With the launch of online businesses like Kickstarter, GoFundMe and Indiegogo, crowdfunding has become immensely popular among consumers, and a legitimate business strategy for some smaller entrepreneurs.
The goodwill that these sites accomplish and the projects that they support may turn for the worse, however, as one of them, Patreon, was recently hacked and the compromised data was released for free on the internet.
Patreon is a newer entrant to this space and came in with a business model that both differentiated itself from its competition and made it an attractive option business ventures. The aforementioned sites allow customers to donate to projects to help them become a reality, and the project owners receive their donations in one, lump sum at the end of the donation drive. Patreon, on the other hand, still allows customers to donate, but does so on a monthly subscription. The donations are typically on the smaller end, but, over time, add up to much more than the other sites. Because of the subscription based model, Patreon has become the site of choice for content producers, like those who make podcasts or YouTube videos.
According to Patreon CEO Jack Conte, the hack compromised user data for people who signed up for the site from its launch in 2013 through last year. The breach exposed information for both customers and those receiving the funds, including names, email addresses, posts and some shipping and billing addresses. User credit card information, passwords, social security numbers and tax form information were not affected, as Conte claimed these were encrypted.
The situation got worse for Patreon, as all the information of roughly 2.3 million users that was obtained in the hack was released online, according to The Verge. The company is conducting an investigation, but recommends users change their passwords as soon as possible.
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