Flattr Plus update

Since we announced Flattr Plus in early May we’ve been working hard to perfect what we believe is the web’s missing (monetization) link. It’s been encouraging, and exciting, developing an easy, automatic solution to fund content. We’re still on track with the closed beta, which will be ready in the early fall (sign up here), and the open beta, too, which is planned to launch late fall or early winter.

For now, we wanted to inform you about the developments on Flattr Plus that have happened since May. Specifically, we wanted to show you how the design is progressing, give you a peek into the data intelligence and development going into the add-on and tell you about the new API on Flattr.com.

So we’ve done a lot of conceptualization and engineering to make Flattr Plus run like a well-oiled machine on the inside. But what about on the outside? How does it feel from your perspective as a user? Sure, Flattr Plus will allow you to easily and automatically fund your favorite content, but is it free-flowing and intuitive?

The short answer is yes. This is an interface we created for testing and collecting feedback. Bear in mind, this is just a testing screen we’re using to sharpen the algorithm.

beta-review

The interface for collecting user feedback for the beta algorithms.

One of the biggest challenges the Flattr Plus project faces is determining what signifies a flattr? What browsing activity, in other words, should trigger a monetary transfer to a particular site? And how do you keep that as private as possible?

It’s sort of the crux of everything: making flattrs automatic is what makes Flattr Plus unique: no one’s ever made a payment system quite like Flattr Plus – even Flattr. One of the first things we did to shine light into this unknown territory was to just gather browsing behavior from our friends, colleagues and family, who volunteered to share all their browsing data. The idea was that by taking the maximum amount of data possible, you find the minimum amount required for the add-on to work. The process is a bit like whittling a stick: you start with a large, unwieldy piece, then carve it down to something small and intricate.

After analyzing all their browsing habits, we developed several ideas for algorithms that would trigger a flattr. Next we implemented a dashboard to show the output various algorithms produced.

bubble-UI

Another test screen, the Add-on itself.

And of course we did some good, old-fashioned interviews of our friends/guinea pigs. However, before we could extend the test to real beta testers (you), we needed as privacy-friendly a way as possible to get useful data. This was made possible by the stick-whittling process I refer to above, but beta testers will have to volunteer some information if they want to test (of course we absolutely tell them this in a big, fat disclaimer). The final version available to the general public will be 100 percent privacy-friendly. This is a requirement for us, not a mere priority.

For now though … still whittling that stick, not to mention polishing up the code and freeing it of issues. Finally, deciding what triggers a flattr is relevant to how the add-on will function – but what happens when the add-on sends data to Flattr.com, so that it can disburse money to worthy content creators?

Well, the rollout of Flattr Plus demands a fairly significant number of changes to the existing Flattr system. The most substantial part of this is a rebuilt API and a new approach to how flattrs are handled. Chief among those new approaches is getting rid of “things.” Previously, as existing Flattr users knows, Flattr worked by allowing a number of elements – “things” – to serve as identifiers for what was able to be flattred. For Flattr Plus the sole identifier for what is flattrable will be the URL, i.e., the add-on will send the URL to the Flattr API using a secure connection, and the Flattr API will determine the owner of the URL without knowing the behavior that led to the flattr; so obviously, we had to do away with “things” as identifiers as mentioned in our last post.

We are now also starting to create the all-important onboarding for new users, how Flattr Plus will be integrated into Flattr.com. Getting the add-on in the browser, creating an account, the payments flow and the dashboard all have to work perfectly together with Flattr Plus.

Finally, we’ve been speaking to publishers worldwide about opening their sites to receive funds from Flattr Plus users. Thus far those conversations have been very fruitful, and we’re pleased to report that publishers have shown a great deal of enthusiasm to employ Flattr Plus when it rolls out.

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Flattr developer update #8 – Some API updates

In preparations for our upcoming launch of FlattrPlus, we are refactoring our internal system structure which in some cases means that we need to make rather large changes to how the system operates. In this particular case ‘things’ as a concept must go.

