HPC Market Watch

By: Gigaom
Can ‘Pay a Blogger Day’ help Flattr gain velocity?
Swedish micropayments startup Flattr is hoping it can encourage web users to hand over cash to the bloggers they love -- and gain a bit of traction for its own service in the process.

Swedish micropayment startup Flattr announced a pretty neat idea today: it’s designating next Tuesday — that’s November 29 — “Pay a Blogger Day”.

The concept is fairly straightforward: if there’s a blogger you like to read, why not take a moment to reward for their efforts?

Blogs are something that we read almost daily but how often do we step back and think about the time and effort that goes into writing an enjoyable, informative and entertaining post? Day after day, week after week, and keep the enthusiasm that writing brings the author?

Pay a Blogger Day is our effort to put the bloggers in the spotlight to recognize the value they bring to the internet. Not to mention our own daily web “consumption”. Most of the Flattr team members are (or have been) bloggers ourselves so we know what’s involved and on 29th of November we will give a round of applause to our favorite bloggers and get our wallets out to buy them a coffee / beer / that new cool iPhone app :)

I can certainly think of a few bloggers who I’ll be dropping some cash toward.

Of course, it’s not just altruistic for Flattr. The scheme, if it takes off, will be useful marketing for the company, since the site hopes that all this largesse will end up with increased traffic. After all, its service is largely aimed at helping creative people get paid by patrons online.

It’s certainly an interesting move from Flattr, which has been looking around for a really strong way to entice users in.

I’ll admit I am fond of the idea behind the service — who wouldn’t like the idea of helping people out for being awesome? — but it’s definitely had its trials so far. To start with, it’s treading tough ground in the first place, since “tip jar”-style payments have really struggled in the past.

But it’s also been slower than the team would no doubt like: in the year or so since when it opened up in beta, the site’s developed numerous extras — including a neat approach with Twitter integration — but it’s failed to really catch light.

That’s a shame, because really, it’s the opposite end of the funnel from another very popular service, Kickstarter. Whereas the U.S.-based site focuses on helping creative people fund projects before they happen, Flattr wants to get people rewarded for things they’ve already done. Theoretically there is no reason these two things can’t co-exist — but it’s clear that Flattr needs to move up to the next level if it’s going to break through like Kickstarter has.

That said, it’s been pretty successful in some areas: for some reason, it’s picked up a head of steam in Germany, for example. But it needs more momentum, greater velocity.

Let’s see whether Pay a Blogger Day can make a dent.

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