Flattr is an egalitarian payment system ideally suited for small online transactions, such as one-off access to a paid news site. Uniquely, it makes no distinction between purchaser and merchant, everyone in the community is equal and anonymous.
For me, the hook is the ability to give money at the tap of a touchscreen, and not necessarily as a payment for a transaction but as a thank you. Read an excellent post? Well give ten cents to the author. There’s no need to leave the site, log into Paypal, approve a transaction, return via a confirmation page and find your way back to the article.
Tipping with Flattr is pretty simple, as easy as Liking or Stumbling. Goodness knows that the web needs more cash incentives for original content creation that don’t rely on Google Adsense. Using Flattr bloggers can be buskers, rather than plagiarists or content farmers.
Moving out of Beta, Flattr has improved its donations feature and added QR Code generation to the Thing buttons that power payment clicks (so that real buskers can join in too). Word is that an API is on the way.
Only one sticking point: At the moment, Flattr’s mechanism for getting money into an account relies on merchant services provided by Moneybookers and Paypal. To get money out customers can only transfer funds to Paypal. I hope that the service continues to grow at a rapid rate allowing the company to operate its own merchant accounts. Flattr needs monumental scale to succeed and there’s risk in using competitors as vendors.