The story about the new Flattr – Making your content flattrable

Let’s go into how ownership recognition works on the new Flattr. When a URL is flattred we need to be able to look up who owns it to transfer money from a consumer to the respective content creator. This post will explain how that works and why we do it this way. Our goal is that every creator knows how to link content with Flattr.

There are basically two types of places where content is published. The first is on a publisher’s/creator’s own webpage, like the publisher’s news site or something like a self hosted wordpress blog. Secondly a site for “content distribution”, like Youtube, Medium or Soundcloud, or a social network e.g. Twitter. When someone flattrs a page, the URL of the page is sent to us and a series of ownership checks are initiated on our servers. At this point there are two primary* ways we carry out ownership recognition, one for each of the site types. Let’s start with the easiest:

Content on platforms: Link your accounts

If you have your content on a service, e.g. a blog on Medium, videos on YouTube, code on Github etc. then starting to earn flattrs is as easy as clicking a button. You can simply link your accounts in your Flattr profile. By linking the accounts we know what content is yours and it will show up in your public Flattr profile. If we receive e.g. a YouTube URL we can look up who owns the video via YouTube’s API. Then we can match that with any linked YouTube account our Flattr users have. This goes for all of the third-party connections we currently provide.

If you can’t find the profile settings you most likely need to become a creator via the large link found in the top menu first. Once done, you will receive money when someone visits and flattrs any of your content on those platforms.

Self hosted content: Use the Flattr meta tag

This is the solution for anyone that runs their own website or anyone that has control over their page code. This could be a small private blog hosted by the creator themselves or a big international publisher. Getting Flattr to recognize that you are the owner is as simple as adding the Flattr meta tag to the <head> of the page code.

You can find your personalized meta tag and instructions on the “Manage domains” page in the profile settings.

The Flattr meta tag is based on the meta tags that are now commonly used to identify the page owners’ social accounts e.g. Twitter. It works in same way and it defines who you are on Flattr. The fact that it is actually written in the code of the page, a place only the owner of the page can edit, is the verification that we need to trust the information is what the page owner wants it to be. When our servers receive a URL that you flattr we check if we can find the Flattr meta tag in the source of that page to  know who should receive the money equivalent to the flattr made.

We also provide a tool to link domains that allows you verify that the meta tag works and adds the page to your public profile. You can always just add your meta tag to any page you want without linking the domain via this page. We always look for the Flattr meta tag on all flattred pages regardless of them being added to the profile or not. This  also means you need to have the meta tag on all pages (not just the root page) and that allows different pages (on the same domain) to have use different owners (meta tags). E.g. for different editors of a blog.

We hope this helps you understand how the content ownership recognition is done on Flattr now. As always, any questions, just throw us a comment!


* There are others legacy ways, like the flattr button. But they are not the preferred ways (and not guaranteed to work) so we do not write about them here. You should switch to the above described ways.

10 thoughts on “The story about the new Flattr – Making your content flattrable

  1. “You can simply link your accounts in your Flattr profile.”
    Can I link somebody else’s YouTube account in my Flattr profile? 😉

  2. How about a general progress update? How is the new Flattr coming along? The closed beta extension haven’t been updated in over two months. Website still have the same bugs and look the same as it did three months ago. —you’ve all been very quiet. When do you expect to launch?

  3. Regarding the meta tag, will any webpage with an Flattr meta tag embedded be automatically approved to receive Flattrs by the extension? Or does the domain still have to be whitelisted as well?

  4. There is a new version of the extension coming like, right now or almost at least. All is going to plan and we will communicate when things happen soon!

  5. Any page with meta tag will be approved (as long as the site does not violate our terms of course) the whitelist is only a question of the site being turned on for automatic flattrs as default for all users.

  6. Linus, so any page with meta tag will be automatically Flattr’able? Or at least, will any website that is linked to a Flattr profile be automatically Flattr’able?

  7. Adding the meta tag is enough. There is no need to link the page. That is to add to your profile and to make sure the meta tag was correctly added.

  8. Linus, I just tested this and the extension still says that “Flattrs are disabled for this site” even for pages that have the meta tag.

  9. That’s because the site is not on the default enabled site list. There will be a blogpost about how this works soon. (We have also deployed onboarding notifications in the extension that explains this.)

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