AdBlock Plus parent Eyeo has relaunched Flattr six months after acquiring the company.
Flattr was previously known for enabling users to make one-time payments to reward creators, but its new service will be based on subscriptions and more closely resemble the late and unlamented Google Contributor.
From Flattr’s blog post:
The idea of Flattr from the start was to reward content you consumed and loved. Preferably without any user interaction. Now that has become a reality. You install the extension from your contributor dashboard: just sign in and it will prompt you to install it. The extension will flattr both the content and sites you engage with and visits based on your engagement, automatically.
Based on what I’ve read so far I won’t be signing up as a contributor.
As Flattr explained back in June, any participating site you visit will get your financial support:
As you now know, we want a flattr to happen when you consume something that receives enough attention and engagement. This is done through the extension, which registers when you engage with content (meaning you actively give it attention). Let’s use a news article as an example. The algorithm measures the time you spend on the page as a basic metric. But just time spent on a page is not enough to know if you are actually paying attention to the content, or if you got up and went to the coffee machine. So the extension uses other information to understand this e.g. if the window is active and in front, if you have scrolled the page recently and if the mouse pointer has moved or if you moved the page with the keyboard. This to understand when to register attention.
Once enough attention has been gathered, the extension flattrs the URL.
So if you sign up for Flattr as a contributor, and you visit a participating website with an opposing political viewpoint, that site will get your financial contribution even though you would never willingly give them money.
Okay, Flattr does say in its FAQ that you can choose to not support a given site, but they still work from the assumption that you will support every site you visit.
While I can appreciate that Eyeo wants to replace the revenue that websites lose to Adblock Plus, I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t work for me any more than Google Contributor.
I want to affirmatively choose who I support, and that’s why I will continue to support creators on Patreon.
How about you?