Is Flattr Losing the Race?
I'm now using flattr for more than 7 months. Time to have look at what it's worth.
Most important thing first: flattr doesn't make you rich. I started by putting 10 EUR into the system and am using 2 EUR each month to flattr other users. I currently have about 35 EUR in my account, that's about 5 EUR net gain per month. That's a fraction of what I get from simple advertising on my blog. But that's fine with me – I didn't join to get rich.
Let's have a look at a few charts illustrating my seven months at flattr:
The most interesting thing is that my revenue seems to go up steadily. But that is neither because of an increased number of clicks nor an increased number of things that get flattred. The main reason seems to be that a flattr click is gaining value.
Now there are only two ways a flattr click can gain value:
- People add more money to their monthly flattr budget
- People flattr less things per month
I really doubt the first reason, but can confirm the second one for my self. In the last two months I flattred about two or three things only. Not because I didn't see any good content in these months, but because this content was not in the system. Not being able to flattr things you like is becoming flattr's biggest problem. At least the flattr guys seem to work on a solution here.
However there's another thing that might add to the decline of flattred things: there is still no REST API to submit stuff. This means there is no way to autosubmit things. But this is needed to automatically add static flattr buttons to RSS content – people reading posts in their RSS reader might never see that they could flattr the post.
The API is “in planning” since the dawn of flattr and was announced to be beta tested in July, but is still nowhere to be seen.
And while we speak of RSS: one of my major critiques before, missing social features, has only be half-heartedly answered. You now can opt-out of anonymity and you let it automatically post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts but that's it. Neither an export API nor an RSS feed are available.
It seems to me that flattr is losing the race to be quick enough adding the needed features to attract new and keep existing users before people give up, hopping to the next promising system.
Update I made this into an info graphic with more detail:
PS: Yes, you can flattr this post