We will no User-Interface-Exit-iconlonger allow the creation of things. In fact we will no longer store most of the data that is now presented as a thing. For most users, this mean nothing. The new system has already dropped all lists of things, the thing pages has been stripped down and you can’t edit the information for a thing. All this because we have understood that things would be dropped as a concept in the future, that is now.

But, if you are a developer building an application that either relies on the creating or fetching things endpoints in the current API you need to know what these endpoints will soon be deprecated. We have checked and already contacted all developers of registered apps that we see are are using these endpoints. But if you are building something that yet has not seen the light of day we can’t know that.

Since fetching or creating things are not necessary in order to Flattr a URL we would want to know more about how you are using the API and how we can help you transition to another solution. Please contact us and we will help you out.

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Koda med oss

Vi på Flattr vill bli fler

Därför söker vi till vårt kontor i Malmö, efter dig som är en driven webbutvecklare och kreativ problemlösare som trivs att jobba i ett litet team. Du är bekväm med PHP(5.6/7) och har antagligen erfarenhet från något modern ramverk, så som Laravel. Vi tror även att du har ett eller flera roliga projekt på t.ex. GitHub eller annan webbtjänst.

lolcatFör oss på Flattr går trivseln med arbetsuppgifterna och trivseln på själva arbetsplatsen hand i hand. Vi vet att en person som trivs på sitt jobb blir engagerad och finner motivation till att vilja lära och utvecklas. Vi lägger därför stor vikt vid vad som passar dig och vad du vill ha för att må bra.

Flattr är

Flattr projektet är i dag i en position att påverka internets framtid. Genom ett samarbete med Adblock Plus har dörrarna öppnats för att skapa en väg framåt som inte bygger på annonser eller privat data. Målet är att skapa en betalningsmodel som möjligtvis kan ligga till grund för ett nytt steg i internethistorien. Målet kan verka storvulet men med Adblock Plus användarbas på över hundra miljoner är det närmare än vad man kan tro.

Så om du

– är vass på PHP och JavaScript.
– versionshanterar i Git.
– är bekväm med CLI i OSX och/eller *nix-miljöer.

Skicka ett informellt mail till jobs at flattr punkt com. Ett fantastisk fint CV är inte lika viktigt som din kod, visa oss vad du gjort och vad du kan hellre än tabeller med årtal.

Rekrytering sker kontinuerligt, så läser du detta så hör av dig!

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Flattr Plus in the media

Almost a week after the announcement of Flattr Plus it’s time to sum things up and answer some of the questions we got. But lets begin with the re:publica presentation.

Watch the first presentation of Flattr Plus from re:publica

Re:publica is one of the biggest conferences on digital and society, happening each year in Berlin. We are proud to present Flattr Plus to the public there for the very first time. The video shows Peter Sunde, co-founder of Flattr and Laura Sophie Dornheim of Adblock Plus on stage at re:publica explaining why the open web needs a solution like Flattr Plus and how it is going to work.

 

What the press wrote about Flattr Plus

Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Wired, Ars Technica, Fast Company, Engadget, PC World, Business InsiderYahoo News, Mashable, The Verge, Venture BeatGuardian, Fortune, Wired.de, Der Spiegel, Golem, amongst others.

There have been some questions that have come up often, here are the answers.

Q: What exactly is Flattr Plus?
A: It’s the coming browser add-on that flattrs URLs automatically based on your attention and engagement with the web page. It’s built as a cooperation between AdBlock Plus and Flattr.

Q: Do I need to use AdBlock Plus to use Flattr Plus?
A: No, Flattr Plus will be available as a stand alone add-on.

Q: Will Flattr Plus be integrated into AdBlock Plus in the future?
A: That is the plan.

Q: How will the automatic flattring work?
A: We will measure your attention to the content locally in your browser, when a certain amount of attention has been reached the page will be flattred. How much and exactly how it will work is something we need real beta user feedback on.

Q: How do you protect my privacy?
A: Only URLs that get enough attention will be Flattred and only sites that are on our default whitelist of domains. You can always block any domain permanently and we do not get browser history. All Flattrs done are only visible to you and the receiver, but they don’t know who made it.

