So much promise, so little hope

I'm disappointed by where Flattr is (not) going

I had high hopes for Flattr. Back when I signed up I quoted Dave Slusher as saying:

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.

So I did, and for a while all was good. But Flattr seemed to go into a bit of a decline and the relaunch, a month or so ago, was a bit of a botch as well. Many things didn't work, and still don't, despite the developers' assurances. And their "reasons" -- so many bugs, there are just the two of us, we have no time -- strike me as unprofessional and feed my feeling of gloom and doom. Given that they take a cut of each member's flattrs, my guess is that they're depriving themselves of income.

Perhaps the greatest loss -- and I have not read a convincing explanation for it -- is the ability to flattr content from people who are not yet members of Flattr. Time was, I could flattr such things -- maybe an image on Flickr or a post on ADN -- and the unclaimed flattr would show up on my dashboard. At the very least, I could email people and say "Hey, there's money here waiting for you, all you need to do is pick it up."

To me, that was a handy use of the network effect, whereby I would do the recruiting on behalf of Flattr and help to spread the love, with benefits for all concerned. Now that's gone, I don't know why and I don't see any effort on the part of Flattr to recruit new members. (Possibly just as well given that the whole thing isn't working very well at the moment.)

So, I don't know. I'm hanging on for the time being, to see how things turn out. Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. And of course there are other options for asking for financial support; my difficulties with them remain the same, that I'm not sure what extras I can offer to people who do offer regular support. The beauty of Flattr was always that it required one spending decision -- how much to dedicate each month -- and then made distributing that relatively easy.

Maybe there's still room for someone else to do exactly that, better.

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