Linus Olsson, a member of the Flattr team, explained that one of his biggest challenges was articulating exactly what it is that the business does; for such a simple concept it can initially be a bit baffling. So here goes nothing…
Peter Sunde, founder of Flattr, stated that the aim of the business was to “encourage people to share money as well as content”. The idea behind Flattr is to create a payment system so simple that people would donate a small amount of money for free content that they happen to like and therefore think deserves some kind of support. Payment systems are often long and extensive, which can deter people from paying for things they need online, let alone donating willingly; so here’s where Flattr comes in.
Flattr users pay a small fee every month, more like topping up an account, which they can then donate to various websites via a simple click of a flattr button, providing the website has one. At the end of the month the user’s fee is divided by the amount of clicks that they have made, and the money is split and transferred directly to the supplier of the ‘flattred’ content. Similarly, if you are supplying content online you can get your own Flattr button so people can donate to you! With a flat rate fee you can Flattr people – it’s that simple.
With a background in technology Olsson explained that it was not financial knowledge that led them to Flattr, but more an understanding of how humans behave. In that respect Flattr was created in order to help humans support the things that they find important, thus challenging existing economic structures.
Flattr, labelled by many as a ‘micro-payment’ system, has over 80,000 users since its launch in 2010, with the majority situated in Germany. Olsson is confident that Flattr will work wherever people care about supporting those who supply genuinely good content, but also believes that one of his principal challenges is implementing Flattr where it needs to be implemented. To overcome this he hopes to make the technology increasingly easier and find partners in order to help spread the word.
Sounds great, but how do they make their money?
Flattr takes a 10% cut of the money received by the suppliers of ‘flattred’ content, a figure which Olsson sees as a kind of necessary evil which he hopes to reduce in the future.
Although the Flattr team have not revealed the source of their funding, in February of this year they received a €1.6m in Venture Round Funding, which will hopefully give the team the boost they need to grow their business and spread the word: ‘Flattr’.
Information sourced from: http://flattr.com/