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Patreon Launches Developer Program to Take Membership Everywhere

Patreon has long provided creatives with a way to build subscription and member services on its platform. Now, it wants to take the same approach all across the web, with the help of third-party tools that help to integrate Patreon into WordPress blogs, web forums and elsewhere.

The company unveiled a new developer program Wednesday that aims to both give creators a way to integrate third-party services and encourage developers to build new integrations for its service. “Patreon can now unlock membership benefits however a creator chooses,” said Brent Horowitz, the company’s VP of business and corporate development. “It’s to make membership better for creators.”

Some of the tools are specifically designed to extend membership benefits across the web, including to WordPress blogs, Discourse forums and an upcoming integration with Slack that will allow creators to converse with their most engaged fans. “This allows creators to decide where to put their content,” Horowitz said.

Other third-party apps are meant to simplify the logistics of running a membership business. Some Patreon creators regularly send out physical goods to supporters. Others have separate newsletters for their different membership tiers, or they use Google Sheets to keep track of their members’ data. “We want those tools to work well with membership,” said Horowitz.

Patreon’s app directory currently only lists a handful of such third-party services, but there is a twist: The company has also integrated with Zapier, which allows creators to connect their Patreon account to hundreds of third-party services. Zapier does charge for some usage levels, and Horowitz said that Patreon plans to also let other developers charge for the apps they build for the Patreon creator community. At least for now, Patreon won’t take a cut out of those fees.

Patreon has been on a bit of a roll lately: The company raised $60 million in funding in September, and has announced that it is on track to pay out more than $150 million to creators this year. Patreon is getting some competition from other services that target a subset of creators with their own monetization models. However, most of them are primarily focused on monetizing content on their specific platforms, as opposed to across the entire web. Said Horowitz: “We don’t believe that that’s creator-first.”

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