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Flattr 2.0

Do you remember Flattr? Me neither.

Flattr was a micropayment system for blogs, allowing you to mark a blog article for payment when you liked it. A fixed amount you budget for micropayments per month was then being distributed equally across all flattr’d articles. So assuming you budget 10 EUR per month for flattr, and you clicked on 20 things a months, each thing would earn their creator 0.50 EUR that month.

In reality, Flattr existed mostly to generate and finance Podcasts by Tim Pritlove, of course.

Anyway, with the end of Google Reader and the demise of Blogging outside of walled gardens, Flattr also kind of ended.

The ashes have been bought by Eyeo (yes, the ABP people) in April this year, and they are now launching a completely revamped Flattr, on 24-Oct in Berlin.

Leveraging a browser plugin. Guess which one that could possibly be.

I am divided.

On one hand, the ad “industry” is a mess. The technology used for web ads is underdeveloped and a bad mess. That is hardly surprising, because who wants to write ad-servers and targeting software? Ads are also a waste of bandwidth, a blight on any design, and a channel for targeting malware.

Sites are using ads, because like everybody else they can’t, literally, for the life of it figure out how to make money from showing content. Flattr, like many other systems, tries to provide an alternative with it, and pairing it with ABP seems like a good way to bundle the carrot and the stick into an attractive package.

On the other hand, this will be messy, because all those quality journalism publications will want to try to prevent Eyeo from becoming a toll booth on what they think is their own private and exclusive road to the consumer. So there will be quite some noise and a barrage of lawsuits from each and every single newspaper currently showing ads against that.

And of course, privacywise this has the potential to be a complete mess, too, because with that plugin (‘no button press necessary’) what you are actually doing is delivering your complete browser history to Eyeo. They claim not to in the mail below, so it’s important to review and eval this in detail and see what they are trying in order to match readers with content creators and not create a complete audit trail.

Here is the mail:

Dear Kristian,

You’ve been a really important part of the Flattr community for some time now, so we wanted to share two exciting updates with you. Firstly, we’re launching a brand new, greatly improved version of Flattr very soon (more on this in a minute) and secondly, we’re hosting a celebration! 🎉

What: Flattr launch: Get paid to party (!!)
When: 24th October at 6pm until 11pm
Where: Blogfabrik, OranienStraße 185, 10999 Berlin

You can find more information on the event and RSVP here. As you’ll see, we’re trying out a rather different concept for the party, so we hope you’ll be there to experience it 😉

Early access to some of Flattr’s new features will be available next week, with the rest of the developments coming later in October. This include updates like our new browser extension that automatically distributes money to your account when people engage with your content, based on our new, privacy-friendly algorithm.

You’ll be able to find out more about all the changes over on our blog, and from the middle of next week you’ll see the exciting changes starting to happen on your account: <edited>

Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions – I’m more than happy to help.

Laura

Laura Faint
Community Manager
Flattr.com

Published inGoing Digital and the Copyright

3 Comments

  1. Two-sided, but an interesting development nonetheless. I still believe in reader financing, have seen it work much better than expected in the declining print business. Flattr can only work by being widely used.

  2. Jörg Baumgartner

    How about a variant where conscious consumption of advertisements that are sufficiently on target could be used to build up a flattr (or similar) microcash stash to pay for content, or to unlock paywalled content.

    The advertising industry could sell such clicks at way better rates than the unspecific and actively ignored banner etc spam we have to go through (even with adblockers when whitelisted or hosted by the same host as the website).

  3. Bernd Wachter

    I got an email about that change a few months ago – and as soon as I read eyeo I used the password reset to get into my old flattr account, was surprised to find 7 eur something there, had that paid out, and then closed my account.

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