Flattr launched back in July 2010 as a sort of ‘Facebook Like’ but with real money involved. A user that sets up a Flattr account pays a monthly fee — a minimum of $2 — that they are willing to contribute for any kind of online content. When the user finds something they like that has a Flattr button nearby, they can click the button to reward the content provider. The trouble is, Flattr needs publishers. They got a few, but still there were scaling issues. Now they may have hit upon the correct model: Allowing users to connect social accounts.
Flattr users can now give and receive micro-donations directly on other web services they already use. They just need to Favorite, Like or Star content on any social service they have already connected to Flattr. The list of connected accounts now runs to Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Github, Flickr, Vimeo, 500px and App.net while more are planned. Flattr will divide your monthly budget into equal parts based on the number of clicks (Likes, favorites and stars) throughout the month.
And since it’s usually content publishers rather than individuals that have Flattr accounts, you are unlikely to be ‘Flattring’ with cash a picture of a LOLcat your friend put online, but more likely an article on a blog or a video on Vimeo.
If the content creator (receiver) doesn’t yet have a Flattr account, they are notified that they’ve been flattered and they register to “claim the money”.
But, this could men that, say, a photographer with really amazing work on Flickr would earn real money through Flattr.
However, it’s unlikely to make anyone rich just yet because it will require many more people to open Flattr accounts, but, it does effectively monetize the Like economy.
As a reminder, that’s 400 million tweets a day, 40 million Instagram photos per day, amongst others.