Of course information wants to be free. But information (and entertainment) providers have to live too. And they want to be loved. Recognition is a powerful motivator, and with a little effort can also be a bit financially rewarding, which is why I signed up with Flattr.

More on the why in a moment. For now, an edited extract from one of the things I flattred. 1

Flattr has the possibility of enabling a reasonable podcast economy. If enough people use it, podcasters will be able to generate an income with minimal overhead. If I pointed you here from an email, it is because I want to give you money.

I'd seen Flattr, but never fully wrapped my head around it. Now I have started to do so, and I think it does indeed have great potential. In essence Flattr is a very low friction system for giving microdonations to people.

The brilliant thing they did was to separate out the cash decision from the payment decision.

In most other payment systems you have to decide whether to pay, say. 1¢ vs 10¢ or even $1.00. That decision takes thought. It has, according to Dave Slusher, "a mental transaction cost". Flattr allows you to decide in advance on an amount of money to pay each month. You then flattr the things you like and your payment is spread equally across all of them, minus a little for Flattr.

Pretty smart.

Here's more from Dave Slusher:

In a world where this was ... common ... there would be a reasonable amount of money flowing in a roughly meritocratic manner. The more listeners you have, in general the more money that should flow towards you. ... If you are a podcast listener and a fan, sign up for an account. ... If you are a podcaster, create a Flattr account and let people give you money. ...

Be patient, don't expect anything huge at first but I can guarantee nothing about this will suck money away from you. At worst, you wasted a few minutes. At best, you might find yourself paying your hosting or more with the money that flows in.

Not just podcasting either, but all kinds of content creation.

What prompted me to sign up was a heftier than usual bill for stuff; mixer and recorder both went belly-up within a matter of weeks and had to be replaced. I'm lucky, in that I could afford to replace them. Nevertheless, a little income wouldn't hurt, and the additional recognition that comes with an actual financial transaction is rather nice too. 2

Last word from Dave Slusher:

Because this is a "boil the ocean" situation, the early going has been and is tough. It makes little sense to sign up as a listener when there is nothing to flattr. As a creator, it makes little sense to invest in a platform with few users. Let's cut through that, and push on both fronts simultaneously with a mutual leap of faith. Neither group has much to lose, so let's all just do it. I'm doing both ends myself, so I'm as invested as I can be. ... As Rage Against the Machine sings: "It has to start somewhere, it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now?"

I urge everyone to give this a try. You click like, +1 and similar things all day every day. You understand the paradigm, let's do it in a system where your money matches your attention.

There should be a little green button just below this for you to click. Or, you can go here and click the green button there. I think.

P.s. 3 January 2016: There isn't a Flattr button here, yet, because I have not yet worked out how to implement it optionally -- or even not optionally -- in this new system. Sad to say, Flattr seems to be dying, although as a happy member of the ADN community, it behooves me not to say things like that.

  1. The missing e thing is all very groovy, but seriously, what is the past participle of "to flattr"? 

  2. There hasn't actually been any, yet. I plan to report on progress as and when it happens. 

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