Flattr Makes It Easier Than Ever To Support Content Creators Just By Favoriting Tweets

from the give-it-a-go dept

We’ve written about Flattr a bunch of times over the past few years, as we find it to be a really interesting experiment in both micropayments and in supporting content creators. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept (which was created, in part, by Peter Sunde from The Pirate Bay), each user of Flattr puts some amount of money (total is up to the user) into its account each month, and they can then click on “Flattr” links around the internet. At the end of each month, Flattr tallies up the total amount of content you’ve “flattr’d” and divides your monthly allotment by that amount. Thus, if you want to give creators $10/month, and then flattr 10 pieces of content, each creator will get $1 (actually, $0.90 after Flattr’s 10% cut). If you flattr 20 pieces of content, each one gets $0.50 (er… $0.45). The thing we liked about this is that it gets you past a big part of the mental transaction costs of micropayments: that is, if you have to think about “is this piece of content worth $0.50 or $0.10?” you’re already going to lose a bunch of potential customers who don’t even want to bother with thinking about it. But, with Flattr, they don’t have to think about it for each piece of content. Once they’re convinced to take part and fund their account each month, it makes no difference to them how many piece of content they flattr.

As some of you know, we’ve had a Flattr widget on every one of our posts for the past couple of years. It brings in a small amount of money each month — maybe between $50 and $100 or so. Of course, part of the issue is that there are some usage hurdles. The service has a small but dedicated user base, but it seemed to stagnate over the years. On top of that, there was a bit of a chicken and egg problem, in that the process of finding content that is Flattr-enabled is still somewhat haphazard — and then Flattr users need to remember to flattr that content. However, that’s now getting much easier as Flattr has announced integration with a number of different services, including (most importantly) Twitter, Instagram and Soundcloud (also: Vimeo, Flickr, github, 500px and app.net). So, now, if you connect your accounts, you can give money simply by favoriting tweets.

And, yes, that means if you want to toss a bit of change our way, you can now do so with a Flattr account by favoriting the tweets on our official Twitter account or my personal Twitter feed as well — both of which are connected to the Techdirt Flattr account.

Of course, the other hope in all of this is that it will help lead to more people using Flattr in the first place. That’s because Flattr users who favorite a tweet of someone who is not using Flattr are still designating those flattrs for that account. That doesn’t mean that Flattr is holding money for those accounts (since that could add up!), but simply accumulating flattrs. Thus, if I “favorite” a Twitter account that doesn’t use Flattr once a month, and that person finally signs up for Flattr a year later, it would count all 12 of my favorites as if they came that month (thus giving users on other services incentives to sign up sooner rather than later). Flattr is working on automatically notifying people who can “claim” money, but initially they’re hoping the community will do that job for them, with an “unclaimed” page that highlights those with the most Flattrs on the various connected networks. Someone call Randall Munroe and let him know he has a whole bunch of unclaimed Flatttrs for the xkcd Twitter account. Ditto Wikipedia and the Torproject. Similarly, someone might want to alert Linus that his Github account is leading the way in unclaimed Github flattrs as well.

There are, also, some obvious social networks that are missing — though I’ve been told that Facebook, YouTube and Tumblr are obviously key among them. It sounds like Google+ may be a bit further down the list. All in all, we still love the idea of Flattr, and think that this is a good step as it evolves its business. It still requires getting people to sign up to pay — and that, of course, will always be a big hurdle — but making it easier to do something once you have joined seems like a very good thing.

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Companies: flattr

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Comments on “Flattr Makes It Easier Than Ever To Support Content Creators Just By Favoriting Tweets”

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61 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

TEN PERCENT! FOR DOING WHAT?

“each creator will get $1 (actually, $0.90 after Flattr’s 10% cut)”

Absolutely TOO MUCH for a bit of accounting, calculation, and funds transfer — leaving out the data mining income they no doubt get. — Should be ONE percent, tops.

No, Mike, This is NOT the way to the future. IT’S SHAMELESS GRIFTING.

But thanks for putting it right out front this time.

Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
http://techdirt.com/
Where Mike daily proves the value of an economics degree.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: TEN PERCENT! FOR DOING WHAT?

Exactly…people like sunde could give two shits less about the creative professionals who make our lives better and enrich the world with their work, could actually make a living doing what they do. He wouldn’t have created a site that blatantly allows people to not have to pay for things otherwise. It’s all about making money off of other people’s work! If you guys actually want to support your favorite creators, go to their website and buy something or donate that $10 to them directly. Don’t do it through a glorified tip jar like flattr where OTHER people are the ones making money off the back of someone else!

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: TEN PERCENT! FOR DOING WHAT?

Yes, right! Donate via PayPal. Oh wait, they do exactly the same.

I’d say Sunde cares more about the artists than the MAFIAA. Last time I checked they got 110% out of every penny many artists earned and the only income those artists got was actually from outside the MAFIAA with live performances and so.

Shut up will you?

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: TEN PERCENT! FOR DOING WHAT?

fair is fair:
1. don’t often agree with you, li’l boy blue, but i thought the same thing…
NOT that the operator of such a service doesn’t deserve some payment, but -yeah- 10% seemed kind of stiff-ish for a -seemingly- no/low-cost service that would seem to be competely automated…

2. frankly, i think some of the regulars piling on you for having the temerity to suggest that a 10% skim is justifiable, are wrong… it does NOT matter that the MAFIAA ‘charge’ their artistes far more, etc; is THIS charge ‘fair’ ? ? ?
(not to mention, you have gotten to the point where EVERYONE is pretty much sick and tired of you, so you get piled on as much for your (deserved) bad rep, as you do for the specific point you are making…)

3. other than flattr has the ‘first-mover’ advantage, can’t someone else come along and offer the same/similar service and charge 5% (whatever), and eat their lunch ? ? ?

again, i do not disagree with many of your views -even if mis-aimed- at the general rapaciousness of so-called ‘free-market’ kapitalism, etc; but that does not obviate the copy-maximalist positions you generally take…
just sayin’…

art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Andrew Norton (profile) says:

Actually, Mike, the twitter integration’s been there for a bit. I’ve had some tweets flattr’d over the last two months (the first one being mid-Jan)

Not had any facebook stuff flattr’d yet, but still, early days still. Was just explaining about it to a friend at CBS corporate on Sunday in fact.

And despite the nay-sayers (or nay-sayer – who can tell) above, I’ve embraced flattr for one reason – it’s SIMPLE. Paypal, etc. are a real PITA, with flattr, it’s set+forget, and it just takes a click or two.

It’s a facebook ‘like’ or twitter ‘favourite’ that MEANS SOMETHING

Anonymous Coward says:

And, yes, that means if you want to toss a bit of change our way, you can now do so with a Flattr account by favoriting the tweets on our official Twitter account or my personal Twitter feed as well — both of which are connected to the Techdirt Flattr account.

You’d probably do better at a busy intersection with a squeegee than this.

Matthew Snell (profile) says:

Tipping Point & Now I Know...

This article was the tipping point for me to actually sign up for Flattr. Will see how it goes.TechDirt was my 1st Flattr as it only seemed fair.

Flattr is just putting you money where your like is.

I think the comments are going to give me an insight to how people have reacted to similar economic change in the past – “paper money!?! never! how does that have any value? I’ll continue to barter and carry my gold around thank you…”; “Tips! Why not just pay me a decent wage!” – “Shares! Forget about it, people want to own companies, not paper…” – “Copyright!?! Royalties!?! Forget about it, I will stick to my patron thank you very much” – “Give away the razor and charge for the blades!?! You crazy?” – “Free software? In-app purchases? Ain’t no money in that.”

Only time will tell if Flattr will work, but it is a step in the right direction – it may prove to only be the alpha, beta or 1.0 of what really takes off – or prove itself a worthy component of new economic reward systems we are yet to see.

The bottom line is that as we change the way we interact and engage the world, so does our valuation of those things around us, therefore, the way we reward or compensate needs to adjust as well. I’m sure there are thousands of economic degrees earnt on this premise alone.

