GEO

TI Georgia is flatter(e)d. But will it pay off? Introducing a new system to finance online content

04 June, 2010

TI Georgia has integrated <a href="http://flattr.com">"flattr"</a> in its website. Flattr is not simply another social network where one can "like" another page. It is the first micropayment system that might actually work. And we are happy to adopt and promote this idea in the South Caucasus, hoping that many others will follow.<p><p>

Flattr is based in Sweden and was founded by Peter Sunde, one of the minds behind the bit-torrent-platform <a href="http://thepiratebay.org">Piratebay</a>. This short flattr video explains the basic idea behind the tool:<p>

<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9zrMlEEWBgY&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9zrMlEEWBgY&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="300"></embed></object><p>

This is how it works: everybody, no matter if one only surfs the web and reads blogs or if one also creates content, can register with flattr and commits to pay an amount between 2 and 20 Euros per month onto his account. This is done using either <a href="http://paypal.com">PayPal</a>, which unfortunately is still not available in Georgia, or <a href="http://www.moneybookers.com">Moneybookers</a>, which is. <p>
While surfing the net, you can simply click on the flattr button next to an article or website, if you like the content there and want to support the person who created it. At the end of the month, the money on your account is divided by all your flattr clicks of that month, and then transferred to the people who produced this content. <p>

The service is still in a closed beta testing stage but invitations are sent out to people who apply. Over the past weeks, there has been a lot of enthusiasm about flattr in the blogsphere of some European countries and a number of leading German blogs and also the left daily newspaper <a href="http://taz.de">die tageszeitung</a> have integrated flattr.<p>

The concept might finally provide an alternative source of (at least some) income for bloggers, independent journalists, artists, activists and online media outlets, especially in a place like Georgia where there is almost no online advertising market. <p>

However, such a concept can only work once a significant number of web-surfers recognize that information and entertainment that is valuable to them cannot always be free and needs to receive financial support. In Georgia, the country that apparently has the <a href="http://portal.bsa.org/globalpiracy2009/studies/globalpiracystudy2009.pdf... rate of pirated software in the world</a>, this idea might take some time to sink in. <p>

Nonetheless, we love the concept and hope that many of you in the region will too, so that at some point in the not to distant future, there might finally be some financial reward for producing great things and making them available online. <p>

Author: Mathias Huter