I’m conducting a little experiment in social economics. I like the idea of crowd sourcing, and I like the idea of supporting people who are providing useful content on the web for free. I myself and working on some content (beyond this blog), and would like a way for those who appreciate the efforts to show their appreciation. I had thought of setting up a little button on the lines of “if you like this, buy me a coffee” and linking to a Paypal page, but there are issues with it, and the overhead for each user is a lot for a cup of coffee. We’ll see, depending on how this little experiment goes, I may go back to the Paypal cup of coffee idea.
My husband mentioned a site called Flattr, so I decided to check it out. The idea is pretty simple. You decide how much you want to give away in a month (minimum is 2 Euro). As you crawl through the Internet, when you find a blog post or site that you appreciate, you click their Flattr link. At the end of the month, your 2 Euro is divided up among all the sites you Flattr’ed. In this way, you can show appreciation for blog posts that you like (if you like a lot, it may be only pennies to the author, but still it is a way to show appreciation). For a short video explaining it, click here.
As an author, I can’t see getting rich with this scheme. I would certainly make more money by selling advertising, but advertising is ugly and just doesn’t feel right to me. I also wonder whether this model just puts money into the hands of the Flattr website owners, and doesn’t really do much for authors? But on the other hand, I like the idea. I think it has merit. So, I’ve decided to make a little experiment out of it. I’ve deposited about $20 ($15 Euro). I’m currently set to give the minimum per month (2 Euro), so this should last me seven months. I’m going to commit to hitting the Flattr button on every blog that I read that has a Flattr button. I’ve also setup a couple of Flattr subscriptions to automatically Flattr a few charities, in case I don’t come across too many blogs with the button – that way, I know my money is going to a good cause. In addition, I’m in the process of putting Flattr links on all my blogs and other key content that I’ve created.
So, if you think the idea has merit, then think about setting yourself up with a Flattr account, and while you are at it, Flattr me!