Once/if the 1st individual or business earns a decent income from Flattr, it will be the tipping point for Flattr and it’s potential foreseeable.

Anonymous Coward says:

As some of you know, we’ve had a Flattr widget on every one of our posts for the past couple of years. It brings in a small amount of money each month — maybe between $50 and $100 or so.

Thus confirming my oft-stated contention that the freeloading cheapskates of Techdirt Nation simply don’t feel like paying for anything. All this free speech horseshit is a facade to conceal their selfish, miserly core. Seriously, you’d think the legion of fanboys, sycophants, toadys, hangers-on and lickspittles constantly claiming to support creators and not being motivated by personal greed- would at least support leader of their cult. But no. Their true nature holds fast.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Thus confirming my oft-stated contention that the freeloading cheapskates of Techdirt Nation simply don’t feel like paying for anything.

Um, that would be a really dumb assumption to make, now wouldn’t it? Flattr is simply one service and one of many ways to support us. The fact that not everyone on the site uses it says little to nothing about how much anyone feels like paying for something.

What kind of person would jump to such a ridiculous conclusion from that data point? Clearly someone who is predisposed towards an answer (proven by the ad hom above ads well).

All this free speech horseshit is a facade to conceal their selfish, miserly core. Seriously, you’d think the legion of fanboys, sycophants, toadys, hangers-on and lickspittles constantly claiming to support creators and not being motivated by personal greed- would at least support leader of their cult. But no. Their true nature holds fast.

Er… we do get a ton of support from our fans via many other methods — such as advertising, research deals, consulting, the insider shop and much more.

That people don’t specifically use flattr says little about how much people are willing to pay.

Are you really so focused on dissing us that you’d so misrepresent something? Honestly, this just makes you look kinda dense.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I remember other numbers being discussed in other articles but they are all specific to single sources.

@Mike: I think most people would agree with me when we say we are very interested in revenue you get from your readers as a whole. Would you mind doing some post about it? You can throw an approx value and work with percentages, it would be enlightening. I’m just curious and I’ll understand if you don’t want those numbers out but that’s an idea!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Er… we do get a ton of support from our fans via many other methods — such as advertising, research deals, consulting, the insider shop and much more.

I’d guess that advertisers are interested in eyeballs and aren’t exactly “fans”. Same with consulting and research clients. They are getting a specific work product in exchange for a fee. Insider Shop… maybe t shirts and coffee mugs put some money in your pocket. Insider Chat seems like the same 5-10 people. But the pure content generated on the TD site seems, as you said, to generate $50-100 per month. Ad revenue is clearly tied to the content, but you have said in the past that it is minimal. All of this leads me to believe that TD is a loss leader for Floor 64 and is kept alive by other, tangible activities and could not survive on its own. That said, I do see how TD itself could serve as advertising for the research and consulting business of Floor 64.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What??? I said the advertisers weren’t necessarily fans- you know, the guys paying Masnick money to run their ads. Masnick was trying to claim advertising revenue as evidence of fan support. The fans aren’t paying for the ads (or much of anything else it appears).

Is English not your first language?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

God are you thick. I’M STILL TALKING ABOUT HIS CLAIM THAT ADVERTISERS SOMEHOW CONSTITUTED FAN SUPPORT. Got that?

You’d be amazed at how it helps to have people like your site as a way of convincing them to buy advertising on it.

i.e., a significant portion of advertising on the site is purchased by organizations who employ fans.

I recognize that you don’t understand how advertising works, but displaying your own total ignorance on the matter takes special talents.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Insider Chat seems like the same 5-10 people.

It intrigues me, I’ve seen much, much more people with the insider badge in the comments but I think not all insiders have access to the insider chat so that would explain it. Some of the insiders in the chat barely ever talk. What you see are the most talkative ones (ahem).

But the pure content generated on the TD site seems, as you said, to generate $50-100 per month.

