What is Flattr?

There’s loads of great content on the Internet… loads of dross too, but still loads of great stuff. How do you express appreciation when you find something worthwhile?

A comment? I know I love getting comments, and I can’t be the only one.

A backlink? Links from your site, forum, or social media account help with traffic and spread the news about whatever you enjoyed. Again, I know I love it when I see that someone has linked to something I’ve written… it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

An e-mail? Sometimes a comment just isn’t suitable, so dropping an author a message via their e-mail or contact form is the way to go instead.

What if there were another way? Almost like giving someone a tip, or giving some money to that fantastic musician you heard in the train station? Flattr gives you that option. Watch the video below and then we’ll talk some more.

OK, so assuming you actually watched the video, you’ve got an idea of how Flattr works. It’s currently in private beta, but if you visit the site you can sign up for an invite.

I know some people put PayPal buttons on their site and ask for donations, but I think Flattr might have a psychological advantage over PayPal. Why? Well, if you’ve signed up for a Flattr account you’re already mentally prepared for “flattring” other people’s content, while most people set up PayPal accounts to pay for goods… not giving tips to bloggers. There’s also the fact that the Flattr button looks like the social media buttons found on many websites; buttons we’re already used to clicking when we like what we’ve read.

But will it work?

OK, two things to take into account:

1 – Flattr is in beta. So the number of users is currently restricted and will likely remain so until it becomes publicly available.

2 – Each “flattr” is only worth a small amount of money.

So I think this is going to be a bit like Google’s Adsense, in a way. It will work well on sites that have large readerships, and whose readers are comfortable with rewarding the content creator’s work. On sites that have small readerships, or whose readers aren’t really that keen on giving financial reward for articles, I think there are more effective ways of monetising content.

It’s a wonderful idea, though, and I’d love it to be a success (yes, that’s why there’s a Flattr button in the sidebar). What do you think? Good idea? Will it catch on? Would you sign up to be able to offer financial reward to your favourite bloggers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. I'm already messmerized by Flattr. Which most people in my surroundings already know.
    You're missing having the button in your post tho, which is too bad. ;) There are some great flattr plugins avaliable for wordpress.
    Personally I'm longing to have it hooked up with disqus as well ;)

  2. Hi Maloki, thanks for the comment. I did play around with having the button in my posts, but I couldn't get it to look nice. The plugin I had (the official one) didn't seem to integrate nicely. Do you know of any others that are a bit more customisable?

    Oh yes, having it integrate with Disqus would be fantastic! I've also requested it as an addition to “Sexy Bookmarks”, the social sharing plugin I use here.

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