Some days ago I wrote about Flattr, the new micropayment service founded by ex-Pirate Bay speaker Peter Sunde. Flattr is well on its way in Germany, where many early adopters have already received their first payment on June 1 (more on that later). But what about the rest of the world?
Since I haven’t seen much buzz around Flattr outside of Germany, I asked my Twitter followers why they think the service hasn’t taken off elsewhere. While Christian Kreutz criticized the invitation phase as making no sense because Flattr “need a mass right from start”, company evangelist Eileen Tso added that the service’s adoption by leftist German newspaper taz “took it to another level”. Jürgen Eichholz saw Peter Sunde’s talk at re:publica 10 (video, see also this interview with dctp.tv) as crucial.
Peter himself eventually sided with Jürgen, also pointing out that he’s living in Berlin. So there seems to be a consensus that a talk at re:publica was helpful to kickstart Flattr into the German blogosphere. Indeed, the conference is not only the biggest one aiming mostly at bloggers (and, at least in my eyes, more open and welcoming than both other Internet community events, such as the Chaos Communication Congress and typical media conferences), but also organized by the people (and companies) behind two of Germany’s most prominent blogs, netzpolitik.org and Spreeblick (I have interned at, and write for, both).
These two blogs are also among the first to implement Flattr, alongside many other major (and smaller, of course) blog and some newspapers. On June 1, Flattr paid out the first monthly revenues to the participators. Many of them have responded by publishing the figures, in general saying that they are posivitely surprised. Below are some figures and statements, alongside some rankings derived from the “Leitmedien” index of Rivva, an important aggregator that uses links and tweets as indicators of relevance.
I’m far from euphoria, but I feel that here something is growing that could well be sustainable. […] I can only be satisfied. Reactions [from listeners] have shown me how important it is to have personal communication with your own community. […] That’s why I’ve called my little adventure “personal media”. That’s what it is about: An extremely personal form of media production which allows for a highly personal way of consuming media. Flattr seems to be an interesting complement to this concept: Personal payment […]. The Flattr click is more of an acknowledgement and fulfillment of an urge to thank than a payment transaction.
Even though the sum positively surprises me because I expected much less it is still too early for reasonably valid judgments […]. Flattr is generally a good idea which still needs time. And for trying it out and making it alone we owe the Flattr Swedes due respect and by the way also a fair share of the revenues.
Spreeblick has also embedded a poll asking their readers about their use of Flattr. Surprisingly, the share of those who use the service as both writers and readers (17%) is lower than the one of read-only users (18%). 37% state that they plan to join Flattr in the future, whereas only 28% have no interest in the service.
Given that taz.de is only present [on Flattr] for a mere 12 days, and given that Flattr is still in beta mode, the result meets our expectations. […] In general rewards on Flattr were for things that our readers like to read at the moment otherwise, too. […] At the same time it’s also eye-catching that the number of Flattr clicks is continously growing day by day.
We are happy about so much support, which exceeds our expectations by far. […] The system may still be in closed beta mode, it still has a few flaws and it still lacks a few desirable features, but all in all it feels ok. It keeps fascinating to watch the development, growing prevalence and acceptance – especially among “non-bloggers”.
A rough calculation shows that each Flattr has earned me around 15 cents. […] I had expected one, maybe two cents per click. It’s too early to make a final judgement about Flattr. After all, the service has not even finished its closed beta phase yet. But after the first numbers I still think Flattr is a good idea which deserves a chance.
Flattr establishes a gift economy. […] Flattring is, like blogging, making a gift. […] From the beginning on I have set my Flattr to 20 euros a month. My own estimation of what blogs are worth for me would be more like 50 euros, but that’s currently not possible. Bummer!
Flattr is still in closed beta mode, thus you need an invite code to join. I still have some left, so if you want one send me an email to [myfirstname] at [thisdomain]. I will be especially happy to give away some invite codes to my international readers!