Q: Can I use my old Flattr account and/or money?
A: Yes, Flattr Plus uses Flattr to do all flattrs and transactions. (You could think of Flattr Plus as a Flattr app.)

Q: I want to try it!
A: Then sign up to the beta list at flattrplus.com to get access as early as possible.

Q: I’m a publisher, how do I get our content to work with Flattr Plus?
A: You sign up to the publishers list at flattrplus.com/publishers and we will get back to you with more info when it’s time.

Q: We are a publisher, do we need to have Acceptable Ads to use Flattr Plus?
A: No, not at all.

Watch our video explaining why we do this

As always, we love feedback!

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Announcing Flattr Plus

Today  we are delighted to finally announce something we have been working on for a very long time. In order to accelerate the implementation of Flattr everywhere, we’ve partnered with Adblock Plus. flattr+abpThe two systems share the same ideals, of making the web a cleaner place while making it financially sustainable for those who create the things we engage with.

We call it Flattr Plus and today we’re announcing this plan for the world. It’s will be an add-on for your browser which will automate your flattrs for you, as well as removing the need of implementation of the system for the publishers. Instead of a one-click to flattr someone, the systems goal is to fully automate the flattrs – zero click payments if you like. All based on your engagement with the content.

We’re proud and excited about this opportunity and think this will really make a huge difference in how the web will look. Micropayments on an automatic scale is the missing link in the internet we all love and need and we’re super happy to be part of this huge step forward in supporting the open web.

Sign up to get early access to Flattr Plus at flattrplus.com

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Flattr developer update #7 – The hunt for bugs

So a new year has begun and the move has been done. It did not go entirely as planned and resulted in more issues than we could handle. Fixing them has taken more time than it should and as an apology, we will not charge any fees for December.

Mid February update: Being a small team we have been delayed by both annoying illness and happy childbirth. We will be back on top of things soon!

Here is a list of the major things we are focusing on now.

The monthly calculation (Fixed)
As the december transaction cycle is the first in the new system we wanted it to be manual so we can oversee each step. Once we know all is working it will be performed and you will get the money on your account. Future cycles will happen as before.

Flattrs history (Fixed)
A lot of you have wondered where it went and if it’s coming back. It’s not gone and the complete flattr history will be back. We will also add a complete revenue history overview.

Transaction history
The transaction history from the old system will be added too. If you need your transaction history you are welcome to drop us a line and we can give it to you.

Rest API/OAuth
The rest API broke completely in the move, we patched the flattr endpoint but some features are still broken. oAuth authorisation is still not working but is at the top of our todo-list. We will post more about the future of the api in a later blog post. If you are a developer and have questions please feel free to contact us.

Deactivate Account (Fixed)
Right now you have to drop us a message to deactivate your account, it will be done from account settings in the future.

Social connections
This was one of the features we did choose to not have enabled at move to simplify the move. Your existing connections are visible on your profile but you can not add any new yet. Once it’s back it will be done from your profile settings.

We understand your frustration when things does not work as they should, we feel the same way. We always appreciate your feedback and the bug reports we received from all of you has been invaluable to us!

We will update this post as things change.

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Flattr developer update #6 – Time to move

Update 3: Due to christmas and new years will some of the bugs take a bit more time to solve. Others have been fixed, the Flattr-buttons are back on the profiles and various behind the scenes account issues has been solved. Should be smoother sailing in the new year to come. Happy new year!

Update 2: So most things are now working, including withdraw. A few does not, e.g. change email. Some are missing, like transaction history. We are trying to fix all issues quickly. Hope we dont’ give you a too bumpy ride.

Update: It’s time, tonight (7th dec) at 7pm CET to tomorrow morning will Flattr be down for migration to the new system. 

under-construction-flashing-barracade-animationSo it’s finally time to move to our spankin new system! Within the coming weeks we will start the process of moving all users. This will mean that almost everything will change. Looks, feel, payments, features etc. As always we assume this move will be kind of rocky, so bear with us. This is a major update and change for Flattr.

