Flattr – the second month

I had a post on Flattr revenues in May, complete with some quotes summarizing early reactions by German bloggers. Since the post got quite some appreciation, here’s another one, this time with revenues of a whole month (June). Again I’m using Rivva’s “Leitmedien” index as a means of measuring medias’ importance within the German-speaking blogosphere.

Carta editors: “Flattr revenues in June: Thank you!”
201,22 € for group blog Carta (#6 on Rivva)

Flattr seems to be on its way to become a convincing business model for blogs.

Carta also has a post up with German Flattr charts for June, listing the most-flattred articles over the last month, saying:

Among the most-flattred topics in June were among others: Flattr, football, media critique, related rights [“Leistungsschutzrecht”]. Comparing the amount of flattr clicks with the previous month one can barely see a difference. The amount of clicks on top articles has only slightly increased. This means the growth of Flattr has decreased in June. The first Flattr hype seems over.

Markus Beckedahl: Flattr revenues in June
576,53 € for group blog netzpolitik.org (#7)

That’s more than I expected. We will see if it continues like this and if more Flattr users will lead to higher revenues. I am still not convinced that Flattr could refinance a blog like this in the medium term. That will need a mix of revenues, combining parameters like Flattr, advertising, donations and other stuff like giving talks.

Sebastian Heiser: Flattr earns us 998,50 Euros in June
998,50 € for newspaper taz (#15)

My personal impression from our Flattr balance in June is that readers don’t reward the most expensive investigation the most, not the best coverage and not the articles with the best background information from our specialized editors. The most rewards go to articles which aim at the favorite enemies of our readers: Neo-Nazis, high nobility, the newspaper “Bild”, the liberal-conservative federal government.

Jens Matheuszik: What Flattr earned Pottblog & Co. in June
14,48 € for blog Pottblog (#38)

There’s one thing that irks me about Flattr: I have written […] an article which I think is very helpful for a certain audience […]. This article, which also contained a Flattr button, also got linked to, among others by a blog with a Flattr button. Interestingly, this other blog, which actually just paraphrased my post and linked to me, got more Flattr clicks than the actual post. That’s somehow as if on pay-TV I would pay more for the preview of a good movie than for the actual movie.

Stefan Niggemeier: Now I’m flatt
352,89 for blog Stefan Niggemeier (#14)

That’s more than I expected […]. 100 Euros for an article like my commentary on the “She said ‘Reichsparteitag’” hysteria is a better royalty than many newspapers would have paid for an article.

Some other major blogs have reported their revenues as well:

law blog (#27): 247,68 €
iPhoneBlog.de (#232): 202,10 €
Blogwerk (publisher of several blogs): 201,17 €

I myself made 7,42 € in revenues from Flattr this month through six articles on i like patterns. A post reporting revenues and reactions of German bloggers like this one got most clicks (16) – probably because it was used by Flattr as credentials. But these 16 clicks only meant 2,76 € in revenues – while two clicks for my article on the campaign against the 2011 census already earned me 2,36 €. All in all, I made 0,26 € per flattr – an average reported by others as well.

From the first full month of Flattr experience we can already draw some trends. Of course, one important question is whether Flattr continues to expand. While Carta sees the service’s grow already in a decline, I would draw a more cautious and complex conclusion by looking at the revenues reported by two of the biggest earners, netzpolitik.org and taz. Netzpolitik is read mostly by an extremely ‘Net-savvy audience, while taz.de, online version of a leftist newspaper, probably has a less specialized readership.

Netzpolitik.org reports about 577 € for June, compared to 39 € on the last two days of May, i.e. revenues stayed at about 20 Euros per day. Taz.de on the other hand made nearly 1000 € in June, whereas they had reported only 143,55 € for the previous month’s twelve final days, i.e. taz.de about tripled their revenues in June. I would argue that what we see is Flattr growing not at the core (‘Net-savvy early adopters), but on the edges (less avant-garde readership). That’s not to say that we already see a mainstreamization of Flattr, but a diversification among its users.

The other big issue is whether Flattr revenues are just. Or, to use a less moralizing phrasing: Which articles (and which topics) get flattred? The quotes above already give some answers to this question: Readers flattr opinionated commentary rather than well-researched articles. Posts dealing with flattr get a lot of reward, but this trend seems to decline. Hot topics, especially those popular with the ‘Net-savvy media avant-garde, are leading the charts.

The statistics of the articles I wrote for Spreeblick only partially mirror this image:

49 – Activists plan constitutional complaint against 2011 census (31.05.)
20 – Governors sign media protection of minors treaty (11.06.)
14 – Campaign against 2011 census launched (10.06.)
12 – On the App Store or not on the App Store, that’s the question (09.06.)
11 – An alternative to Facebook (18.05.)
9 – The digital future of Europe (19.05.)
9 – EFF design basic rights for users of Facebook and co. (20.05.)
9 – Does Burma work on nuclear weapons? (04.06.)
8 – Those writing about environmental protection live in danger (24.06.)
7 – Gallo report: A victorious battle for copyright dogmatism (02.06.)
7 – Video interview with Eleanor Saitta: Before the surveillance camera, some people are more equal (08.06.)

Another five articles got flattred six or less times, but none of the posts I wrote for Spreeblick since the introduction of Flattr did not receive any reward.

My most-flattred article deals with the upcoming 2011 census (here’s an updated English version). It required relatively much research, but was kind of scoop – I was the first to report on the planned constitutional complaint. On spots #2 and #3 follow news articles on current political affairs, two opinion pieces on Apple’s App Store and Facebook rank 4th and 5th. There is no clear pattern visible in this ranking (which is not based on sufficient data of course).

My own articles aside, opinion pieces seem to fare well with Flattr users. Many seem to use the button as kind of a way of saying thank you to authors who expressed what they were already thinking. I, personally, try to reward writers for articles which offer me an unusual perspective, new insights – or an enjoyable phrasing. How do you use the Flattr button?

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