Flattr developer update #3 – Payments

One of the core things of Flattr is of course getting money in and out of the system. The new Flattr will have great improvements in this area, this is how it will work.

The design as matured even more, usability always goes first and we love it!

The design as matured too.

One wallet
We have used Skrill (Previously named Moneybookers) and PayPal almost since the launch of Flattr. Currently we are only using Skrill and soon we will only use Mangopay, although they will be totally  integrated into the system, so you will never see them. Because of the move to Mangopay can we unify the balance for incoming and outgoing money, meaning you will only have one wallet.

Adding money
Most users today use Visa or Mastercard to add money to the system. If you are one of them you will be able to save the card to enable automatic refill when more money is needed. Sofort and Giropay will also be supported as well as normal bank transfers.

Withdrawing money
Withdrawal of money will not be done to your PayPal account anymore, instead it will be done directly to your saved bank account. We are also thinking of automatic payouts as an added convenience.

Sending money
If you want to send a creator some money besides the Flattrs, that will once again be possible to do. Maybe even recurring transfers in the future, if you want that.

All this is a huge step for the usability of the service, making the usage more obvious in the payments area.

As always we love feedback!

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Flattr developer update #2 – Things

The new Flattr will be quite a different beast when it comes to design. But that will also be true for the feature set. As we are doing mobile first we are forced (in a good way) to remove clutter and features. A lot will go, some will stay, many will be updated, few will be added. Here are the first changes, removals and improvements.

lagom_swedes-300x219

The new Flattr might be “Lagom”?

The site will not focus around displaying lists of Flattrs and things any more. Basically because it adds a overhead for visitors, developers and the servers. Also it has shown they are not really a thing that helps in the quest to make people Flattr. Meaning that several pages will become something else or be gone all together.

Activities
If you check your dashboard there is a list of activities called “Notifications”. This was meant to give you a overhead view of what is going on. In reality it adds more noise than usefulness. So it will be dropped.

Profiles
The profiles will not be mandatory and be more focused on showing what you do. The endless lists of things will be gone and instead you will have more control over what is displayed. Giving you the chance to flaunt your content and where it can be found and flattred.

Catalog
It’s history. It has never worked in the way we wanted it to. To make it possible to find stuff it forces users to tag and categorize everything meticulously. A tedious process no one wants to do and does not do. Resulting in catalog that lacks so much content that it says “this is how little you can flattr” instead of the opposite it was meant to. Flattr is not meant to be a system where you search for content to support. We are here to help you flattr what you already want to support.

Things
Things will both stay and be gone. The current thing pages, has been needed because of the lists and catalog. Now we don’t and thing pages will be updated to displaying the Flattr information as a small bar on top and then the actual page beneath. Doing this keeps information up to date and makes it clear what you actually flattr.

Lets end there for now, remember what you read here might not final and we love feedback and comments!

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Suspended account?

RED SUSPENDERS

To continue towards the usage of Mangopay we have now suspended non-updated accounts that has not been used for quite a while. This might give you message that your account has been suspended when you login.

If you know that you have not used your account recently you should login and check to be sure you do not loose your account permanently. Remember to update the account info if you are prompted to do so. If your account is suspended just contact us at flattr.com/contact with your username and we will unlock it.

Before we can move over completely to Mangopay we though need to suspend more accounts and finally delete them. So hurry up. Please help us reach the users that does not get/read our emails so they can update their accounts.

And as we wrote in the last blogpost, buttons saying “Error” is probably the same reason. You can read more about that in our last blogpost.

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Finding Error buttons?

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 10.06.42As to move along in the transition to Mangopay, we just deactivated the possibility to flattr accounts that has not approved our new Terms of use despite several attempts to contact them. If you find a Flattr-button that says “Error” this is the most probable cause.

If your buttons says error, just login to Flattr and update the form you get.

If it’s someone you want to flattr, reach out and tell them to login and update their account.

