A while back, Canadian Financial DIY reported on a new model for voluntary payments for online content called Flattr. The basic idea of Flattr is that users take a monthly fixed amount of money and spread it around in equal shares to the various web sites they choose to “flattr”. A question I have is whether this is really any better than directly soliciting contributions.
I decided to put my money where my mouth is, or is that your money where my mouth is? In any case, I’ve added a button at the top right of the blog page for direct voluntary payments. (Since the time of writing, I've removed this button.) I’ve decided to keep the content part of my blog entries free of paid content, affiliate programs, etc., and just make direct voluntary payments possible. I prefer to maintain a clear boundary between content and advertising on my blog.
It turns out that Paypal makes it easy to set up a payment button like this, but the simplest approach uses a button labeled “Donate”. This sounds too much like a charitable contribution to me. I decided to go with “$upport this blog!” to make it clear that contributions are not charity, but are encouragement to me to continue investigating financial matters and writing about them.
Whether this direct payment method is better for users than Flattr probably depends on the user. Flattr makes it easier to spread a little money around to a lot of web sites. However, direct payments are probably easier for users who only want to make occasional contributions and not be bothered with committing to payments every month.
In any case, once Flattr matures and publishes figures on the distribution of money directed to various content creators, I can compare my numbers to theirs.