hey mastofriends! I'm asking this over here since the general populace is VERY different from twitter:

How much would it cost to program/code a website similar to Patreon? Something very simple with not a lot of bells and whistles? Assume that the payment processing and all the general visual assets have been taken care of.

(Feel free to boost/tag whoever might be able to answer this.)

if you want something done right you gotta do it yourself etc etc etc

(ALSO yes I'm aware of payment processor troubles, let's just assume that's not a factor right now.)

Thanks for the feedback everyone!! I've got a much better idea now.

love to give myself work eternally, lol

@itsnero depends on which *part* of patreon you're trying to recreate. just the donation management? the private posts? etc etc

@itsnero not terrible. It's a blog with access levels and PayPal integration. A week or two, maybe?

@makyo it'd mostly be aimed at adult content creators, so no paypal unfortunately :/ Good to know tho!

@makyo @itsnero adult content sales are also against Stripe's terms of service

@patterfloof @makyo they've been super wishy-washy about it- theyre TOS forbids 'pornography', but they've also said that 'erotica' and drawn art is allowed. BIG SHRUG

@itsnero Few minutes work got the project layout, so yeah, figure it'd be quick ^^

@makyo DAMN NICE!! yeah I just couldn't tell if there was something complicated outside of the processor troubles I was missing, lol

@makyo @itsnero What language do you want to write it in? I'm imagining three sprints, maybe four.... ^v^

@itsnero my understanding of how payment processing work is that it is the hard part; between Really Important To Get Right code about financial transactions + the nightmare of trying to use visa/mastercard to do anything even slightly out of the norm (by which i mean porn, mostly) there's a lot of concerns. outside of that it's just web code that basically any web programmer could throw together.

@xax I've done a fair amount of research into payment processing in the past and from working with Slipshine, so there's that leg up at least. Got some adult-friendly companies in mind already!!

@itsnero a few weeks at max.
forking liberapay and adding things like posts, rewards and a less weird money handling would be an option too

@itsnero Stripe has an API that lets you do exactly this. The good news is it's very well-documented, the bad news is, it's an entire API.

@jdlwerewolf yeah, I have a plugin in my shop that uses this I think? it works well but also: it requires having a shopify account, which isn't cheap

@itsnero Shopify isn't necessary if you write your own code with the Stripe toolset, AFAIK, but then, I know nobody who's actually done that

@jdlwerewolf @itsnero there's a lot of good parts in that API, including Stripe Connect - that'd let the site take a percentage of payments (for operating costs etc) & send the rest to the artists/contributors, without the site having to hold all the money first

@itsnero If you want the thing and don't want to code it, Gumroad's subscription feature is a decent alternative. The CEO is no fan of capitalists.

@itsnero They're also okay with adult content. Just tag it as adult so their promotion system knows how to market it. When I asked about it, they said Gumroad was bursting at the seams with it to emphasize how okay it is.


> assuming that payment processing has been taken care of

that’s the hard part, ime. payment processors will tie you in knots because the patreon use-case is a nightmare for them to regulate, to prevent things like fraud or laundering. liberapay ran into issues related to this and almost went down permanently.

@garbados Yep, I'm pretty familiar with payment processors! I just don't have any indepth experience with setting something like this up. I used to do webdev/front end design, but it wasn't anything of this scale.

@itsnero gotcha! i tried doing this with some friends and got bogged down in systems minutiae 😐

@itsnero @garbados I would like to hear more about a payment processor that isn't shitty for this use case! That would be fantastic!

The core functionality of Patreon is easy to implement once you have the legal/regulatory/financial stuff out of the way.

@itsnero hmmmMMMM

assuming you're starting from no code, let's say two months of full-time work from a single software engineer, so 340 hours. i'm not familiar with contract work but i think $50/hr for a contractor is reasonable, so $17k, and i'm probably cutting a few estimates short, so round up to $20k? it feels within a rough order of magnitude at leasst
@itsnero i might be overestimating if anything but i'd want to test the absolute hell out of it because it works with people's money. other than that, it's not terribly involved, just a lot of drudgework.

also to be clear that's an estimate for 'get something that i could be reasonably confident actually launching to the public'. getting something ready for closed beta would take maybe half that.

@hierarchon noted, thank you! And tbh it's always better to estimate high than low in this case

@itsnero yeah i took my original estimate of how long it'd take me to do it, and then doubled it, because that's what always happens

@itsnero yeah like i'm not super experienced w/ web dev stuff but my understanding of scope is that on a technical level it's... a login system + a blog with category labels + assorted social-y bits-and-pieces, which isn't entirely trivial but it's also not a whole lot, so like a month or two of work for one or two web devs to get a working demo seems broadly correct

@itsnero Been kicking around ideas for this in my head. I'm probably going to push for it in my group once we've finished our current project. Working full time it probably wouldn't take all that much time.

@itsnero Or maybe I'd need to start a new group for it. Who knows. My attempt to get our current thing under the CPL seems to have failed and it'd definitely have to be run as a co-op.

@itsnero the two-month estimate seems about right. possibly longer depending on how robust one wants to make it. I know different payment processors all have different API, so you'd have to make it ready to swap out when problems arise.

@itsnero Patreon went up over night, and if we consider that to be a reasonable MVP, that would still be possible. In fact, I'd say probably could with the right team get it up in about 3 hours. But that would be a minimally viable product. That would provide the ability to offer fairly close to the, lowest tier that they are offering, maybe not "everything" though they're basically not offering much.

Now the payment processing could be tricky to handle as that's the hardest thing now.

@itsnero You’re a veritable force of nature, Nero.

@Ferrovore I'm just so tired of seeing The Patreon Situation and The Tumblr Situation repeat themselves over and over again!! RUARGH

@itsnero If you assume the hard parts are done, everything is easy.

@itsnero If you're really good you might be able to produce a website like that in a month or so, but not if you're a beginner or even intermediate. Creating websites that handle sensitive user data need to be created using high security standards. Putting sex workers at risk by creating a badly secured website is irresponsible.

@itsnero Also you need a good knowledge of server administration, including good knowledge of cyber security and automated backups. There are lots and lots of ways to fuck up cyber security, so including a cyber security expert in a project like that is important. But if you're not an expert it's also hard to tell whether someone is an expert or they are just trying to rip you off.

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