Things that can be good to know:

  • There will be downtime, when will be announced on Twitter.
  • The user interface is completely new, even the logo.
  • Facebook and Twitter sign in will be removed. If you use these  request a password via our password reset page.
  • You can only sign in with your email, not username.
  • Skrill will not be used anymore. Withdraws will be done as bank transfers. If you want to withdraw with Skrill now is the time to do it.
  • Some features will not be enabled from start.

For the rest of the changes we recommend you read this post.

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Flattr support in Jolla Store and Jolla Harbour!

Flattr_blog_wide-1024x479Jolla leads the way to a better app economy by adding support for Flattr right into the place where you get the apps.

Jolla Ltd., the mobile company from Finland, is developing mobile devices and Sailfish OS, the independent mobile operating system. The Jolla smartphone, powered by Sailfish OS was introduced to the public in Finland in late-November 2013. Currently Jolla smartphones are available all over Europe, Hong Kong, India and Russia.

Read more about it on their blog.

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Flattr developer update #5 – What is left behind

The most important reason for building the new Flattr system is simplification. Flattr is so different from any other payment product that usability has to be our main goal. This is how we will fight the monsters complexity.

We have silently removed several features the last years. Something you might (not) have noticed. Other minor changes have already been announced. The rest of the new Flattr changes are very much the opposite, noticeable and major.

dry

More is seldom a good idea.

Auto-fav-flattrs
“Add money to your likes” is the main way we communicate how the Flattr system works right now.  A great notion and idea that was loved by users and press when launched. But it was an idea that in reality did not work out. Multitude of issues has plagued this feature since launch, from Twitter forbidding it to constant undocumented API updates from Google. So this feature will be removed in the next version of Flattr. We can’t build the main way we communicate Flattr on an idea that technically does not work perfectly. As of the next Flattr version, the feature will be provided as a third party collector through FlattrStar.

Unclaimed flattrs
This was also a great idea, specially in combination with the favorite-flattr feature. Problem being that there are tons and tons of unclaimed flattrs that the creators has no clue exists. Sure some creators have noticed and signed up, but the long tail of unclaimed flattrs has no chance of being claimed, ever. Probably also long forgotten by the user who flattred. The unclaimed flattrs also missed the target when it comes to explaining to new users how Flattr works. People always have a “show me the money” attitude. The unclaimed flattrs does not have that. The new Flattr system will try and fix these problems. But at launch unclaimed flattrs will be gone.

Discovery
When we started Flattr we planned for content discovery to be a major part of the Flattr experience. For this we needed meta data such as title, tags, type, etc. With this we could then make things searchable, create top-lists, categories, a catalog and show trending content. The existing discoverability does though look like there are very few things that can be flattred. Something that is not true. Majority of all content does not show up in the catalog because of two reasons. Most content is added to our system without any meta data and only the things people actually flattred at least once are known to us. Discovery will not be a part of the next Flattr version. We might create a staff picks section for new users.

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Developer update #4 – Collectors

The thing that always has been and always will be Flattr, is the action of flattring. You might think this refers to clicking the button, but it actually does not. For quite some time has the most flattrs been done through automatic flattring. This is the future of Flattr and it’s time to explain why.

button

I am old

The button was a technical solution to a problem, the problem of “How to flattr”. What we really wanted to do was something simpler, but we did not manage to do so, partly because we lacked the API when we launched Flattr. The solution we went with was a button that creators placed near their content. Great then, but not as great today.

The idea of the button is over 6 years old and since then the internet landscape has changed drastically. Today fewer people host their own content, instead they use third party content sites like YouTube or Flickr. This is a problem for us since very few of these services lets it’s users add Javascript, which our button requires. The result is that many creators can’t use the Flattr at all.

With the new Flattr it’s time to make the automatic Flattrs take the front seat and show that the button is just one way of flattring, not the way.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 15.11.03

I am new

Introducing Collectors
The simplest way of Flattring. The new Flattr is going to be a more automatic place and we will help to enable the best way for you to flattr what you want via Collectors.

There are several collectors already in action, right now they are hidden amongst the “Apps”. Apps does though contain a multitude of different things. The collectors will be hand picked great ways of collecting what you want to flattr displayed as core component of the new Flattr system.

 

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