By Parmy Olson | 5/02/2012 @ 7:31AM
The notion that online content is a “free lunch” is slowly being replaced with, “free lunch, but leave a tip at the end, please.”
Flattr, the microdonations service that facilitates donations between web users and content creators like artists, musicians and writers like yours truly, has just struck its first major deal with a global content provider. The Dailymotion, the web’s biggest video portal after YouTube, is allowing its users to import a Flattr button onto their channels and each individual video. The deal means that anyone who uploads a video to the site can start getting donations, or tips, directly from their viewers, no advertisers needed.
Though micro- or social-payments are relatively new concepts which have yet to be embraced by the mainstream, some bloggers who have used Flattr have already been making decent money from the service, which was founded in 2010 by Swedes Linus Olsson and Peter Sunde. (Sunde is a co-founder of BitTorrent site, the Pirate Bay. See “A Pirate Comes Clean.”)
The service relies on regular web users opening an account with Flattr and depositing a certain amount each month – say 10 euros. That money is divided at the end of the month between however many blog posts, videos or images that user has “Flattr’d” by clicking a nearby Flattr button. It’s like clicking a Facebook “Like,” but offering money too. Of course, in order to be truly effective, there needs to be a lot of people opening Flattr accounts, and lots of content online for them to Flattr.
That’s why The Dailymotion deal could be a game changer, not only for Flattr as a service but the act of social-funding. Flattr’s creators need to see a shift from people seeing their service as a charitable act (like putting money in a charity fundraiser’s bucket) to a regular obligation, (like tipping a waiter after a meal). Eventually, they hope to create an entirely new social construct online.
Till now, Flattr has found some popularity among German bloggers and is also used across the websites of WikiLeaks, Soundcloud and Minecraft. To date, Flattr claims to have “hundreds of thousands of registered users” who have made 1 million micropayments. Dailymotion, the 29th most visited website according to Comscore, is it biggest partnership so far.
With the deal only just having been announced today, there’s still a dearth of Flattr buttons on the Dailymotion site. Also, the Flattr widgets are only available for video creators who are part of the Motionmaker’s program, the site’s “premium content hub” for uploading high definition content. According to a Dailymotion spokesman, that represents 50,000 people, or 5-10% of Dailymotion’s overall traffic. He adds that 2 million Motionmaker videos are watched on Dailymotion every day.
Will Dailymotion expand the service to other, regular users of the site? “At the moment, the Flattr service is solely dedicated to Motionmakers,” says Dailymotion spokesman Joe Meaney. “It is a new and important way for Motionmakers to monetize their content as they typically do not want preroll advertising on their videos.” He adds: “As soon as any further roll out of the service is decided we will let you know.”