That being said, I think the general model of Flattr is really great and I've always wondered why the Flattr button wasn't more widely adopted. It seemed like the perfect solution to publishers' monetization crisis.
- The transaction happens directly between consumer and creator, without a detour through ads (yes, there is a payment provider involved, but it's a lot more direct through Flattr)
- I can pay after I actually consumed the content, when I have full information about its usefulness for me (unlike subscription models and paywalls)
- There is a feedback mechanism built in, that lets content creators know what consumers consider pay-worthy.
What I would have loved to see was an analysis of key inhibiting factors and then a few well-researched product decisions and how they will remove these inhibitors.
I'm worried by Flattr's statement in this post, saying (paraphrased) 'we're not sure how many of you are going to like these changes, but we don't really have any guidance to go by'.
Creators still have to sign up with Flattr, so the only thing that's easier for them is that they don't have to add the button to their sites anymore.
Consumers still have to manage their payment details and amount per payment cycle, what's easier for them is that they don't have to press the button anymore. But this removes the conscious act of explicitly supporting something I liked to a default mode of supporting everyone on whose site I spend a certain amount of time, no matter if I actually liked what I found there (if I understand the new model correctly).
Yes, I can go in afterwards and remove sites from the list of sites I give money to, but that seems much more tedious than pressing a Flattr button once per article/post/whatever that I actually enjoyed and want to consciously support. Now I need to be careful about who I give money to.
I'd like me spending money to be a conscious decision, not an automated process running by default in the background.
That what you liked was actually exactly why we failed so far.
1. Users needed to do a conscious choice, clicking the button. Our research and data showed that was not what people wanted or did.
2. The button was to hard to add to a site and also visible and promoted a brand etc. All things publishers don't want. Besides the button does not work on any social network or content platform. The new solution works anywhere and is when it's hardest to use adding a meta-tag.
The new solution is a "fire and forget" solution. You set it up ones and then it just work. For both contributors and creators/publishers.