The Flattr relaunch: What to expect! · 2017-10-10 14:00 by Laura Dornheim
The release is finally happening! On October 24th, we will launch the new version of Flattr for the public. Here is a guide to the new Flattr, for creators, publishers, and contributors.
Time to brace yourself, this is it. The evolution that aims to become a revolution. We have worked long and hard on relaunching Flattr as a product that has the potential to evolve the internet in just the way we wanted when we first launched Flattr. Our mission has always been the same: We believe creators need and deserve money, but on their own terms.
How to flattr content
Flattring content is now done automatically via our Flattr extension. The Flattr button is history.* The idea of Flattr from the start was to reward content you consumed and loved. Preferably without any user interaction. Now that has become a reality. You install the extension from your contributor dashboard: just sign in and it will prompt you to install it. The extension will flattr both the content and sites you engage with and visits based on your engagement, automatically. If you want to read more about how the extension flattrs content read this blog post.
Making your content flattrable
Simply add your sites and social channels to your Flattr account. As the Flattr button is history you should not add it to your site anymore. Something that is great as most places did not even allow you to do that. Now you just connect the social accounts where your content is and/or add the domains you have and we fix the rest. Much easier and better! You do this from your Flattr settings. If you want to know more about how this works read this blog post.
As a product we want to be that thing you set up once and then can forget about. It’s supposed to run in the background to make you feel good and create a better internet. The old method with the wallet meant that you used a certain budget per month but we have gotten rid of that. Sure, it was a flexible system but it was unnecessarily complicated. This is why we will drop the wallet in favour of credit card subscription payments. This simplifies the communication around the details of using Flattr and gives us more room to focus on what Flattr really is all about.
For easier use for non-europeans are we switching to USD. We have always used the European currency Euro (€). This was a conscious choice when we started. Being naive Swedes we thought that it would be “cool” to be extra European.** But this was probably the single biggest mistake we made, the fact that Euros might be well known to Europeans does not mean people in general know how much a Euro is in their local currency. If there is any exchange rate people know besides their own, it’s US dollars. So again, to reduce the noise and focus on what we are, we are switching to USD. This means all Euros you may have in the Flattr system will need to be withdrawn.*** As a creator, starting from October, you will receive US dollars instead.
So we ask all Flattr users to do two things: Withdraw any remaining Euros from your account and set up a USD subscription. Of course you only have to do this once.
30 day distribution cycle
Flattr subscription will run for 30 days, not per calendar month. Until now we have always used the calendar month as the flattr period. It’s convenient for you as a contributor to know when the period ends. But it’s not so good for new users because the first period will almost never be a full month. It’s also very bad from a technical scaling perspective as everyone’s calculation and transactions happen at the exact same time. With millions of users and transactions, that won’t work. So from both a technical and a user perspective we are changing the period to the more standard approach: when you enable your subscription it runs for 30 days. As a creator you will now get revenue from your contributors when their period runs out and that could be any day of the month.
Fees will be paid by the receiver but separated into our fee and payment processor fee. To add transparency we are changing our fee structure. We will now charge creators that receive money a Flattr fee of 7.5%. This is our fee for running Flattr. Plus, to start, a payments processing fee of 9%. This is our cost for the payment processing that is carried over to everyone that receives money. For more info please read this blog post.
What can be flattred?
You can flattr “any” page because we need to know what you want to flattr. One of the core problems with Flattr has always been to prove to publishers and creators that people do want support them. With the Flattr button it was only possible to flattr creators that joined Flattr. The new extension does not use the button so it does not need to know if there is a signed up receiver or not for flattrs. So simply put, if there is an owner they gets your money, if not the flattrs become the statistics we need to convince the creators.**** In reality, the flattrs you make are equally important even if there is no one to receive them, yet. For more details please read this blog post.
We have not made any of these product decisions lightly. We know for some of you this might be exactly what you want to hear, for others the opposite. Please know that the only guiding light we have is to create a product that has the potential to transform the creative internet from an ad-fueled swamp where creators are stuck, to something that carries them and unlocks their creative potential, as well as the full potential of the internet as a creative platform.
If you have any questions then let us know. You can find out more about joining Flattr as a creator here, and as a contributor here.
We are looking forwards to hearing from you, here in the comments, via our contact form, on Twitter or even on Facebook.
* The button still works, but you should not use it.
**Despite the fact we actually had and still have our own currency in Sweden (SEK).
***This unfortunately includes any money you want to give to creators. To become an active contributor and support creators you will need to set up a credit card subscription.
****The creators in the system share your entire monthly subscription.