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How Patreon Champions its Creators and Patrons’ Data Rights

Charles Kim
May 12th, 2020 · 2 min read

In 2013, YouTube musician, and future Patreon CEO, Jack Conte had a problem: millions of fans loved his videos, but only hundreds of dollars hit his bank account. To solve this, Jack created a way for his fans to pay directly for the value he was giving them.

Enter Patreon, a company dedicated to powering membership businesses for over 150,000 creators and a subscription-style payment model to over 4,000,000 patrons. As of 2019, creators have earned over a billion dollars on the platform. But, Patreon’s immense universe of creators, patrons, content, and payments also means extensive data and risk when it comes to privacy and security. Today, Patreon successfully uses Transcend to ensure data rights to all of its users.

Using Transcend, Patreon seamlessly receives data requests, securely authenticates them, and automatically assembles a user’s data in seconds. On the front-end, Transcend powers Patreon’s user-friendly and on-brand Privacy Center at privacy.patreon.com, and enables patrons and creators alike to gain access to all of their data in 30 seconds through the click of a button. Within 24 hours of the launch of their Transcend-powered Privacy Center, Patreon received over 700 support tickets that thanked them for being one of the few companies that truly respect a user’s privacy.

Patreon Privacy Center screenshot
Patreon's Privacy Center, at privacy.patreon.com

Before implementing Transcend, the Patreon team manually handled user data requests from an email address on their privacy policy page. They’d spend over 6 hours per user, over the course of days or weeks, painstakingly gathering data across multiple teams and platforms to fulfill the entirety of the request. The email process also created a necessary challenge of securely verifying that an incoming email was associated with a claim to a particular Patreon account. As we know now, unfortunately, many companies experience data breaches as a direct result of these email-style authentication processes.

Nothing about Patreon’s old process is unique. Everything from the email address in the privacy policy to the manual data collection is the current industry standard. At its core, this problem is due to a lack of data infrastructure, as businesses have never had to orchestrate one person’s data across dozens (sometimes thousands!) of data systems.

Patreon knows that checking a box on compliance is no longer enough. With every decision made on the internet leaving a digital footprint, users need the ability to control their personal data. Most companies want to grant users this control but struggle with outdated infrastructure that can’t meet today’s needs.

Transcend makes it possible for companies to put their users, everywhere, in control of their data. This solution enables companies to move faster and also enables a better consumer experience. That’s important because sketchy data rights processes can contribute to consumer distrust. When a person requests a data deletion, the process can be as painful as going to the DMV — sitting on the phone with customer support for hours, working with legal over a few days or weeks, and having to submit paperwork or answer a series of authentication questions. Our Data Privacy Infrastructure solves this so entirely that we get to give users a seamless data rights experience too.

Together, our Data Privacy Infrastructure and Privacy Centers power the modern data rights experience that consumers expect and deserve. We believe an ordinary company complies with data rights laws, but a great company recognizes and embraces the opportunity in them, giving users unfettered access to their basic rights.

Thank you, Patreon, for granting data rights to millions.

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