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We Interview Linus Olsson, Co-Founder Of Flattr Micropayments Service

Flattr logo

 

Flattr is a social micropayment service that’s taking the Internet by storm, offering users a novel way to donate money to content creators, who then benefit for their hard work.

Users are able to pay a small amount every month and then click Flattr buttons on sites to share the money they paid among those sites, comparable to an Internet tip jar.

Your monthly donation is split evenly depending on how many Flattr buttons you’ve clicked – if you contribute 10 euros a month to your account, and click 20 buttons, then each content owner will get 50 cents.

We’ve just rolled out Flattr support officially here on OMG! Ubuntu! and we now have Flattr buttons present in the share bar of every article. You can also find all our articles over on our Flattr account:flattr.com/profile/OMGUbuntu

To find out more about Flattr, we decided it’d be worthwhile interviewing one of the co-founders: Linus Olsson. Read on!

Linus Olsson in the foreground, and Andrus Purde

How did Flattr come to be? What was your motivation in starting it?

The idea is Peter’s originally and he wanted to solve the problem of easy payments for free stuff. He thought that an easy enough payment system would make the masses pay to support that what they think is great, even if they don’t need to. That goal is still the same we have today. We aim to change how people get money for the stuff they love to do, and as a result disrupt the existing structures.

“We aim to change how people get money for the stuff they love to do.”

Because our readers aren’t familiar with Flattr, could you describe the service in a few sentences?

Think of it as a “Like-button” with money on top. Clicking a Flattr button not only shows that you care by posting something somewhere but through actually giving some money.

Have you got a background in content publishing on the web? Did this help you understand the micro-payments concept that Flattr is built upon?

My background is, like tons of other people, a geek from dawn of time as a passionate user of technology, open services and free content. Micropayments as such is not anything we think of as a special field of payments. We rather think of Flattr as a tapping into the human urge to help and support things they find important. It’s an understanding on how humans act, rather then financial knowledge that made us end up here. That Flattr as a product ticks most of the boxes of a micropayment and hence it has been named as one is really just a result.

“We rather think of Flattr as a tapping into the human urge to help and support things they find important.”

Flattr is currently very popular within Europe, but not widely used elsewhere. How are you planning on spreading Flattr to other parts of the world?

We are quite certain that anywhere people care about stuff Flattr works great, so we will follow our users rather than the opposite.

Have you got any major milestones coming up? Are there any features you’d love to implement but currently cannot due to technological limitations, or political/economic problems?

We have tons of ideas and feature request and almost as many that we are actively working on. Great stuff is around the corners to come, but we rather not say until we know things really works as great as we want them to. We are entering new grounds here and want to keep things at arms length until we know it’s not dangerous to walk.

Thanks to Linus for taking the time to talk to us. What do you think about Flattr? Is it something you think you’ll be able to get behind? Tell us in the comments.