright infringement, you can protect your content by enabling a Trust Period that limits new fans from seeing some of them.
They let creators launch Captcha Tests that require members to pass the test every 24 hours. These tests help prevent bots from scraping your site.
Aside from Captcha tests, you can also enable two-factor authentication to prevent unknown sign-ins from other people.
Like Patreon, you can also integrate Discord with SubscribeStar. This allows you to create a Discord server for members. You can chat with your members through the site or Discord, as well as initiate polls to ask for feedback.
SubscribeStar doesn’t offer as many integrations as Patreon does but they do offer an API and a Webhooks API that you can use to connect your applications from the platform.
You can increase your exposure by getting featured on the SubscribeStar homepage, particularly in its “Success Stories” or “Are You a Star?” sections, upon request. All-Stars are grouped by category, allowing people who follow other stars and have similar interests to find you.
This section will be talking about how users will get paid, how quickly they will be processed, and the payment methods to be used.
Here, you can get payments using a direct deposit via Stripe, PayPal, or Payoneer. You can opt for Stripe to transfer money to your checking account but it cannot be used to transfer money to prepaid debit cards or savings accounts.
Meanwhile, PayPal can be used to transfer the earnings to your bank. You can also set up a PayPal debit or credit card to withdraw at ATMs or make online purchases.
Users who live outside the United States can use Payoneer. It also allows you to transfer money to your bank or set up a Payoneer card to avail your cash.
In terms of withdrawing money, you can either adjust it so that you can automatically get paid every 5th of the month or manually withdraw the cash.
You can only withdraw once every 24 hours which can take between one to five business days upon request. The minimum balance needed to request a payout depends on the method used. You will need a balance of $10 for Paypal and $1 for Payoneer. This should include the additional charges per payout ($0.25 for direct deposit and $1 for Payoneer).
You can also withdraw money using other currencies aside from USD.
As said before, PayPal is not supported on SubscribeStar. You can only withdraw payments straight from your bank account using Wire or ACH.
To do this, you will need to make a payout request. This can only be done every 14 days and can take up to 14 days upon submission to process the request. However, if you are requesting a payout for referral commissions, the payment can take 20 business days to process.
After your subscription is approved, you cannot make a payout request within the first 14 days. You will need a balance of at least 150 USD in earnings and at least five active members to make a payout request.
Education, Resources, and Support for Content Creators
These online platforms offer various free resources and support services to help creators.
Here, there are Patreon-led workshops and creator-led workshops. Creator-led workshops, however, are only available to Pro and Premium users.
The Patreon-led workshops are held live every week and last up to 45 minutes. They feature a new topic every week that includes ways to grow your business. The previous recordings of the on-demand workshop can be re-watched.
Creator-led workshops, on the other hand, are similar to the Patreon-led ones but are hosted by successful creators.
Creators also have access to Patreon U, an online university that can provide you with information about how you can use the platform to generate revenue online properly. You can search for different topics from the University here.
In terms of support, they provide excellent customer service, complete with a help center for both subscribers and creators. The website also has a request form and hotline.
They will also send reminders whenever a subscriber’s payment method fails to remind them to update it.
You can contact SubscribeStar via call or message if you need help. You can also read their FAQs section for answers to common questions.
It has recurring billing, but only if you have at least five active subscribers. If not, your subscribers need to maintain their subscription by manually paying monthly.
Patreon vs SubscribeStar: How are they similar? Which one is better?
In general, Patreon is the better option, considering that it is more well known, has better features, and makes it easier to get paid. If you’re a newbie, you can choose the Lite plan, which is cheaper than a SubscribeStar subscription.
Once you’ve earned enough audience and earnings every month, you can upgrade to a Pro plan to have access to features like membership tiers and app integrations with Discord and Discourse.
Although SubscribeStar is cheaper, it doesn’t allow you to get paid more often, which is a major disadvantage. Patreon lets you withdraw money more frequently, and the minimum payout is way less than its alternative ($10 vs. $150).
However, if you are a political commentator or plan to publish controversial content that may be prohibited on Patreon, you will be better off with an alternative like SubscribeStar. If not, it’s best to settle with Patreon.
This guide discussed the key differences between Patreon and SubscribeStar. For more Launch Space articles, check out the 10 best Omegle alternatives, and our guide to the 25 best eCommerce shopping websites.