The second year of Liberapay

Today is the 2-year anniversary of Liberapay’s launch! Let’s reflect on the past year, and look at what’s ahead.

“Liberapay lantern”, CC-By David Revoy, from “Pepper&Carrot is now on Liberapay

Highlights of the past year

2017 was a busy and eventful year.

During the first quarter we moved our servers to Europe, and implemented “expense reimbursements”. This private feature will become available to all organizations on Liberapay in 2018.

In the second quarter of the year the rise of the Mastodon social network had a significant impact on us. We created our account in April, then a month later we implemented linking a Mastodon account to a Liberapay profile (as well as pledging to Mastodon users who haven’t joined Liberapay yet). Another month later, the Mastodon team joined Liberapay! These events are great examples of two open source projects supporting each other, spontaneously and independently (we didn’t ask each other to do what we did).

In June we implemented listing GitHub and GitLab.com repositories on Liberapay profiles.

In July, Liberapay was presented at the Libre Software Meeting. Around the same time the Matrix project joined Liberapay, and a week later the webcomic creator David Revoy announced his Liberapay account.

In August we added Twitch and Youtube to the platforms that Liberapay can interact with.

In September we added a new payment method: direct debits! This is currently only available to users in the euro area, but hopefully our payment processors will support more countries in the future.

The final quarter of 2017 was very intense. In early October we learned that Gratipay, the US-based platform from which Liberapay was forked, would shut down at the end of the year. At the time Liberapay only supported one currency (the euro), but with the end of Gratipay we decided to add support for the US dollar. This was a lot of work in a very short time, but we were able to get it roughly done in time for the official announcement of Gratipay’s shutdown. You can read our announcement to learn more about our currencies on Liberapay:

In December another platform, Patreon, had a big impact on Liberapay. They announced a modification of their platform’s fee structure, which was criticized by almost everyone. Eventually they canceled their plan, but for several days many patrons dropped or reduced their pledges, and the traffic on Liberapay surged as people looked into alternatives to Patreon. In a week the volume of donations on Liberapay jumped by 50%. We spent a lot of time answering questions and support requests in December as a result of this “Patreon feeasco”.

Other improvements

Here’s a non-exhaustive list of other changes we pushed in 2017:

  • A new look for profile pages and lists of profiles.
  • Better profile metadata so that links posted on social networks create nice boxes showing avatar+title+description.
  • Revamped donation forms.
  • Nicer input of payment card details.
  • New homepage sections to explain how the platform works and expose its top features.
  • Custom amounts when adding money to fund one’s donations, and improved form when withdrawing one’s earnings.
  • Possibility of changing the “type” of an account from “individual” to “organization” or vice versa.
  • Creation of a redirection when an account’s name (and thus its URL) is modified, and implementation of name changes for team accounts.
  • Proper cancellation of bank wires for donors who change their mind about using this payment method.

Translations

Our translators worked hard in 2017, and thanks to them Liberapay is currently fully available in 12 languages, with 6 others above 50%! Reminder: you can contribute.

Growth

The number of active users on Liberapay has grown almost tenfold since last year, and the volume of donations has jumped eightfold!

Partial screenshot of Liberapay’s stats page (February 3rd, 2018)

Forward!

In last year’s anniversary post we said that we were going to “keep improving Liberapay”. We did exactly that, albeit not always in the areas we were aiming for. Of course we’re going to continue this year. There’s still plenty to do, from adding more documentation to supporting more currencies, from improving the donation form to facilitating team management, from fixing bugs to preventing future ones

The new features we’re planning to land in 2018 include: automatic payments (to save time for donors and increase income stability for creators), the possibility to download good account statements, more options to customize one’s profile, new ways to distribute money inside a collective.

We hope you’ll support us in our endeavor to make Liberapay even better, and we wish you all a great and happy year!


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