Bloggers, Stackoverflow, Favstar, Quora – Let’s extend Flattr!

Every kid nowadays learns in school why we need money and why money is the best way to represent value for goods. Flattr picks this up and realizes mini-transactions to make people able to pay for content they like with the click of a button.With this service, people can say how much money they want to give out to online content each month (for example 2€ or 5€) and that money is split up between all things they clicked the flattr button on (“flattred”) this month – if you flattr nothing, your money gets donated to a good cause.

Puff Daddy George, 2/2
This model and it’s good idea has been discussed a lot of times – so I don’t want to critisize or praise it any further. The only other possible way to help the author of content is to spread the word – by twittering the link to the content or sharing it on Facebook for example. But content-producers can only really profit from this by displaying Ads, and that’s a model I have tried but that I don’t really want to do as Ads just unnerve everyone – and who wants to make his site ugly with Ads?

Creative Commons License photo credit: EricGjerde

Flattr Target Audience

What I’d like to think about is the target audience of such a service like Flattr. Sadly, its model only motivates content-producers to sign up, as they’re the only ones who can (potentially) profit from this. Potentially because it seldomly gets in enough money to pay the flattering back, unless you have a very popular blog – but potentially is enough of an incentive to get bloggers to sign up … it’s like a lottery, where you could get lucky and maybe get some money in.

Everyone else can of course freely choose to do good to those content producers if they wish but – let’s be clear about this – nearly noone will sign up with a service, and transfer money to it, without a real incentive to do that besides of a good feeling and a clear conciousness. Becoming a content-producer so you maybe sign up for flattr isn’t all too easy. I don’t know many people that have a blog or post to it very often. And if they do, they often don’t want to have the hassle to sign up with flattr or to install plugins or even write code to include the necessary Flattr buttons. Therefore, I think people should get an incentive to use flattr with the easiest possible means, just to get them to use this service.

Un cop de mà

  • The flattr-comments plugin does a first step into that direction. It makes it possible that users commenting on a blog post can enter their flattr-id and receive flattrs if some one likes their comment. I just put this plugin into place on this blog and hope that I can try out if it works if there’s some people out there who would post a comment here … hope it works. Every blogger should include this!
  • Other means could maybe be put into place by a popular service like Favstar. Favstar is a Twitter-related service that will show you the best tweets – this means the most retweeted tweets and the tweets that were favourited the most – even sorted by categories. I really recommend using that thing for everyone who likes twitter! If they would implement the means to enter a Flattr ID for you and automatically Flattr the top users you retweeted or faved once a month, normal twitterers could see the potential profit in Flattr that might them make sign up with the service.
  • Same thing with Stack Overflow and Quora. Let users flattr answers – please!
  • One more thing I would like to see is the concept of a Flattr-Lottery. I guess there’s a lot of money that gets to be distributed to good causes (and maybe also pay Flattr’s bills). If you would take half of that money and redistribute it lottery-like under everyone who is active and Flattr’ed at least one item this month (maybe with a main prize and several small ones), I bet it would be another incentive to make usual people to use the service.

Flattr gives us the tools, and we all should extend them to make the service work better. What do you think? More ideas?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jose Téllez

, Posted Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 under Projects, Usability.


  1. There’s also that attaches a partner code to every purchase you make on amazon and gives that money out the the flattr users then. But it’s probably not what you were going for cause no “achievement” or “good work” is being rewarded …

  2. Well thats nice. I’ll try that out.

    Edit: Okay, I did, and that plugin crashes my Firefox on each load :-/

  3. Hey Akku,

    There shouldn’t be any issues anymore, we had some issues, cause it’s still beta and we need someone to file a bug- or errorreport, before we can handle it.

    If the issue is still around, create a support ticket please with the Firefox crash report URL attached and I try to work it out.

    Hope I could help you out.

    I will be happy to help you out.

  4. Heya!

    Okay, I’ll file a bug as soon as I have time. Thanks for the effort, it’s a really good idea to take some of Amazon’s money and give it back to flatterers :-)

  5. I’ve just installed the “Flattr Comments” plugin on my blog, thank your for the tip ;)

    I’ve put the article in my README queue and I’ll read it soon :)

  6. Getting only the content producers was one of the concerns when Flattr started up and one of reasons give-to-get was implemented but has turned out it’s more the other way around.

    Quora + Flattr have been suggested and we’d definitely love that partnership.

    Loving the Flattr comments plugin:) And the lottery is an interesting idea but not sure how much it would increase usage of Flattr.

  7. I agree that it is one of the weaknesses of the original Flattr concept that content-providers have to do the first step by signing up. Well, it has changed with the possibility to flattr Twitter accounts, but it still holds true for normal things and QR-coded real-world things.
    Now I would love to see Flattr going even further and make it possible to flattr websites (i.e. URLs). Ownership could easily be verified like it’s handled with webmaster tools. It would be possible to make browser plugins to flattr a website (or giving out a pending flattr) without even leaving the site, and you wouldn’t have to do research on what’s the name of the Twitter account.

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