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Flattr

  1. Hey guys,

    So what do you think of http://www.Flattr.com? It's a micro-payment system where you sort of tip people online whose art/content you appreciate. I am really into communities surrounding free content, so I am a huge fan of Flattr because it's encouraging people to support free work. But it sucks that hardly anyone I know--at least in the web fiction community--uses it. And though a lot of other types of bloggers are on it, I haven't noticed too many WordPress-ers with Flattr buttons. Of course, now you can actually flattr people who are on Twitter but not on flattr, but the money doesn't actually get to them until they figure it out and get over there and collect it.

    It's a really small community for now and I think that puts people off. I've heard from some ex-flattr-ers that they left last year (when it was new) because they made little/no money. But making lots of money doesn't really seem like the point to me (though some people with large followings have made a good income from it). It' s like giving a tip, not paying a salary. It's showing appreciation and helping to support (even just in a small way) people who give away their work for free. "Putting your money where your moth is," as it were. But it seems to be having trouble catching on.

    So what do you think about it? Do you think it will ever catch on? Do you want it to?

    The blog I need help with is cheapassfiction.com.

  2. This widget has been previously requested. please see here > http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/flattr-widget?replies=3#post-569512

  3. Um, I wasn't talking about the widget. I was talking about the community.

    And actually, this is a better link for info on using Flattr on WP.com:
    http://flattrchattr.com/2011/06/20/flattr-in-wordpress-com/

  4. I'm sorry.

  5. No worries!

    Just wondering what people here thought or if they even knew much about it.

  6. I had a donation button on my blog for five years, and the only people who ever used it were my sister and WP staff and volunteers. I'm in agreement with those who say writers are not buskers and shouldn't beg for tips.

    I might feel differently if doing so paid off, but I have proven that it doesn't.

  7. Flattr is really more like a "like" button than a donate button. It is different in a few ways from a regular Paypal (or whatever) button:

    It's simpler. I sign into Flattr, then go about my regular business online and just click on things I like. That's it. I do not have to decide what price it should be. I don't have to decide whether my donation looks cheap or whatever. (Peter Sunde actually gives a good explanation of how this is in line with the binary nature of things on the internet I'll go look for it...) I don't have to sign in to Paypal or put in my credit card number or whatever every time I want to give someone money. I sign into Flattr and then click on stuff. Pretty simple.

    And I would say it's hardly begging for tips. People want to pay for things that they enjoy. If you don't believe this, you should read the Flattr blog's explainaton of why they no longer require people to give money to get money. http://blog.flattr.net/2011/04/opening-the-floodgates/ (In short, it wasn't necessary. People are eager to give money even without receiving it themselves)

    It's also a little strange that the your response to low donations would be to remove any way to donate at all...

    It is also not really about making a lot of money. In several conversations, I've kept coming back to the fact that artists (especially writers, which is what I know about) generally make very, very little money. For example, according to the US census only about .05% people in the US are "writers" and that does not give you any idea of how many of those people are actually making anything more than a negligible amount of money. It sucks, but that's how it is, no matter what system they use to make money. However, I would rather give the writers/bloggers I enjoy some tips than nothing at all.

  8. My decision-making process basically went like this: WordPress will allow me to use that space to advertise my $400 a head social media workshops. OR I could continue to keep it as a donation space, earning me about $100 a year.

    I would rather buy my friends' books than throw them a quarter now and then. It just really seems undignified, and bad for the profession.

  9. "My decision-making process basically went like this: WordPress will allow me to use that space to advertise my $400 a head social media workshops. OR I could continue to keep it as a donation space, earning me about $100 a year."

    So this was a practical concern. That I understand. WP isn't the greatest for user controlled features.

    "I would rather buy my friends' books than throw them a quarter now and then. It just really seems undignified, and bad for the profession."

    So am I correct in thinking that your objection to Flattr is more ideological than practical? That's interesting. It reminds me of a few rather passionate debates over at Absolute Write I've been watching lately over the $0.99 book market on kindle, the idea being that making spare change is somehow more demeaning to the artist and devalues the artwork. Would this be an accurate summary?

    And when you say "bad for the profession," which profession are you referring to specifically? Do you mean blogging in general? Or writing or art or....? Because I think that's important. Personally, I have no interest in paying for the personal "hey, here's my life" type blogs (though that's just personal taste and others probably feel differently.) But when it comes to writing or art or other specific types of blogging like 'journalist-ish' or activist blogs, I think Flattr is a way of getting these people paid for creating/contributing cultural material that most people want to pay for anyway.

    I am also still concerned about the notion that having any sort of button on your site is "begging for tips." Is having a "Like" button begging for people to click it? I think there's a difference between having it there, like almost every site does now, and going around being like "Like my post/FB page! Like my stuff, like my stuff, like my stuff!!! plzzzzzz!!!" which people do and it's really annoying. And if Flattr ever became like that I would have a problem with it. But I don't really see having one of their buttons on your site as any different from having any other type of button on your site. I mean, it just sits there.

  10. My objection is on both aesthetic and practical levels. I see no reason to believe, and every reason not to believe, that it won't result in money. If it won't result in money, will it result in my posts being read by a wider audience and thus, a growth in my social currency? The Flattr community is too small: a Google+ or Facebook Like or Tweet button is going to help me more.

    And I guess at bottom I do believe that commercializing is something that should be done effectively, if it is done at all. There's nothing worse than whoring yourself out and not getting a good price for it; it's failure on all levels.

    So, I guess I'm just too much of a snob for it. That's the honest answer. If you're going to sell out, sell out well. Sell out big.

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