Flattr, the small-donations-add-up-and-drive-content-creation company that I wrote about while it was still in private beta, drives a hard bargain. If you want to receive funds from others, you have to have funds in your account to Flattr others. If you don’t use your monthly allotted amount to Flattr others, it will be contributed to charitable causes instead. Starting on May 1st, you will not have to Flattr others in order to receive funds (although it is still encouraged). It seems Flattr is taking a little softer tone on the rhetoric that might have turned away some individuals in exchange for getting wider adoption. This change is also good for small content producers who might have to spend more in a month with their Flattr amount than they’re able to make, which does not solve the problem of content producers having to rely on ads or other venues.
Flattr detailed the change in a rare e-mail to all Flattr users and in a blog post titled Opening the floodgates:
Flattr’s first year has been great. And not just for us but for tens of thousands of bloggers, podcasters, developers, designers and other creators out there. Just ask Tim. We’re now making an important change to the service, one which should open the floodgates of Flattr, if you will.
From May 1st we no longer require users to flattr others before they can be flattrd. Or in other words, it’s not mandatory to add money to your account to have an active Flattr button.
How does this affect you?
If you’re mainly using Flattr to make payments you will soon have much more content to flattr.
If you’re using Flattr both to make and receive payments then you no longer need to check your balance at the end of each month to see whether your Flattr button is still active or not. It is and always will be.
If your Flattr button was once deactivated because balance dropped to zero, it is now active again. Forever.
This makes Flattr simpler
We have good reasons for making this change and we’ve just added a post about it on our blog. In a nutshell, we just didn’t need to force the give before you get principle onto people. During the the last year we’ve learned that people want to flattr the content they like and therefore we decided to drop any rules that made the service restrictive or outright complicated.
We hope you’ll like the simpler more straightforward Flattr. If you have any comments, questions or feedback please get in touch via our blog or support page.
Linus, Peter and the rest of Flattr team
One reason for the change is that Flattr is seeing people that want to flattr others and that allows them to back off the restrictions. They’ve only been operational for a little more than a year but they’ve evolved quite a bit. It will be interesting to see how adaptations like this allow the company to adapt and thrive.
Starting Sunday, May1st a lot more people might start using Flattr, you’ll probably see Flattr button on a lot more sites, and from another blog post, it will be possible to flattr anybody with a Twitter account even if they don’t have a Flattr account.