Mittwoch, 19. Mai 2010

Flattr - and its hardest nut to crack...

By the time you are reading this, you probably know about the new service Flattr ( Its pretty similar to the Facebook 'I Like'-button with a micropayment background. So its more like an 'I Care'-button that allows you to show appreciation for the content you have just consumed.

The idea is simple. People register, pay a monthly fee of: 2, 5, 10 or 20€ and can Flattr as many times as they like. At the end of the month that money is equally shared amongst all the owners of the Flattr buttons clicked. Thats it simple and genious.

Who profits in this system?
The people who obviously will profit are those content creators that in a way emotionalize others (or Flattr users as others can not (yet) Flattr) so that they click the button. I personally click all the buttons when the words 'Cool' or 'Wow' are in my head or I have a smile on my face after consuming the content.

I myself am using Flattr now in my development community ( so every single of the 13.000 users can add his/her Flattr-ID and a Flattr button will magically appera below every single post, so others can show their appreciation for the help they just received. I think that the use of Flattr in Forums is a area that has not yet received the attention it deserves. In the end its about people that Flattr other people.

 and its hardest nut to crack...
But wait, ....
In the end its about people that Flattr other people.
Who did sign up to Flattr up to now? I don't really know! But all I can assume that the vast majority were content creators and not consumers.

So what does this mean?
This means that the (currently) the money does not yet flow from consumers to content creators but from one content creator to another. The biggest nut to crack will be to actually get consumers to participate in the system. Would you take that hurdle to register to a service that requires you to pay 2€ per month to show your appreciation for an 'average' blog post? Probably not, at least I would not do so. When money enters the game, people start thinking about it at least twice.

In my opinion this is when emotion comes back into the game. For example:
If I'd help a user on my forum on a problem that he's been fighting for days, that he's probably doing his Happy-Dance in private, he might consider jumping over that hurdle!

So what are your ideas on how consumers can be induces to participate in the system?


  1. In reality, it's not much of a nut to crack.
    Flattr has a ace in the sleeve; One of the guys behind Flattr.
    See, Flattr is based around the idea of Sharing And Caring.
    The concept is simple: You give away stuff, for free, and if people like it, they'll give you donations for it.
    With that in mind, one of the founders of Flattr is known for another Sharing And Caring project you might be aware of.
    Namely The Pirate Bay.

    Who'd sign up for Flattr? Every bleeding pirate in the world worth his bandwidth!
    Recent studies from Amsterdam U also showed that the pirates represent the majority of the media consumers.
    So in essence, those who'll use Flattr are those every artist gets paid by. :)

  2. I like the idea of Flattr. I've been using it since I got my invitation a couple of weeks ago.

    The idea were you can give a small fee for things you like and think they are interesting on giving is great. And Flattr may grow to become a big thing.

    The only thing I don't like so much is the 10% fee Flattr get from each transaction. I think is a bit steep thinking with all the transactions they are going to get.

  3. I think 10% is ok. More would make me rise my eyebrows...

    Btw: Today a fairly big news site picked up Flattr =)

  4. Why "Flattr" will fail in its current state
    I think this fellow is right on the money

    This means that the (currently) the money does not yet flow from consumers to content creators but from one content creator to another. The biggest nut to crack will be to actually get consumers to participate in the system.
    It is an interesting service, I’m not sure how it will be received, but I think you’re right on the money with this post. The problem right now is there are a lot of people who just produce and share content, and less that consume it. In fact, in incentives for the site are just backwards. Why would you sign up to pay for something that’s already free unless you thought you were going to get paid. It’s an instant pyramid scheme. If you do make any money, it’s most likely that you may just break even (statistically speaking, I imagine that’s probably likely, but I’m no statistician)

    Regardless, There are plenty of other things that the service could definitely use (if it worked in the most ideal way). Community building stuff (channels, groups, style neighbors, etc), as well as individuals to set up premium content that can only be viewed if someone flattrs something. It’d be nice if there were a way to delete accounts, too. Right now once you sign up, it’ll take money from your bank account every month until eternity. Likewise, the payments and collection system is primitive as hell. Clearly, it’s still in beta, and has a long way to go before public release. Moreover, it’s still really new, so I’ll give it a shot for awhile longer.

  5. The problem that you talk of doesn't exist as today most people are both consumers and creators. People who create content have the same needs and wants as all others, including reading blogs, listening to music and watching user-created videos.

    It would be a problem if all the people on Flattr depended on it for their income but this is not the case now and I don't think it ever will be.

    Flattr's biggest challenge is simply to get enough users and strike a deal with say the companies behind OAuth so the usage of the service could become widespread.

  6. I signed up purly as a consumer. Not to flatter 'average blog posts' but to flatter qualety music and software mainly. currently there is not all that much, but it's still in beta, so I'm patient. I would really like if it takes off.

  7. So, right now flattr is sucking out a €0,49 monthly fee? This is a surefire way to kill it cold. Which is sad.

    Their best bet right now would be to drop the fee and get endorsement from some handset makers. So that if you buy a new Android phone you would get something like a €4 credit at flattr to spend at will - this would encourage developers to build better free apps so the handset makers benefit from their handsets getting better software and it's also a nice gesture towards the buying customer.