Do You Like It? Flattr It

Linus Olsson and Peter Sunde are the co-founders of Flattr, the most innovative way to support what you like just by a click

The world of the network by sharing news, events, stimulates users to express views and opinions: through Flattr the classic "I like it" does not mean simply appreciation for something but rather a real support to a website that can be translated into an economical donation towards the creators of it.

The same name, which is a kind of wordplay, embodies the essence of its purpose: Flatter and Flat-rate. It is a form of microdonation within a social micropayment system. The action of flattring is a social action, that can be posted on Facebook timelines of everyone, shared on Twitter and also put into context of all others that have flattred the same thing and creator. Normally payments are hidden, anonymous and private. Flattr is meant to be the opposite: public and social.

How did this idea of sharing money and not only content occur?

Linus Olsson and PeterSunde, two Swedish childhood friends, worked for a long time in close contact with the IT world. In 2007, as Olsson states, his friend Peter - frustrated with (media) companies unwillingness to see what the internet could offer instead of seeing as a threat - began to develop the idea of Flattr, whose actual first release took place only in 2010. The company's motto was summed up in "big change through small donations": the change was in a tool that finally developed a desire that probably lived in the mind of the users but that needed to be conveyed and materialized, and that is to have the possibility of a personal support establishing individually the terms of the donation rather than comply with what is established by other companies.

"Flattr is all about liking it like you mean it and that Is really something people are looking for. It is extremely hard to help creators in a substantial way in the net today. It's an itch for most people."

Thus were laid the foundations of an innovative economic process that had to deal with the rules of the network. In fact, if Flattr turned out to be the best start up 2010 - TechCrunch Europe, the merit is also to have been able to make the most of an innovative idea adapting it to the entrepreneurial spirit of the online world, as Olsson confirms:

"In the real world you say 'location, location and location' because if you are not in the right place nothing else matters. On the net it is 'product, product and product' make yourself something you want to use and you can bet others want it too"

From the practical point of view using Flattr is very easy and any application or service can add it: users have to pay a small fee each month, min. 2 euro, then click Flattr buttons on sites to share the money they paid among those sites, comparable to an Like button with money on top.

The best thing is that people should individually determine the amount they want to use for this purpose and, at the end of the month, it will be divided between all the things that people flattered. Clicking one more button does not add to the fee but simply divides the fee between more people.

"If you use Flattr on Grooveshark you can automatically flattr artists just by listening to their music: that usage is the way forward for us"

In a context dominated mostly by PayPal to send money and donations of predetermined entity aimed to important causes, Flattr has revolutionized the concept of appreciation for its own sake and offered to what exists in the network - and the mass or elite like - an alternative mean to survive and improve the quality of services thanks to its supporters at the forefront, and the next challenges – as Olsson confirms – will demonstrate this further:

"The dream scenario has always been to make it possible to consume content (of any kind) and just by doing so also support its creation. That is in reality not technically possible and the Flattr button was the first iteration of this. We are now improving the product to come closer to this and we also already have integrations that do this."

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