Thursday, 12 August 2010

Flattr now open to the general public

A few weeks back I signed up for the new service founded by the ex-Pirate Bay folk (notably Peter Sunde).  In a nutshell Flattr is a micro-payments that allows you click a designated button on websites signed up with the service, the result being you give the site a share of a monthly total your willing to give away to those you think deserve it.  Say your browsing the web and stumble across a new musician's work or a useful tutorial that you think is so good you'd be willing to pay for it, despite it being freely available, then providing you can see the Flattr button on the page and you have an account, you can send money to people you think deserve it.

In many ways it's akin to the "Paypal Donate" button, but with the emphasis being on paying people for services that are technically free but you think are worth a fiscal reward.  Users pay a small monthly amount (minimum of €2.00) and then click buttons on sites to share out the money they paid in among those sites.  The company takes a small cut on all funds added.  It's been referred to as sort of like an Internet tip jar.  The more buttons you click in a month the more your monthly total is divided amongst the recipients.  You can read the Flattr story here and you can watch a short video of the service below


Flattr are not the only business aiming to extract some value from the social web.  Rewrd are also doing similar things, as are Kachingle.  What all these services need is to gain some form of critical mass if they want to succeed, which is why I've embedded a Flattr button on this blog.  I'm not expecting any money to come in but I am happy to help spread the word.  If you want to embed a Flattr button in you Blogger site then I'm happy to recommend this post by Nico Gramlich (it was so good I Flattr'd him for it).

I'm really hoping services like this take off as it seems to be a simple way to reward people for their efforts.  I do wonder how long it will be before we start seeing Flattr buttons appear on music blogs and for the copyright police to start rubbing their hands in glee - I guess you'd have to be pretty stupid to give away someone else's intellectual property and then be expected to benefit from it.  Wait a minute, that sounds like Rupert Murdoch's Google argument...

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