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.


More is seldom a good idea.

“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.

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.


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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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.


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.

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.

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.

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 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?


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 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.


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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