The downsides of making money off of merchandise are discussed in the history section. Merchandise provides an inconsistent income source, it profits the vendor more than the individual creator, and it depended on a depends of continual relevance and cultural presence that not all webcomics could depend on. Advertising, meanwhile, goes through middlemen and creates backlash from audiences searching for a cohesive visual experience. In addition to this factor, the adblocker has steadily climbed in popularity over the last two decades.
More and more, and even preceding the 2010s, creators have been asking: if my large number of fans is supportive of my work, wouldn’t at least a fraction of them be able to support my work directly? In the late 2000s and early 2010s, this question became a ubiquitous reality in the form of two sites and their imitators: Kickstarter and Patreon.