Opening the floodgates – killing requirement to give money to receive money

On Sunday we’re making an important change to the service, which I hope you’ll agree is good news. From May 1st onwards we’re dropping the requirement to add money to your account to keep your Flattr button active.

What does this mean?

Flattr will continue to work exactly as it does today. We’re simply removing the one requirement that has kept some people away from Flattr and that’s caused some mixed feelings in the community.

If you’re someone that’s using Flattr primarily to make micropayments to others then you’ll soon have tons more blogs and websites to flattr.

If you’re using Flattr to both pay and get paid, you now no longer need to worry whether your Flattr button is active. Feel free to add money to your account and flattr others at your own pace.

If you have removed a Flattr button from your blog or website because it had become inactive you can add it back, it’s active again.

And if you’re not using Flattr yet, now (actually, Sunday) is a really good time to start.

Why are we doing this?

The give before you get principle has served Flattr well. More than 175.000 things have been flattred almost half a million times, and we have more impressive numbers up our sleeves. But we know this requirement has put some people off Flattr,  for example people that don’t trust new systems enough to enter their credit card number as the first thing. Which means there is less flattrable content out there than there could be.

The second reason for dropping the requirement is that … it seems we don’t need it. Originally we thought that Give to get was necessary in a world where everyone is both creator and consumer of the content. We assumed we needed to nudge people to give and not just get, but numbers show we’ve under-estimated our audience. More than half of people using the service only pay others without expecting to get paid on Flattr, which suggests that our give to get rule is outdated.

Thoughts, comments?

In short, dropping the need to add money to your account means that more people will have access to Flattr and there will be more great content to flattr. All around awesome.

We hope you’ll agree this is a good move for everyone. Please voice your comments, questions or concern below  – or if it’s relating to your account then through the support page.

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87 Responses to Opening the floodgates – killing requirement to give money to receive money

  1. Christian says:

    Good Job !

  2. Lioman says:

    Great news! Now its possible to monetize smaler projects/blogs.
    Usually they have to flattr more then they get. A small Blog don’t get 2€ ore more a month but they can collect a part of server costs over a year.

  3. David Gilson says:

    As a journalist and blogger I’m in favour of this. Flattr still has a relatively small userbase. I paid in the minimum amount, in the hope that I’d get Flattr’d for my writing.

    While I have received a few Flattr’s, I’ve yet to break even. So it hasn’t been worth my while, so far.

    Before I sound too greedy either, I would gladly Flattr things I appreciate. But almost always there’s no Flattr button for me to use. So, I hope that this will encourage more blogs, etc, to use Flattr, in which case we can all spread the love more widely.

    If anyone would like to Flattr me, my profile is https://flattr.com/profile/davidgilson. Or maybe you’d just like to follow @davidgilson on Twitter.

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  6. Tommy says:

    You wrote that more than half of us users “only pay others without expecting to get paid on Flattr .. “. That fact gives me renewed hope in humanity! I’m generally considered to be an optimist and even I didn’t think that about people. I (happily) stand corrected and agree that it makes sense to remove the requirement of giving before one could receive.

    I just felt an unexpected feeling I want to share: I’m both sharing content I hope to get flattred, and am flattring others. Now that my flattring of others has become voluntary and not a requirement any more, I feel much better every time that I click another persons flattr button. It feels like I now flattr more from the heart than before. Thanks! :).

  7. It’s kind of funny, I was complaining about this to a friend of mine just yesterday. Was considering writing a blog post about how the whole Flattr setup was doomed to fail because the required investment would be a huge psychological barrier to many blog owners.

    This is a brilliant move and one that needed to be made if Flattr is to ever be more than a niche service.

  8. Looking forward to seeing the mechanics of this. Recently wrote a post about Flattr and look forward to updating it with more facts about the updated functionality.

    http://www.tourabsurd.com/flattr-it/

    http://www.twitter.com/tourabsurd

    Cheers!

  9. Stefan says:

    I don’t like the change as it compromises the “give and get” that I like so much of flattr. Now you can get without giving.

  10. Stuart Orford says:

    I didn’t even realise this was the case – I’m one of those people who just used Flatr to give money without ever expecting to get! Hopefully this will encourage a lot more people to add content.

  11. Eric Kow says:

    Fantastic news. I hope this makes it a lot easier to get people signed up to flattr.

    Am slightly concerned that this lowers the cost of potential fraud and gets the Flattr team bogged down in cleaning up after fraud, but the chance to really push these gates open is worth it.

