Social Micropayments Via Flattr

–UPDATE– It wasn’t obvious, but I discovered €5.00 for a month of “Flattrs” is the DEFAULT setting. If you only “Flattr”d one site in that month, that 1 site gets all $8 worth of Euros. Which is RATHER generous! But you can change the setting on your account page to a minimum of €1.00 per month. Now THAT’S more what I would call “social micro-payments.” With Flattr you can pay web site authors a small token sum of “real appreciation” for free web content if they are members of Flattr and so are you. When you do, a post can go to your facebook saying “I Flattr’d the W3C html code validator,” for example. A page chock full of pertinent information you may wish to “Flattr.” Or maybe you found a page where someone wrote down a superb explanation for something you didn’t really understand and they happen to have “flattr” button. Click. Bingo.

Problem is, “Flattr” is not catching on. One problem is they only accept Euros. Just to fill your account from the USA, some lucky bank gets to charge you a “conversion fee” of $20! So until that is fixed, I’m going to be a rare adopter of “Flattr.” I can only pay sites in the Eurozone, too. If you live here in the USA, how does that Euro get to you if the mystery exchange bank wants $20 to convert it back? It isn’t, that’s what. That’s the monetary system screwing us over, and they still keep needing bailouts.


I gave an idea, “social micropayments,” a college try.
I put €15 in my flattr account. Flttr is unfortunately based in Europe and dollars must be converted to Euros first, so it cost me $35 to establish that account. I think there’s a $20 currency conversion fee. Anyway. Account established, let’s keep moving forward with this. I filled up my Flattr account with €15 so I can “Flattr” people who offer free content over the web with micropayments. A lot of free sites ask for donations to keep them going. I say, sure would be simpler if everyone just used a micropayment system like Flattr.
If you posted a blog about how to get Illustrator to do something amazing and I really learned something from it, I can like your blog on facebook, or better yet, I could also “flatter” you with a micropayment. I can even set up my Flattr so that whenever I “like, share or recommend” something on facebook, a micropayment from my Flattr goes out to you automatically. Unfortunately, I can’t “Flatter” you with a little payment of appreciation unless you also join Flattr so I can then “connect” you to your content, and your content to my attempt to “Flattr” you. To join Flattr, visit but first read on.
How much flattery is given per Flattr, anyway? Good question, and one I never asked because I was eager to see how this worked. They said these are micropayments, I’m thinking maybe €1 per “Flattr.”
The answer is… depends on how many times you flattered in a month. I’ve found only two Flattr buttons on the web since I joined, so, going to look at my account here, each Flattr I gave is going to be worth… WTF? €5 ($6.12). Wait a minute, that’s a lot of dough for liking a blog about a dog or a cake, wouldn’t you say? The reason why so much may be because I am supposed to understand I am “Flattr”ing the whole blog, not individual blog entries. So if I click your Flattr button it simply points to me. What I don’t know is this: say you have a Flattr button on a blog entry on a different blog, also your blog. If I click to Flattr you there, have I just sent you $16? Or will I have already “Flattr”d your content and will not be docked twice?
So I have clicked two Flatter buttons and will soon have only €5.00 left, and I was thinking I’d have at least enough to make 15 “Flattr”s. I was hoping these would be micropayments. Heck, an entire app on the Apple App Store is most of the time only 99¢.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Dave!

    As the co-founder of Flattr I can clearly see that there are some things that we do not explain enough in the system so this is great feedback for us! Thanks for trying us out despite all the trouble.

    When you flattr something it will get one part of your monthly budget. If you flattr 3 things it will be a third for each flattr and if you flattr eg 32 things it will be 32 bits of the monthly budget that gets distributed to the things you flattr. So it never cost you more than the monthly budget, per month. The average is about 15 flattrs a month and a budget around 3 euros, so it’s quite micro for most people. The monthly budget can be from 2 euros (about 3 dollars) and up.

    On the currency. I think you have misunderstood some things here. When you use PayPal or a credit card (like Visa) currency conversion is automatic and does not cost you any fixed fee or anything special. There is no need open a euro account or mess around in any other way. Just enter your card details or use paypal and they take care of it for you without you doing anything. But it’s obvious that we might need to make that clearer. It probably to obvious for anyone outside of the US as we buy stuff with dollars everywhere on the net and know currency is never an issue. What info would you have needed to understand the above?

    Again, great feedback.


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