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This article describes my experience of using Flattr to give and receive microdonations as well as what I have learnt about using it.
What is Flattr?
Flattr allows online creators to receive microdonations from their fans (contributors). Using microdonations allows them to support a wider range of creators rather than donating larger amounts to fewer creators.
How Flattr works
Contributors choose an amount ($3 minimum) for a 30-day subscription period which gets divided evenly between the creators they have chosen to support. You can also make on-off payments.
Flattr's donation model has changed over the years:
Flattr was launched in 2010 using a subscription model which divided a contributor's subscription between the contributor's selected creators.
In 2011, extensions which display a Flattr icon in the address field of flattrable websites were introduced for Chrome and Firefox desktop browsers. Clicking on this icon took contributors to a page where they could make a contribution.
This extension was then replaced with one that monitored a contributor's engagement with a flattrable website and awarded a proportion of the subscription accordingly. Currently there are no links to this extension on Flattr's website. You could also increase your donations to creators by interacting with their social media pages, YouTube and Podcasts etc.
Today's donation model simply includes:
- 30-day subscriptions
- One-off payments
- Access to Creator Updates
Becoming a Creator
- Sign up as a creator
- Link your sites and channels
- Tell your fans and visitors
- Provide updates for your contributors
1. Sign up as a creator
Go to flattr.com, make sure that the 'Creators' tab is selected, click the 'Sign up as a creator' button, fill in all the usual details and click the 'Sign up' button.
2. Link your sites and channels
If you have your own domain, you can register the domain with Flattr and you will be asked to add a code to a metatag in the
<head> section of every page of your site. The code is used to verify your website. Adding this metatag to every page used to be necessary to monitor enagement with your website so you might be able to get away with only putting it on you home page.
You can register a domain by clicking on your name at the top of the dashboard, clicking on 'Profile settings', scrolling down to the near the bottom of the page, entering your domain and clicking on 'Add domain'.
The metatag that you need is above where your entered your domain's URL. Adding the metatag to every page of your site can be a bit of a chore so I use PHP (most web servers come with this language already installed) to automatically include the headers and footers on my pages.
You can also set up connections with Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc as well as your podcasts and other websites that you own.
To make a connection, go to 'Settings > Profile settings > Connections tab' and sign in to your social network account. Doing this lets people know where else to find you. Connections are displayed on your profile to verify that you are you.
3. Tell your fans and visitors
Use your blogs, social media, podcasts and web pages to let people know that you are a Flattr creator. In order to contribute, your fans and visitors will need Flattr so it would be a good idea to let them know how to get, install and use Flattr.
4. Provide updates for your contributors
A recent addition to Flattr is a blog (Creator Updates) that can be viewed by people who have made recent contributions to you. You can use this feature to:
✏️ Write a blog for your supporters.
🔗 Share links to new content.
🔜 Show off your work in progress.
🙌 Simply show your appreciation.
🤯 …and a whole lot more.
To write an update, click on the 'message symbol' by the menu on the Creator Dashboard and then click on the '+ Create new update' button.
Becoming a Contributor
The temptation is to be a creator without being a contributor so that you will have income without any expenditure. However, if everyone were to do this, nobody would get any income!
- Sign up as a contributor
- Choose a subscription
- Set up your flattring
- Share your contributions
1. Sign up as a contributor
Go to flattr.com, make sure that the 'Contributors' tab is selected, click the 'Sign up today ->' button, fill in your email address and a password and click the 'Sign up' button.
2. Choose a subscription
Decide how much you want to contribute to creators. You do this by clicking on your name or email at the top of the dashboard and click on 'Subscription'. You can now select the amount for your 30-day subscription. The minimum subscription is $3. You will also need to fill in your payment card details. Your subscription is distributed between all creators you flattr.
3. Set up your flattring
Manually add recurring contributions by going to the creator's Flattr page (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and clicking on 'Start contributing' for the channels you want to support.
4. Share your contributions
Every 30 days Flattr divides your subscription by the number of contributions you have set up and each creator you have flattrd receives the this amount. You can stop donating to a creator by going to your 'Contributor dashboard' and clicking on the relevant 'trash can' button.
How much does it cost?
On the first of the month you will be charged 10% (5% Flattr fees + 5% card-processing fees) of the revenue received during the previous month. Whenever money is withdrawn (currently a minimum of $10), a $3 fee is charged. If your main currency is not the US dollar, you will also need to take the exchange rate into account.
The minimum you can contribute is $3 every 30 days ($36.50 a year for non-leap years). Again, If your main currency is not the US dollar, you will also need to take the exchange rate into account. You may also be charged additional fees by your card company. If you flattr no sites in any one contribution period, then your contribution payment is rolled over into the next period.
As you have probably gathered, I am using Flattr both as a creator and a contributor. If you are already a contributor or are intending to join Flattr, I would really appreciate it if you were to flattr my website (LearningPages.org) so that I can maintain my website, provide more free resources and remove advertising.
As well as providing free online resources for learners, trainers and educators, the site's blog is a learning adventure that shares what I am learning in many different fields. This article being one example.
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