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Is Flattr the new Facebook Like, but this time with real money? (techcrunch.com)
50 points by klous on July 6, 2010 | hide | past | favorite | 21 comments

Love this concept. Over time they can play with other nudges to get people to sign-up: requiring a Flattr account to skip an interstitial ad, for example (even if you don't ultimately choose to give a share to the content), or even (for some premium/early-access content) requiring a Flattr click.

This is the direction I thought now-defunct Contenture should have taken. Previous discussion links: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1117012

What's going to be hard is preventing users from devaluing their Flattr clicks to get past Flattr-based paywalls. Simplest version: I have a personal array of strawman sites, which I click on a lot in order to funnel almost all of my Flattr fee back to myself. Then my Flattr clicks are near-worthless to non-me recipients. This can be extended by Flattring friends, Flattr kickbacks, etc.

Two points:

(1) You and your circle can't get more out than you pay in, or convince other people to give you freely

(2) Who cares about those who would go through so much trouble to save a few bucks? The point is to make it easy for those who want to pay, with subtle encouragements to pay. If the easiest thing is paying, enough people will -- and your network of strawman sites is a fringe rounding error.

In order to submit content to be "Flattred", you have to become a paying member of the site -- a clever hook to pull in tippers at the same time they're pulling in content authors.

An understandable requirement, though. It costs them money to pay out, so it's in their best interests to keep as much in-system as possible.

And it should be pointed out that while there's a 2-euro/month minimum out-going payments, that money can come from people sending you money. If they get critical mass, that shouldn't be hard to achieve.

Personally, I want more precise controls over who gets what proportion of my money. Or multi-flattring, or something. Not all flattrable-content is of equal quality.

>Personally, I want more precise controls over who gets what proportion of my money. Or multi-flattring, or something. Not all flattrable-content is of equal quality.

Interesting. I was about to find a quote to prove you wrong, but you're right! You can only Flattr a thing once per month (http://flattr.com/support/faq, the "Why can I click the same flattr button again all of a sudden?" question)! That seems like a needless restriction. Allowing you to multi-Flattr a site would make a ton of sense.

I suspect part of the reason for not allowing uneven flattring is because they're really pushing a level-playing-field thing. It'd be pretty easy to handle multiple clicks, but they don't, so I strongly suspect it's a fundamental design decision.

I'm of a mixed mind on if I truly want them to change, or if it's something I accept as a positive aspect of the system. As a geek, I deeply desire control over what my money does. As a human-studier, I recognize at least some of the benefits of not having that control (enforced simplicity being a big one, as this must reach critical mass to succeed where quite a few have failed).

edit: oh, and a correction to my other post: it does not in fact cost them for you to withdraw money. It's still a useful thing for bringing more people into the mix, and this kind of system only exists if it exceeds critical mass.

It's interesting how these guys got so much traction in so little time, even when in private beta:


While the future of flattr is still TDB - I wonder what the problem with tipjoy was that they didn't have similar spikes - not enough emphasis on traction/getting the idea out or not enough iteration on the idea when they didn't have traction?

Just goes to show, you need to know who your customers are and how to reach them effectively and efficiently - and in the end that's the harder thing compared to building a great service.

> It's interesting how these guys got so much traction in so little time, even when in private beta:

FTA: In fact it’s the brainchild of a group of people formerly associated with The [infamous] Pirate Bay, including Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi.

It is nice to see the Pirate Bay people experimenting with models that enable profit generation but still give people free content.

They've been experimenting for years to find a way to build something lasting off TPB's audience, usually it's been turnkey scripts - pastebin, image hosting, blog hosting etc.

I think this concept is interesting but I don't think it's going to work (for them) - if you put $5 in your account and at the end of the month it's split between a couple dozen sites then each is getting pennies for sending their audiences off to give Tippr whole dollars.

If anyone can make this work it'll be Facebook with their credits system I think.

Right place, right time? People always talk about execution on here, but sometimes timing is more important than execution. Maybe thanks to Facebook's 'like' button more people are getting used to giving rewards for content?

Not to get anal, but I'd say right place and right time are a part of execution.

The perfect pyramid scheme - require all the marks to pay to get paid, and promise them other mugs will keep paying in.

Of course no-one outside the pyramid will pay (we've proved paywalls always fail and donate buttons won't pay for their pixels), and the lot will collapse when the marks realise they've lost their audience for a few cents.

Not as evil as those "pay to bid" auction scams, but it has promise.

My thinking for this Tipjoy/Flattr-style of sites allowed the host to set a value per page view and then display a widget per user that encouraged a donation where suggested value was justified as value * page views. More of a nag than a pay wall so people wouldn't just see a default "Donate $20" button. "You've viewed 26 articles on this site in the last week - a voluntary donation of $5.20 will help us continue providing this service and get you other benefits. Donate now or find out why we suggest $5.20. Or explain why you can't pay, if you'd like."

This is obviously inspired by the pirate bay, especially since that's who one of the founders is. how do we reward people for giving away stuff for free?

this may be the solution. I'm definitely interested.

Read the Terms of Service? http://flattr.com/terms Most troubling for me:

"By using this Service you agree not to: 11) to create or modify a competitor product or service;"

That's a pretty sweeping noncompete... I mean, did they ever have PayPal account and not being influenced by it? (I don't know how similar the actual working, didn't register yet)

Also agree not: "to advertise to, or solicit, any user to buy or sell any products or services." They say it is for example bloggers. So if I review my new smartphone and tell the world it is the best thing since sliced bread and everyone should have one - is it a ToS violation?

I'm conflicted. Like the idea a lot, but don't like the ToS much... :/

It seems to be really taking off in Germany, probably after a talk at the re:publica conference in Berlin by Peter Sunde [1]

Nearly all German blogs I’m reading now have a flattr button (and nearly everything that can be flattred is in German which could be a problem for international adaption. Or not.)

[1] http://re-publica.de/10/event-list/flattr-social-micro-donat...

I love the idea and I actually have a beta account that they sent me a few months ago, but it looks like everything on the site is in German, hm.

Brilliant idea, hope this takes off. And doesn't get ripped off by facebook.

The logo is a bit confusing to me, though. When I first saw the button on a blog I thought I could downvote posts, which would be absurd(if it means i post a negative amount of money)

My Knight News challenge entry last year was essentially this. I think it's a great idea: abstracting away the actual cash and making more concretely about rewards for creators.

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