And please do or they will not receive your Flattrs, that would be sad :(

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4 questions about Flattr & MangoPay

Everything you need to know about the new terms and the usage of MangoPay, in 4 questions and answers.

1. Flattr is asking to sign news terms and to fill in some new information. What are the differences between the new and the old terms?

The big changes are mainly the addition of the MangoPay terms. Besides that we have basically just removed things that was not needed anymore. If you want to know exactly what changed, check this diff.

keep-calm-and-answer-my-questions-52. What will happen if an user doesn’t update the information and sign the new term?

Then will the account be suspended. When suspended you can not add and withdraw money or send and receive flattrs. To activate the account you just need to sign in and update the info though.

If you don’t activate your account within three months, your account will be removed and any money, flattrs and things will be lost. We will obviously contact users multiple times to ensure they know what is happening and try and help out in the best way possible. We don’t want to delete accounts but we are not allowed to have accounts that lacks KYC information so we have to.

3. What are the 3 main problems MangoPay is solving?

Firstly, the complexity of our double wallets. We have one for money you give and one for money you receive. A solution we had to have due to legislation, not choice. This also means we can’t allow you to withdraw money you added, also due to legislation. With Mango we will merge these two and you can withdraw all of it.

Secondly, we will eventually be able to do standard transfers between accounts, something that we are not allowed to do now either.

And, last but not least, bank transfers in and out. So you will withdraw the revenue directly to your bank rather than via PayPal or Skrill. This also means that if you want to use Paypal or Skrill this it the time to do it as it will not be possible after the move to Mango.

This blogpost tells your more

4. Flattr has abandoned Bitcoin funding because of “technical issues”. Can you be more specific? What was the exact problem? Was Bitcoin used at all ?

The payment provider had a window of payment of 15 minutes, too many transactions did not arrive during this time and gave us way to many technical issues and admin overhead. Not to say unhappy customers. Bitcoin was used, but it was just a few % of the money added to the system each month. Meaning the problems it caused could not be justified economically.

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Flattr developer update #1 – Responsive

In the process of creating a new Flattr experience responsive design is obviously core. Time to show the first iteration of the design and UX for what is to come. 

Simplicity and usability will the main focus in this update. The mobile web demands the removal of clutter. That is a good thing as it forces us to make the hard choices. A lot of things will go, some will stay, few will be added.

profile

Profile will be cleaned up and focus on letting you express yourself. It will scale gracefully on mobile platforms.

 

simpleTo the left is the transaction history in full size desktop version. The main drop down menu is also visible. To the right is a sign in screen showing that the mobile versions will not just scale but also degrade gracefully to handle the screen estate better. The main menu on top of all pages are the one you get when logged in (obviously should there be another one on the sign in screen) and as you can see it also adapts to different screen sizes.

This is how things looks on the drawing board right now, nothing you see here are final and feedback in the comments are welcome.

Until next time!

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Flattr is back in Instacast

Over two years ago we stated that this is not the end when Apple bluntly forced the best ever Flattr integration out of the worlds favorite podcast app, Instacast. It took quite a while but now it’s back! Via the new Instacast Cloud feature of both the iOS and Mac apps you can effortlessly Flattr all the podcasts you love so much.

instacast

The Instacast Cloud is built to handle sync of all your Instacast devices. But it also makes it possible to automatically Flattr the podcasts you listen to.

Just connect your Instacast Cloud account with your Flattr account to enable automatic flattring of podcast episodes.

 

You can choose to flattr once you finish playing an episode, once you mark an episode as favorite or once you mark an episode as played. As soon as one of these events happen, Instacast communicates with Instacast Cloud and will flattr the episode automatically.

Don’t forget to tell your favorite podcasters to get a Flattr account too.

Download instacast and start flattring!

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Time to update your account

keep-calm-and-update-your-accountUpdate: We have decided to give people more time. July 20th is the new date.

As written earlier we are about to improve our payments. In order to do this we need to ask you to update your account with some information that is required for what is called a KYC.