    I bet this decision if also related to the flattr anybody on twitter thing, which I’m certainly very curious to see the effect of.

  12. Pingback: Flattr jetzt auch für Nichtflattr’er

  13. J says:

    I see a big pro and some cons for this …

    The pro is hat it enables projects to have flattr buttons. Right now it’s a bit annoying as the project as a whole has to load money to flattr things, so what we did was having one using his “private” account for the project and then looking at the report to decide what’s going where. With this change we can create a flattr account for the project which is handled independently. (and reaches the minimum for receiving the money later ;-) )

    The con is that the “give so you can take” thing is no more, that’s kind of sad. :-/

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  15. martin says:

    finally! so great.

  16. Snild Dolkow says:

    How will this change be seen? Will people be able to set their monthly flattr amount to 0, or will the €2 minimum be there as long as there is money in the account?

    With the new system, what happens if you don’t flattr anything a certain month? Will this be the same as before, or will it be changed too?

  17. @snild If you have money in your means it will be withdrawn as usual every month, and you will not be able to set your flat fee to 0. €2 is still the minimum.
    When you’re out of money, what will change is that your buttons (if you have any) will still be active and clickable.

  18. That sounds good. I hope it will get more people to use flattr!

    And it also means that I will be able to keep my flattr buttons, even if the times might get rough and money scarce (which I hope won’t be the case, but you never know).

    It is also a nice complement to the option of sending someone money via flattr who does not yet have a flattr account.

    Now the only thing missing is for flattr to become free software.

    And maybe, on the long run, to have flattr financed entirely by flattrs from your users instead by 10% of any flattr (eating your own dogfood :) ).That would make you independent from the need to control the software.

    First step to that: Unlimited subscription, so I can sign up as lasting supporter and people can plan with a more stable income.

  19. Once a flattr fan says:

    When flattr came out, I was so happy and optimistic about this new awesome service. but after 6 months i only had 1 (one!) person that had flattrd my work. In the end, the system didn’t work our for me. I payed 2 bucks every month and only the big blogs and newsletter homepages (where the journalists are already being paid because it’s their job) got flattrd and to tell you the truth, I didn’t find that many sites to flattr, so in the end I didn’t even lose my 2 bucks per month to people I flattrd at least (which wouldn’t be bad, I like to give) but it went straight to (at least) charity (i hope, I’ve never seen any evidence where the money goes).

    So that is why flattr and other micropayment systems have failed in the end and now try to grasp for survival with desperate measures.

    No hard feelings, I hope you guys survive. But for me it is just too little too late.

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  21. Tyler says:

    Thank you.

    I do think somehow you should make the option to publish on your “public flattr” page who you flattred. Make it kind of like a merrit system. That way you can see who is just sitting back and trying to collect money, or who is involved in the community as a whole.

    Either way, thank you, I do enjoy the concept of flattr very much.

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  23. Per Klason says:

    Ok, so I have been waiting for useful micropayments for a decade now. Is it Flattr? My first reaction is: Keep it simple! Just put some money in your flattr account and then make payments, one unit each time. I think there should rather be a fixed “flattr credit” that you give each time you click on a flattr button, rather than this strange system of splitting all clicks by month, and emptying your flattr account to some organization every month. It is too esoteric and odd, and if you keep that I don’t think Flattr will make it.

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  26. matt says:

    thank you for this change. There have been a couple of projects which I flat out could not Flattr because the owner was simply not interested in investing in a proto-possibly-vapourware micropayment system. Maybe that will change now.

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  28. Chris Lang says:

    Great! – more websites using flattr must be a good thing, no?

    And if anyone wants to help support a critical view of carbon trading and forests, head over to http://redd-monitor.org or http://twitter.com/reddmonitor.

    Thanks!

  29. jezra says:

    This was the one thing that was keeping me from really utilizing flattr, and I look forward to seeing if this change bring an influx of new flattr users.

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  31. Kiwi says:

    Of course this will be a great improvement I’ve been waiting for. But how will the system work in future? There will be a lot of people who want to earn money but don’t pay anything. Don’t you think this fact will come true? And what will you do against this trend?

    Best regards

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  33. rikkit says:

    A pay-as-you-click setting would be nice. You can’t (at the moment) give more to one site you liked than another. This along with being able to click twice would fix that.

  34. Wirone says:

    Nice move! BUT (there’s always but) I still can’t use Flattr buttons on my site, because theye’re inactive. On my dashboard I see message that I have to add funds.

    Why?

