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- Date Established
- New York, NY
- Competitive pricing for higher-volume sellers
- Well-designed UI
- Free trial available
- Expensive for low-volume sellers
- Must sell your products on your own website
Launched in 2014 in New York City and led by founder Spencer Fry, Podia began its life as Coach, a site for sellers of online courses and digital downloads. Coach had — and has — more than 7,500 creators on its site selling their digital wares directly to customers.
However, Coach had grander aspirations. On December 5, 2017, Coach rebranded as Podia and announced that it had raised $3 million in seed funding. The rebranded company now allows creators to offer memberships to its customers so they can earn revenue on a recurring basis.
It’s important to note that Podia doesn’t identify as a crowdfunding platform. However, at the time of its rebranding, the company began to market itself as a more creator-friendly alternative to the subscription-based crowdfunding site Patreon (see our review). Unlike Patreon, Podia doesn’t take a 5% fee out of what you earn. Podia also lets you sell digital content on a one-off basis directly to customers — something Patreon doesn’t allow. In addition, Podia is offering to take Patreon users’ existing content and import it to new Podia accounts free of charge.
It may not be a traditional crowdfunder, but all things considered, I think Podia deserves consideration as a crowdfunding platform for creators of digital content.
Let’s take a closer look at what Podia has to offer.
Table of Contents
Unlike most crowdfunding sites, Podia doesn’t direct you to choose a particular campaign specialty (technology, games, music, etc.) when you sign up. Instead, they simply prompt you to set up a membership. Those who want your content sign up for access to it in exchange for a monthly subscription. You’re also offered the chance to sell online courses and digital downloads on a one-off basis. If you’re in the business of producing digital content and monetizing it, this gives you greater flexibility in how you want to offer your creations than Patreon does.
If you set up a Podia account, you’ll be able to start selling memberships, digital courses, and digital downloads as soon as you complete the account setup process. Podia’s terms of service prohibit copyright infringement, misleading/fraudulent content, spamming, and libel.
The TOS also lays out a policy against material that “contains or depicts nudity, contains or depicts sexual activity, or is otherwise inappropriate as determined by us in our sole discretion.” This would seem to preclude all content that could be considered “adult.” This is a bit curious considering Podia promotes itself as a more creator-attuned alternative to Patreon, which does allow some forms of adult content. At least in this respect, Podia is more restrictive of creators than Patreon, not less.
Terms & Fees
These are Podia’s terms and fees:
|Funding Duration Limit:||None|
|Podia Platform Fee:||$79/month to offer memberships, $39/month to sell digital content w/out memberships|
|Payment Processing Fee:||Charged to subscribers/buyers|
You can try Podia free for a period of 30 days. Subscription to the Shaker package, which costs $79/month and lets you offer memberships, online courses, and digital downloads for sale — along with email marketing — is discounted 16.7% if you buy the yearly package. Subscription to the Mover package, which costs $39/month and includes everything from the Shaker package but the memberships, is likewise discounted 16.7% when you buy an annual subscription. Additionally, the Shaker plan includes assistance with migrating your data from your Patreon account (if applicable).
Relative to Patreon, Podia’s pricing system is indeed a boon to creators (provided said creators pull in a hefty chunk of money through subscriptions). Let’s say you make $4,000 a month on Patreon. From a pure profit perspective (i.e. ignoring Patreon’s other benefits, such as hosting your campaign and providing more sophisticated traffic analytics), you stand to take home more of your earnings with Podia than with Patreon. A monthly fee of $79 is a lot less than 5% of $4,000 — and with transaction fees, you’re probably paying more like 10% of what you make in fees with Patreon.
For smaller creators, however, Podia is less of an enticing value proposition. Lots of Patreon creators pull in just $100 or $200 a month with their campaigns. It may not seem like much, but this extra income can be absolutely essential to creators who are just scraping by. Making creators who are offering subscriptions pay a flat rate of $79/month instead of a monthly percentage of their earnings places a much greater burden on the smaller creators/sellers relative to the big earners. For the creator/seller making $150/month selling subscriptions to their content, $79/month is obviously much more onerous than 5-10% of monthly earnings!
Another factor to consider is that while Patreon hosts your subscription campaign, Podia does not. Instead, Podia lets you sell subscriptions/downloads on your own site with a white-label solution.
Setting up a Podia account is straightforward and mostly surprise-free. You’ll have to connect to a Stripe (see our review) account to enable memberships, however.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
Podia discloses relevant information about its services on its website, and the information seems comprehensive and complete.
Customer Service & Technical Support
Podia offers a series of articles to help you through various aspects of using the service. In terms of direct assistance, Podia offers email support and live chat. In fact, Podia’s founder even offered to meet up with me in the NYC area when I signed up for the service!
Negative Reviews & Complaints
I couldn’t find too much in the way of feedback regarding Podia. One reviewer noted that, unlike some competing platforms, Podia doesn’t allow for multiple authors within one account. Another review noted that the platform “is not the cheapest solution out there.”
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
The aforementioned reviewer noted that his experience with Podia was quite positive overall, praising the design, aesthetics, and community-building features of the platform. Another reviewer had nothing but positive things to say about Podia’s membership features, online courses, pricing, and ease of use.
Podia offers producers of digital content a compelling alternative to Patreon’s model of membership-based crowdfunding. If you earn a thousand dollars a month or more from digital sales on Patreon, simple math dictates that you stand to take home more of what you earn with Podia, provided you don’t mind hosting and selling your offerings on your own site. You’ll also be able to offer a greater variety of content.
However, many creators use Patreon not as their sole means of support but rather as a way of supplementing their income by monetizing passion projects. For these creators, a hundred bucks a month or so can mean the difference between being able to afford dental insurance or not. For smaller creators looking for a more seller-friendly platform on which to host their campaigns, Podia isn’t a realistic alternative; the monthly cost is simply too high.
For the higher-volume seller of digital content, however, Podia makes a lot of sense as a membership platform.