Why Flattr needs to get out of Public Beta soon

At the outset let me say that I like Flattr, both its idea and its implementation. That is why I signed up and that is why I put their buttons on my creations.

Flattr works because it is so simple. Compared to Paypal donations or Pledgie, you need to make far fewer money transactions. And because the payout has a cap (or budget) set by you, the user can safely Flattr as many items as he likes, without worrying about over expenditure.

But, Flattr is currently in closed beta, which completely disrupts the above model of simplicity. The user has to go through multiple processes before he can login and by that time he might have forgotten why he signed up to begin with!

One of the purposes of a closed beta is its use as a marketing tool; a closed beta creates interest and gets more users on board. But this is not relevant to Flattr because it gets a lot of back-links through the Flattr buttons, which help publicise it.

To sum up, a closed beta for Flattr is bad because:

  • It creates a bad user-experience for a new user who has clicked on a button because of the bewildering sign up process.
  • It is bad for the site that links to Flattr, because a lot of users will associate the bad user experience with the original site that linked to Flattr.
  • Finally, it is bad for Flattr itself. So, a user has landed on its page. It has a potential paying customer viewing its web page right now! And he is eager to sign up. But there is no way to sign up. What could be worse for a web-site?

So Flattr, please do all of us a favour and quickly open up your excellent web app.

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