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  36. Wirone says:

    Yeah, I know why… Nevermind :)

  37. Because it activates on Sunday

  38. If you want to give more there’s always the donation option.

  39. Weasel says:

    A very interesting update, this is. To be honest, this is one of the reasons why I could never use Flattr; I just didn’t have the funds coming in enough, and there weren’t enough other sites using Flattr, to make it worth my time. Which, obviously, is wrong, because I could have looked at the site here to find them, I just never used the site much. However, with the mandatory payments going away… not to sound greedy, but, I’ll probably use it more on my site now because of it. As an amateur journalist, it’d be very nice to make a little bit of money on the side with it, if it works.

    Thank you Flattr. I hope that I can give back some that I get as well. (:

  40. Pingback: Flattr: Nutzer muessen nicht mehr einzahlen, um mitzumachen | freeware download

  41. mark says:

    i had just abandoned my flattr account a few weeks ago because I had to flatr 4 times as much as I got. So it was not even close to be helpful.

    But hearing this great news I might even start again to use it.
    Thx!

  42. Otto says:

    Great news! I was planning to remove all my flattr buttons in a few months when my credit would run out. I was also hesitant to advise flattr to others since it’s kind of strange to advise a service that you are planning to leave.

    With this change for sure I won’t leave flattr. There is also one project for visually impaired people that I help out with sometimes. This change makes it a near certainty that I can convince them to put up a flattr button on their site.

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  46. Ploum says:

    At first, I thought : “Cool, I would make 24€ more per year!”

    Then, I thought : “Well, I still like to Flatt those things from time to time. It would be a bit sad to not doing it anymore.”

    I hope that a lot of people will think like me…

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  49. alexbasasa says:

    Great stuff!

    I’ll keep depositing my 2€ a month, but I’ll now also open accounts for my bands.

  50. Matt says:

    Great timing ! Our rewards system is based on # of flattr’s a startup gets! We help fund small bootstrap startups!

    http://www.tinyangel.me

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  52. mattias says:

    this is great. im still gonna put in like 10 euros to my flattr account every month tho :D

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  65. Marenz says:

    And now I have a flattr button, too. Cool.

    One thing that always put me off was the requirement to use either paypal or moneybookers. I’d love to have a way to just enter my bankaccount information and be done. Or to at least be able to send my money to your bankaccount.

    Maybe that new amazon pay thing is also a good alternative?
    https://payments.amazon.com/sdui/sdui/business/asp

    But paypal.. come on… :( and I don’t even know the other thing. I don’t want to give them my data.

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  68. Melissa says:

    THIS IS AWESOME NEWS!!! thanks Flattr :)

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  70. Shangri-l says:

    Well, to sum up :

    -I created a Flattr account, but didn’t want to give, so it remained inactive.
    -When Flattr announced the change, I waited until May, 1st, and added my thing to Flattr.
    -Two days latter, a friend of mine (I told him about the change) joined flattr. So, well, you know what it is, I flattered him and therefore put money on my account.

    I also flattered another thing I liked.

    So, I didn’t want to give money at the begining, but finally did so.

    Best wishes for the Flattr future,

    Shangri-l

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  77. Where did you open it? I just created an account, and the dashboard tells me: “Now choose your monthly flattr amount. This is how much money you want to give to others each month. Default (and minimum) is €2.” It’s a bad idea to tell people about a change and not building it into the software!

    So what am I expected to do now?

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  79. Change should be live. But we might have some copy issues on the sight! Thanks for noticing

  80. Shangri-l says:

    For Sabine Engelhardt :

    I was puzzled a bit too when I activated my account one week ago.

    The only thing you have to do is to set an amount, €2 as an example. As long as you do not put money on your ‘give’ account this will have no effect. And your ‘get’ account is a different one, so these €2 will not be taken out of the money you will get.

    You’ll probably have to cancel a few additional suggested steps such as ‘find some things to flattr’ before you can actually add your things, if I remember correctly.

    Note that’s only the way I went trough the suggested steps process ; I’m not sure, maybe this is not mandatory and you can still add things using the add things link in the top menu without actually going trough the suggested steps.

    I hope this helps

  81. archy says:

    Now the last remaining change to make flattr acceptable would be to considerably reduce the fee.

    10% is plain usury.
    I think a fair amount would be around 2%.

    I like the whole idea of flattr and would gladly give money to many blogs I think are valuable, but I won’t accept only 90% of my payment reaching the destination.

  82. Patrick says:

    Great news guys! Great change.

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