After a LOT of deliberation (good couple of years at this point) I’ve decided to break my silence as it were as far as Patreon is concerned. This is something I’ve well and truly been on the fence about for a long old time, for a couple of reasons. First off I try to keep the recurring monthly costs leaving my bank account absolutely minimal, because it’s too easy to let those ‘small’ amounts stack up and hinder me in terms of acquiring the things I really want – I’d much rather regularly squirrel money in to a savings account myself of my own accord. Secondly because there are an absolute ton of people out there with patreon accounts and deciding which ones to support has been very tricky for me indeed. There are dozens and dozens of creators out there who I like, a couple of them I’m lucky enough to meet and/or talk with now and then, and if I was superbly rich and could buy everything I wanted to post about myself without any concern I’d buy in to the top tier for every one of those people’s Patreon pages. This is the real world however.
At this time, I’ve opted to support Forgotten Weapons and Kit Badger. Two websites/YouTube channels which inhabit a similar-ish firearms realm, but one with a well established following and one that is comparatively new. My primary reasoning for these decisions is quite simple, it’s about the amount of knowledge I’m gaining from a given channel or site. There are many, many other content creators out there whose articles, videos and images I enjoy immensely and many I learn from as well, but overall the 2 mentioned are doing what I assess to be the best jobs in terms of teaching me the things I really want to learn. Of course there are also other factors and my belief is both Ian and Ivan are down-to-earth, decent members of the human race who firmly believe in integrity. I believe they’re also people who want to impart knowledge for the benefit of others, rather than merely becoming internet famous and I don’t support people who I think engage in that.
I hope and would like to think many of you reading this are here because you’re learning things (as I do every day) and because you want to understand gear, firearms and other related topics. Obviously there’s some posts that are purely for the hell of it mixed in there because nobody ever learned anything from a plaid combat shirt, but all work and no play makes jack a dull boy.
I’ve been subscribed to the Forgotten Weapons’ channel for many years now. I found it a long time ago based on a thumbnail that popped up for a video detailing an extremely unusual black power based light weapon that featured multiple chambers allowing for multiple shots in rapid succession, something that was of course quite rare for the time period. I’d seen an example of the same type of gun myself at the National Firearms Centre attached to the Royal Armouries in Leeds and at that time it was my first experience of any black powder-era gun that could actually fire more than one shot without reloading, previously I’d honestly believed no such thing ever existed.
Ivan over at Kit Bager looks at firearms through a more modern lens of hunting, recreation and personal protection. He showcases exactly the sorts of weapons and related activities I’d like to do but am either entirely barred from partaking in, or would have to go to really great lengths to partake in. He’s also former military (and civilian contractor) and an avid outdoorsman who reviews all sorts of outdoor and tactical gear from a perspective of both experience and grounded common sense. His videos also look that good that Soldier Systems Daily features them fairly often and I am glad of that in particular.
Now sometimes I do question Patreon purely in the same sense as I do YouTube, because most of these large companies are very much afraid of being painted with a brush of over-reaction by certain elements in the media. It was radical, extremist and terrorist related content that caused YouTube to lose tons of ad revenue and all type of channels lost out because of that. However based on an aggregate of a lot of different articles created by people who know, policies of demonisation have particularly hit channels related to firearms; not to mention those covering other things like knives, airsoft and anything similar that’s bad and evil and upsets people for no logical reason. So my concern is that the same thing could happen to Patreon and from what I know it did already happened to KickStarter a long time back; and I would call KickStarter Patreon in reverse.
However as things stand Patreon seems fairly neutral and sensible in its’ policies. I don’t think anyone ‘needs’ to support any creators they follow in a monetary fashion because those channels and blogs can always put up a paywall if they so choose. My stance is that it’s worth considering who you really learn from or enjoy the most, then maybe chipping in if it is appropriate. That helps to support the people you personally deem most worthy of that support in order that they keep creating the content you want to see.
Personally of course I don’t have a Patreon page, I used to make a small amount of money from YouTube, around £100-150 every 6 months very roughly, but that’s all gone now on account of the decreased amount of ad money available and the fact various work issues meant I had to take a fair break from really putting up any videos. I don’t think the patron based funding thing is ever going to be right to me because I don’t have a really nailed down schedule of regularity for publishing content. This is just a hobby for me personally and it might spoil my enjoyment of it if it became about making any money instead of just doing it because I like it. But if the ‘follower’ numbers were to somehow magically increase drastically in a few years the system I’d employ would be along these lines:
-All funds received each month go in to a pot that builds up
-Once said pot reaches an appropriate amount, I’d open up a post to any and all suggestions from the patrons on which gear items they want to see reviewed
-Once the money is there (or if close I’d add in some of my own) a specific vote based on the most popular suggestions from the earlier input would be undertaken
-The winning piece of kit from said vote is purchased, tried/tested and a review post on the blog or video uploaded
-That item is then given away to a patron
To me, running that as a cycle would make by far the most sense given that I’m not somebody doing this as my actual job and I genuinely don’t even have the storage space to keep the gear that was purchased.
Let me know what you all think of this particular subject and your feelings on any and all of the points raised above. I’m just one person and I appreciate perspectives other than my own coming in.