Last year, we covered Flattr, AdBlock Plus's endeavor to help you pay the sites you visit most often. Now, the company is relaunching the tool and billing it as what the team had imagined when they first conceived of the project. Flattr 2.0 is a browser extension that works with an algorithm and a subscription to automatically figure out how much to pay the websites you love. Previously, the service was in a private beta, but now it's available to the public.
The previous incarnation of Flattr, the equivalent of an Internet tip jar, worked only when users hit a "Flattr" button. Now, it's all automated. The browser extension works with Flattr's algorithm (which is privacy focused) to figure out how often you visit websites. Users previously allocate a set budget that was divided between the websites they "Flattred." Now, users can use their credit cards for automatic monthly payments. Additionally, Flattr is switching from Euro denominations to USD.
For content creators, things have also changed. Creators will be levied a processing fee of 7.5 percent for all payments, along with an initial payment processing fee of 9 percent. To start, websites and creators must sign up with Flattr and link up sites and social media. Flattr also (unsurprisingly) encourages creators to spread the word about Flattr, so more of their readers will use it. If a creator has not signed up for Flattr, the service will hold their payments in reserve for them until they do.
The entire idea of a service to pay creators from the same company that is responsible for ad blocking software is certainly interesting. The idea is sound; after all, we should pay for access to Internet content, and if people choose to block ads (a traditional source of revenue), then there should be some sort of alternative option. But it's hard to say whether the company behind AdBlock Plus will actually entice creators to sign up for the platform after the mistrust it has fostered over the years. As it currently has Wordpress, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and more on board, it's worth keeping an eye on Flattr to see what happens in the future.
- This article originally appeared on Engadget.