CodyLoco's Random Rants… A little bit of everything…

19Jan/110

Flattr – The e-tipping jar…

Flattr

Flattr

I'd seen and quickly forgotten about this about a year ago when it was pretty much ignored by most, but the other day I was reading a donation page for a site and ran into this little icon which I had no idea what it meant.  I figured it was just another digg-type link sharing clone, but I was curious so I clicked anyways.  From there I was taken to the Flattr.com page, and signed up for an account... so here's the lowdown of what it is...

Flattr is the solution to that guilty feeling some of us get from using free resources (say, like Exact Audio Copy) and not giving anything back.  A lot of sites have a PayPal donation box, or you can click on their banners (and hope they don't get cheated by their ad provider), but never has there been a way to easily throw them a little tip every now and then.  PayPal works if you want to donate, say, $5 or $10... but it's just not worth most people's time and effort to donate a quarter, especially when you consider you'll be paying more in fees than the donation value itself (in North America last I checked it was 2.95% + $0.30, and in other places it can be higher).

Flattr greatly simplifies the "tip giving" down to literally one click.  All you need to do is sign up for an account and deposit some money into your "means" - your available balance to give with.  You can deposit the cash using PayPal, and since it's a european site the balance is displayed in € Euro (not that location matters anymore on the internet, right?).  Next you set a total monthly € amount that you want to share between all those things (things = websites, freeware sites, videos, etc - anything that has a Flattr button on it, even real world stuff - there's a phone app for that!).  You can choose anything between €2 up to €100.  Once you've set your monthly Flattr amount, you are ready to go out on the web and start clicking the Flattr button on anything you think is worthy to get a share of your allocated monthly total you set to share.  The actual giving is done at the end of the month, so you have all month to click on those Flattr buttons around the web and at the end of the month the amount you set before is split evenly among every thing you Flattr'ed.

Example, if you have set a €5 amount to give per month, and clicked on 20 Flattr buttons, each person who owns the Flattr buttons would get €0.25 from you that month.

One thing to be aware of is that one click only counts for that specific month.  If you want to give the same thing a share next month, you will need to go back and click on it again.  However, once you click on a Flattr button, the button will change to a Subscribe button.  Clicking that will pop up a window asking if you want to auto-Flattr things for 3, 6, or 12 months automatically for you - which is an easy way to keep giving without having to remember to return to the site and click the button each month.

Personally, I love the idea.  It's a great way to say "thanks" and contribute a little back to the author/creator.  I like to think of it as tipping a hot (and/or skilled 😉 ) bartender or waitress for a drink.  The only downside is that there's currently no easy way to differentiate the value of each "thing" you Flattr - so the dumb video you Flattr'ed is going to receive the same "tip" as the software author who has spent thousands of hours slaving out code for free on the program you use everyday.

Be sure to give it a try and check it out - you can test the system by Flattr'ing this blog with the button above ;).  If you have anything you created online - or, like I said even offline, check the site for more info on the printable Flattr "buttons" - add it to Flattr and hopefully you'll start getting Flattr'ed!

Check out their about page and their blog for more info...

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