KYC stands for Know Your Customer and is a EU wide law to counter money laundry and other foul play. As a service that handles your money this law states that we need to collect and store information about the people giving and sending money. When using PayPal or Skrill the KYC responsibility lies with them, which is why you have to give them personal information during payments. Now that we move over to use MangoPay, the KYC responsibility falls upon us.

 

What you need to do before July 20th, 2014

Update your account details. Just go to your account settings and enter any missing information. Accounts without this information will be suspended on the 20th of July and later deactivated permanently.

Our terms have been updated and amended with the terms of MangoPay. You should read our new terms and the terms for MangoPay.

This will be a great thing for the future of Flattr, but if you don’t agree to the above, you can just close your account.

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Developing a new Flattr experience

Time flies and things changes, specially the internet. So it’s time for us to change too. So we are redesigning Flattr. As design is not just looks, but also how it works, everything will be redone from the ground up. Come join us, you are invited to follow the process!

under-construction-flashing-barracade-animation

Obvious illustration, right?

Flattr was launched over 4 years ago. Since then have features come and gone, but the main concept and usage has not really changed. The internet have though, a lot. When we started the iPhone 3G was the hottest thing and Twitter still had an open API.

Today we have a web that is simple and accessible but controlled by a few huge companies and it’s more in your pocket than on your desk. The changes have brought the bad with the good and it’s now time for us to make the best of the new. We still believe in a paid but free web and therefor are we embarking on this redesign and there will be a few surprises on the way.

Complexity
We have always wanted to make Flattr as simple as possible to use and understand. As the basic concept is quite hard to grasp the rest needs to be super simple. In reality it’s not and have never been. So it’s time to change this. This redesign is completely aimed towards  simplification, mobility and accessibility. This will means a lot will change and even more will be removed. You will probably feel a bit lost and certainly question our judgment several times. As always change does not instinctively feel great.

Payments
As you could read in our last blog post the first thing we will change is how the payments works. We do this, because we now can. When we started we thought that handling the actual payments would be simple. We thought we could find a service that could do it for us. Turned out that was not the case. Now the service we always wanted is here and we will use it and it will be great.

Mobile first
Obviously the mobile web did exist when we started Flattr, but it was not large enough of a visitor base to put real effort into. Today it’s almost the opposite. This means Flattr should be mobile first. Luckily the tools today makes for great and simple mobile first development. Not the “lets make two sites” strategy that was common some years ago.

We will to be open and transparent about the what we plan, think and do. This is the place where you can read, comment and follow the progress.

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Time for change, our payments

43039085For a long long time our payments has been an annoying itch of ours. Handling money is very legislated and controlled. So our payments have been illogical, hard to use and stopped us from doing what we want. This is about to change!

As we are starting a cooperation with the payment platform MangoPay, we will soon be able to do a lot of things that we weren’t able to do before. As we plan do this transition we wanted to give you a heads up and also tell you about the great things to come.

- A single wallet for your money. No longer will we be forced to keep your money separated in incoming/outgoing wallets. Your account will have one wallet and the money in it is yours to use anyway you want. Yes, this means that you will be able to withdraw any money that you’ve deposited, should you change your mind.

- Withdrawals will always be made directly to your bank account. We will no longer use Paypal or Skrill for this.

- Adding money will be simpler and straight forward. Recurring payments, auto top-up when you run out of money and (functioning) bank transfers directly into your Flattr account are all things that will be possible.

- Direct transfers of money between Flattr accounts. For those of you that have been around for a while think donations but easier to use.

Some general account changes will also be necessary as we need to start collecting basic information about our users. Especially if you are a large receiver or giver. This is called a KYC (Know your customer) and is an EU law to counter money laundry. Previously PayPal and Skrill indirectly handled this for us, which is why your Flattr account could be fairly void of personal information before.

This is just the first of a series of great changes for Flattr this year. Lets go!

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