Dec 22, 2010

How to Use Flattr, the Microdonation Platform

Flattr micropayment service
Flattr is a relatively new social bookmarking and micropayment (or rather: microdonation) platform. After Paypal, BAC, and Visa and Mastercard bent down to political pressure, Flattr is currently one of the very few options left for people if they want to donate money to wikileaks and consequently Flattr is getting a fair share of exposure. In this post, I explain what flattr is, how you can use it to make money with your content and give some money to people who earn it, and how you can integrate it with your site.

What is Flattr?

I think one of the fastest ways to explain is that Flattr is a social bookmarking site, where you show your appreciation with money. Some internet sites have paypal buttons asking for donations if you like the content. Flattr is similar to that but has some differences. Now again from the beginning.

Flattr was founded in Malmö, Sweden, by Peter Sunde, who was one of the founders of piratebay, together with Linus Olsson, as a way to encourage people to share money aside from content. It can be very hard to earn money with content on the internet just by advertisement and Flattr wants to make it easier for people to give monetary tokens of appreciation and for bloggers and content creators to earn money. How does it work practically?

You start by setting up an account on flattr and transfer some money to it by credit card or paypal. Remember: flattr is about giving and getting, before you can start making money getting flattred you need to add some funds. Withdrawals are supported via Paypal and Moneybookers.

Next you determine the monthly amount you want to spend (minimum 2 euros). Each time you click on a flattr button on a website you give a share of this monthly amount to that website. This can be explained with a cake analogy. Your monthly flat rate, say 2 euros, is the cake. Each time you click on a flattr button this cake is divided into another part. The video introduction of flattr explains this very smoothly.



Flattr was made open to the public only in March 2010, but since then has enjoyed a growth that has given it an Alexa rank of 12,872 (as of today), which means that traffic on flattr is only surpassed by roughly 13,000 other sites globally. For writers and bloggers it is also worth mentioning that Flattr combines elements of social bookmarking and is do–follow site with pagerank 5.

However, you can see that it is still in an early phase of development with its user base consisting disproportionately of young males under the age of 35. It is used currently mainly in Europe, although in the United States it currently ranked 20,451. According to the Alexa entry for flattr, around a third of the visitors to this site come from Germany, where it is ranked 2,007. It is also used by two major German newspapers, TAZ and Freitag.

The growth curve for flattr, again taken from the aforementioned alexa page, shows that from March 2010, the site has been attracting more and more visitors to their website and with a bounce rate of below 60 percent it is an obvious conjecture that flattr has been gaining many users. As of today, more than 300,000 items have been flattred.

The graph below shows Alexa's estimation of Flatt's traffic rank trend.

How to Integrate Flattr on a Website or Blog

In order to get money with flattr you need to put a button on your website. This is relatively easy and here comes the generic code, which you can copy and paste on any website.

<script type='text/javascript'>
/* <![CDATA[ */
(function() {
var s = document.createElement('script'), t = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
s.type = 'text/javascript';
s.async = true;
s.src = 'http://api.flattr.com/js/0.6/load.js?mode=auto&uid=auffarth&langage=en_GB&category=text';
t.parentNode.insertBefore(s, t);
})();
/* ]]> */
</script>
<a class='FlattrButton' href='http://www.myoutsourcedbrain.com/2010/12/how-to-use-flattr-microdonation.html' rev='flattr;button:compact;' style='display:none;'></a>
<noscript>
<a href="http://flattr.com/thing/105273/How-to-Use-Flattr-the-Microdonation-Platform" target="_blank">
<img src="http://api.flattr.com/button/flattr-badge-large.png" alt="Flattr this" title="Flattr this" border="0" /></a></noscript>


I put here a version of the code which is slightly more complex, however works without javascript and gives visitors to your site the possibility to be the first to submit your pages or articles to flattr. This is why I included my flattr user id, the language code, and the category "text." I indicated in red where you would want to make changes.

Most important is to put the address (at href) of your website or page on your website. Category has to be one of images, video, audio, software, and rest. The language has to be specified in the format en_GB (currently only English option available, other language options). If you leave out the rev="flattr;button:compact;" then you will get the bigger default button.

The result would look like this:




Wordpress Integration

See the wordpress flattr plugin.

Blogger Integration

If you are using blogger, you can use the button above for a side–wide flattr button. If you want to show a flattr button with each post, then I have just the right code for you.

Go to blogger.com, go to design, html, choose expand templates, and search for <div class='post-footer-line post-footer-line-2'>. Directly after that you can paste the following code which will put the flattr button below each of your posts:

<script type='text/javascript'>
/* <![CDATA[ */
(function() {
var s = document.createElement('script'), t = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];
s.type = 'text/javascript';
s.async = true;
s.src = 'http://api.flattr.com/js/0.6/load.js?mode=auto&uid=auffarth&langage=en_GB&category=text';
t.parentNode.insertBefore(s, t);
})();
/* ]]> */
</script>
<a class='FlattrButton' expr:href='data:post.url' expr:title='data:post.title' rev='flattr;button:compact;' style='display:none;'></a><noscript>
<a href='https://flattr.com/thing/105342/My-Outsourced-Brain' target="_blank"><img src="http://api.flattr.com/button/flattr-badge-large.png" alt="Flattr this" title="Flattr this" border="0" /></a></noscript>


You should change the user-id, category, and language (see comments above). Users who don't have javascript activated would donate not to the article but to the blog in this case. Therefore I submitted myoutsourcedbrain.com to flattr and got an item id.

Other Platforms

See the flattr plugin listing.

"Everywhere"

The firefox plugin Överallt (Swedish for Everywhere) allows you to put your flattr plugin basically anywhere you want by a simple code: [Flattr=auffarth] (auffarth is my id, you would put yours). Anybody who has the firefox plugin installed will see a flattr button and will be able to donate money to you.

What's your opinion on earning and giving away money for writing? Do you think you can trust Flattr? Would you use it?

8 comments:

  1. HI, I would like to ask you, the money wich I will receive with flattr, how can be into my paypal acount ? 

    ReplyDelete
  2. You can move money between Flattr and paypal. There should be an option in your flattr account settings.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I got a new concept here...i don't know how to use this platform.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So basically you have to make a very interesting blog, so a lot of people (incl. ppl with Flattr) will see it and think "hey, I will donate something to this guy"?
    In other words, a boring blog will earn nothing while you actually only donate money?

    ReplyDelete
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