That’s from Flattr alone… And the insider shop is exactly pumped up by Techdirt content much like Harry Potter merchandise wouldn’t sell if it wasn’t for the popularity of the books. They are getting at about $4.17 per month from me alone so considering the others have the standard package (there are tiers above and below mine) the 5-10 people from the insider chat alone bring in $20-$40 per month on top of Flattr (which is a pretty limited platform so far). Can you see how many variables you are leaving out of the equation?

I do see how TD itself could serve as advertising for the research and consulting business of Floor 64.

That’s the only thing you said that makes any sense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It appears you can get an insider badge for free or $1. Access to Insider Chat and other services costs more.

And surely TD probably drums up business for Floor 64, but don’t know how much. My point still remains that TD could never stand on its own two feet financially.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Not for free. You can get those reports and books for free though.

Your point is still weak. One could say he can do his consulting and research jobs because he gained credibility with Techdirt. How about that? That means most of the money Floor 64 generates come from the credibility he earned and maintains via Techdirt and the insider shop and features are just an extra (although I suspect I’d love to earn that monthly extra).

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Funny how Masnick champions the give-it-away-and-pray model but can’t even make a go of it himself with a fairly high-traffic site like TD. Imagine what it is like for creators whose cost to create content exceeds Masnick’s by millions.

It must be exhausting being so consistently wrong. Tell me, do you work hard at it? Does it take practice?

We do not champion “give it away and pray.” In fact we’ve said the opposite. http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080522/1545021204.shtml

So, no, we don’t rely on “give it away and pray,” we rely on an overall business strategy that is working quite nicely for us, contrary to your general assertions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am financially supportive of a large number of creators and causes I believe in or whose work I enjoy. And I am not a member of, but a detractor of Techdirt Nation.

I have no expectation that everyone support every venue offering free content the read, watch or listen to. But I find it interesting that the zealots here collectively kick in as little as $50/month to support their spiritual leader. You’re one of the more odious yes-men. How much are you in for?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

I realize that even among the other “special” kids, you stand out as a particularly challenging case. I haven’t figured out yet whether you are simply unreasonable, or just slow. Right now, my money is on “slow”. Never fear, my developmentally disabled friend- I’ll continue to edify you in the hope of evoking some lucid thought some time in the future.

Cerberus (profile) says:

Re: Adoption!

I have happily sent most of my ? 2/month Flattr money to Techdirt over the past six months or so. Why not? And once in a long while I come across another site with a Flattr button, but Techdirt still gets most. I know, it’s still a puny amount, but it’s more than other free websites get from me, precisely because of the reasons Mike laid out. I will pay more once I make more money. For similar reasons, I have spent more on Android applications than on any other platform so far.

Evan Schoepke (user link) says:

Misconceptions about Flattr

Hi I’m Evan, global biz dev with Flattr. I wanted to address some misconceptions about our service. First off, the criticisms around our 10% fee. The reason Flattr is already a success (albeit one not so well known in the US) is because we can pay our devs well enough to build awesome stuff, and because we help support creators of all types. In the near future as our userbase continues to rapidly expand in new countries we would like to lower our fee. We are also at this moment considering other options to lower fees such as accepting and paying out in Bitcoin. Other misconceptions that arise often have to do with pending payments. Trust me when I say Flattr will never force you to make money you don’t want. Finally, I would like to address that some folks think Peter Sunde is a jerk, this is not true, that is all for now thanks everybody for the lively discussions. If you have any questions for me or anything partner related I’m also happy to correspond. evan (at) Flattr.com

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Misconceptions about Flattr

Finally, I would like to address that some folks think Peter Sunde is a jerk, this is not true,

That is incorrect. Many people, including me- think Peter Sunde is a jerk. Others think he’s a douchebag. And still more hold a variety of opinions of him.

Thanks for letting us watch you lick the hand that feeds you.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Misconceptions about Flattr

Mr. Schoepke, you can ignore the trolls here. They hate everything about this site, yet somehow spend each and every day commenting on it. They have sad, miserable lives and you can’t convince them of anything.

Flattr is an awesome idea – but it needs to permeate the web before it’s truly useful. Keep at it!

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