In case anyone hasn't seen this before: http://flattr.com/
What is Flattr?
Flattr is a social micro payments system which is set up to allow people who wish to support content on the internet that they enjoy, through the form of Flattrs. These are essentially similar to Facebook like buttons, with the exception that each "like" actually donates a certain percentage of money to the owner of the Flattr button from a pool which a user puts money into each month, or whenever they choose.
This pool, decided by the user, is split each month among all the users and content they Flattred, so if one user Flattrs 10 items in a month, with a 2$ monthly pool amount, each Flattered item receives 0.20$. Now granted, Flattr technically works in Euros, however they have means set up for most if not any other country to still use the system.
Why Do I Think Hubpages Should Embrace Flattr?
A number of reasons:
1. Because it provides an even better metric for quality of content. Facebook likes are nice and can bring in some extra traffic, but so are Flattrs in a very similar way, yet the difference comes in the form that only those who actually feel an author deserves monetary support will receive them, thus the amount someone actually likes a page can be seen as being far higher with a Flattr than a FB Like.
2. Because it supports good authors. This kind of support is always an excellent thing to have as hard work doesn't always translate into high views. The worth of an article isn't solely in its SEO ranking but the appreciation it garners from it's readers. While Flattr isn't anywhere near an end-all to make up for the difference of high vs low rankings, it certainly helps balance things out, but if an article gets both high views and substantial appreciation through Flattrs, more power to the writer.
3. Ads are great, but not everyone likes them. I'm sure those who have been writing on the internet for longer than I may have a better impression of this, but it is undeniable what the introduction of plugins like Ad Blocker have done to the internet landscape. It's become harder to draw in a living through advertisement on web pages since more and more people are using these plugins to prevent ads from ever loading. While the recent changes to the most popular plugin of Ad Blocker, introducing a "Whitelist" that allows certain non-obtrusive ads through is great news, there will always be people who migrate to a new plugin which does not have this, or still force the original to block everything through setting changes. Since Flattr buttons are not Ads, they are unlikely to ever be blocked, thus always allowing some sort of revenue stream to be available to an author. Beyond that, many people who dislike ads with such a vengeance, still wish to support great content through other means, Flattr being one of those means.
4. Its the future. Flattr may be still unknown to many, but its also quite apparent that platforms such as this will soon become a widely accepted method to be used on many popular websites. Hubpages can be part of the leading edge to embrace this platform while it is still relatively fresh and gaining support, not to mention, is likely to get Hubpages good press and interest in doing so. It is also worth mentioning that the more support Flattr receives through implementation in various sites, the more viable of an income option it will become.
5. Not only will it draw in new, high quality writers, but it will keep the great writers who are already here coming back more often. Everyone loves to be appreciated, and receiving a donation out of such appreciation is one of the best compliments someone can receive. Those authors who inspire this desire from their readers will feel even better about their content on Hubpages, likely inspiring them to write more here, tell more friends about the site, and reduce the desire to move their content to another website in the future.
6. The cost of supporting such a method to Hubpages is probably minimal, being pretty much just the time spent implementing Flattr buttons, yet the benefits (as mentioned above) while mostly indirect, will likely be far greater. From what I know, Flattr has a pretty decent API that can be used for easy integration into other sites if their Wordpress plugin has anything to show for it. It is also worth mentioning that since Flattr is still actively seeking to grow and has exposure at one of its top priorities, it is likely that Flattr staff will be more than likely to wish to help assist Hubpages in implementing this feature as there is little doubt in my mind they will pass on the massive exposure their buttons use on Hubpages will bring them in return.
7. It's another alternative for writers to make money here on Hubpages. Options are never a bad thing and it would certainly be at least a small comfort for those who are unable to use Amazon, eBay or Adsense for one reason or another.
So, thats my pitch. Thoughts, counter points/arguments or additional benefits to mention?
I and others have conclusively proven that begging on the internet does not work.
I agree that we are providing a service, as opposed to asking to get something for nothing.
However, perception is everything. As far as most people are concerned, begging buttons on articles is the same as a pan-handler washing your car window and then wanting to be paid for it.
Tisn't fair, tisn't right, but that's the way it is.
Besides, according to the census, "everyone" else is broke, too, anyway.
I present you two scenarios.
1. A person walks up to you from the bus stop as you travel down the sidewalk, stops you and asks for a couple dollars or some spare change, without ever having spoken to you previously.
2. An musician plays his guitar on a street corner and has his guitar case open where people occasionally stop and leave him tips.
Tell me which one is begging, and which one is allowing those to appreciate their work in brightening another's day.
I like that. We are doing the musician thing. And having lived in San Francisco, I happen to know that the musician thing actually works! Why it does not work on the internet, I do not know.
It does. I didn't just stumble upon this site and spend a couple hours typing out a carefully thought proposal for nothing.
Flattr has actually grown quite a bit since its inception, and is starting to see some significant use. It is still fresh, but websites such as Torrentfreak receive quite a bit of support through Flattr. Given the misconception that most pirates are stingy as all hell, I think that really speaks mountains as to just how effective it truly is, if a website frequented by most of that very same group sees such results.
Its definitely not enough to replace Ads entirely, but given the concept, basically a variation of the Facebook like button, I feel it is a small change for a worthwhile gain.
Do you get referrals through the link you provided on your post?
Maybe we could entice HP to allow us to put PayPal donate buttons on our articles....
If you wanted to propose that I would certainly support it. Personally I chose to pick flattr due to the method behind it, plus the lack of fees in receiving said payments the way paypal handles them. Flattr seems to be far better suited for people donating tiny chunks of change, which I find more than fair and welcome, whereas paypal is more for those wishing to donate 2$ or more at a time, since anything under 70 cents is likely to get swallowed up by said fees.
It's possible to use HTML on squidoo profile or lenses so if not HP then you can use it on squidoo. As for HP, there is only one option i.e. using link to flattr which I doubt will be of any use for now.
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