Flattr is a new micropayment system that is still in early beta stage. I have no idea if it will survive -- i think that will be determined by many factors that have nothing to do with the quality of the idea or implementation, and more to do with marketing and business.
But this is the first implementation of an idea i wrote about a couple of years ago on DC as an idea for paying for unlimited music downloads (and i'm sure others have as well).
The idea is that users pay some flat fee into their central account, and then whenever they want to support a site or some content producer on the web, they simply click a button on that web page (or download a song, etc.).
Then at the end of the month, your flat monthly fee is divided up among all of the places you chose to support that month.
So if you pay $10 a month into your account, and clicked to support 10 people that month, each would get $1. If you only supported 2 people, they would each get $5.
To me this is EXACTLY the right model for a donation-based voluntary support system. It lets people decide how much they can afford to give, and makes it super easy (even fun) for them to divide up their gifts.
I really hope something like this takes off -- if not Flattr then someone else. It breaks my heart that the real companies that could make this work because of their reach in the market (like Google) wouldn't go near it with a 10 foot pole since it would have such a negative impact on their business model.. And i worry that the ad companies like google are going to be actively trying to prevent something like this from taking hold.
Anyway, go Flattr! EDIT April 2nd, 2010:
As more details emerge of the Flattr.com plan, there are some things i'm not thrilled with. According to their FAQ: when you set a monthly amount, it will be taken from your account even if you don't click to flattr anyone in a given month and "given to charity"; this strikes me as wrong -- it should stay in your account. And secondly, flattr plans to take 10% of all money you put into it -- i think that's too high.