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More Flattr downsides

I’ve written a bit about flattr before and in particular it was just three months ago that I last complained about seeing it dwindling down.

Even if the developers have started working to push more features out, to find more content to flattr… it seems to me like it hasn’t spurn enough enthusiasm in people to add more money into the system. At the end of the month, the dozen euros that used to come in my flattr, which I would then reinvest on more flattrs to other, have cut down to half.

A few months ago seeing the trend, I gave myself a rule; since I’m on flattr also because I make content, and most of the time said content is not something I’m paid to make, I expect to have a positive balance out of it: if any given month the revenue is lower than the monthly amount, I won’t be using it the following month; this was helped by the fact that now you can wait to add funds even to the middle of the month, so I can just wait for the new revenue to be finalised, and then move it to funds.

This happened the past month. This month seems to be better, but not so much. By comparison, Google AdSense – which is on this blog and on my Autotools Mythbuster – and does not require a direct donation, brought me a couple of euros more than flattr, consistently, for the past six months.

What’s the issue? I guess the main problem here is that Flattr still takes 10% of each month’s revenue, which means that, given my monthly budget of €5, to have it available, I have to get at least €5.56 in donations, and then what my targets’ revenue is going to be €4.50. And over that they take a fee (5% if I recall correctly) when you add funds directly, and then you have PayPal taking another fee if you want to withdraw the revenue.

While this was designed as an easy way to handle microdonations, the impact on these starts to be big enough that what was considered a huge chunk of money being eaten away by PayPal is now looking not too bad — myself, if flattr is going to go down the drain, I think I’ll get people I feel deserve something Amazon gift certificates, the same way I’m listing them as primary donation point for me as well — especially since those I can use to buy books for the Kindle.

Flattr, please, try to get more people involved by reducing the percentage fee you take, or just moving it to when you add and receive funds, rather than just when you pass them around to others.

Comments 2
  1. Good feedback. How would you solve the “Flattr needs more traction” challenge? What should change in the product to make it a more must-have feature?As to ads – you should do as AlternativeTo and show Flattr when you detect an adblocker. I didn’t even know your site had ads… (more about it here:…Fees – this is brought up often and two aspects here: 1. Flattr is the most cost effective micropayments/dontions platform out there. 10% might sound a lot but today it does not cover the costs of running Flattr. As to payment provider fees when getting funds in and out of the system – you’re absolutely right, these are too high and we’re looking for ways to bring them down.Your idea that we should take 10% only when funds leave Flattr system is an interesting one. Will discuss the financial implications of it with the team.

  2. I think in general, Flattr _is_ going in the right direction: getting it a tad more social helps a lot. The other problem is to actually provide a bit of confidence for the people who are “in the game”. When “Jürgen”: posted a link to this post on twitter, Pelle tried to defend the 10% fee and the current approach .. but did nothing (even when I asked about it) to provide us with some facts on the current situation: are people adding money to their Flattr accounts? Are they redeeming their balance? How high are the costs of operation?I know that you need the 10% to actually cover the costs, and that’s my main concern: if even this way you can’t cover for the costs, micropayments altogether might not have much of a future.As for the ads, and the alternative … I actually intended for them to be invisible for people using adblockers, after all I already have a Flattr button on the rightside of every page… and the fact that even with adblockers being as frequently used as they are, AdSense is bringing in more money, is what scares me a lot.

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