There is a new way of showing you appreciation for things posted on the web, and this one helps support content providers at the same time! Currently you have various sharing widgets for social and non-social services such as Facebook, Digg, Twitter, MySpace, Google Buzz, etc. but all these do is increase the publicity of the website and that’s providing someone actually looks at what has been shared. In a long term view this could increase revenues from your content as the more popular a page is the more chance of someone clicking “Donate” or clicking on an Advert but there is no guarantee!
Flattr is different. Flattr allows you to show appreciation for content and give a donation towards the content provider. This means that the content provider is guaranteed to get something for your appreciation. To fully understand just what Flattr is I recomend you view this explanatory video which pretty much sums it up:
To give a bit more detail on how it works, you fill your account with some money then
Flattr solves a problem which I often have with regards to donating! A lot of the time (especially with freeware) I want to give the developer something for the trouble of designing there but going through PayPal to donate a small would make no sense and might come across as more rude – particularly when they see that a large chunk has been taken with PayPal’s fees. Flattr makes giving small amounts easier and make more sense
The important thing about Flattr is that to receive you have to give! You cannot just set up a Flattr and receive money and by doing this it keeps the Flattr ecosystem going, as if you have paid for Flattr you are going to want to use it where ever you can and this in turn helps the developers. Another important thing that has been done to encourage using your flattr is that whether or not you flattr anyone, if you account is active, you will have to pay the monthly fee. At the moment this money goes to charity but you would still want to use your Flattr for what it is designed for which will help content publishers who have the Flattr button.
With usage comes popularity and expansion; if Flattr can get established then lots of sites will offer it and having a Flattr account will be worthwhile and will hopefully lead to a more productive and rewarding web for all!