Eyeo, the Germany-based company behind perennially popular adblocking service Adblock Plus, has today announced that it has acquired Flattr, a micropayment and microdonation service headquartered in Sweden.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Cofounded in 2010 by Peter Sunde, the same guy who helped build the Pirate Bay, Flattr is an online system that allows users and fans of specific content providers to make regular payments or one-off donations.
Flattr had only raised around $2.5 million in funding to date, and the fact that Eyeo has snapped it up doesn’t come as a great surprise. Indeed, the duo partnered last summer to launch Flattr Plus, which allows users to contribute cash in exchange for content they consume online. Rather than manually hitting a button to make a payment, which is how Flattr usually works, Flattr Plus lets users set a monthly budget for all the content they consume, and it automatically spreads the budget across various pieces of content.
“Over the past 10 months, we collaborated closely and, in fact, became one team with a joint vision,” explained Sunde. “So it was just natural to remove the remaining structural barriers and make it official. We share almost identical values of making the internet safe and fair for everyone.”
For Adblock Plus, which has been helping internet users dodge pesky advertisements for years, notching up more than a hundred million users en route, the acquisition makes sense. Eyeo has been facing mounting pressure from the media industry for its role in blocking revenue streams for online publishers, though despite numerous court battles in Germany, it has yet to be ruled illegal.
With Flattr on board, Eyeo wants to be seen to be making it easier for internet users to pay for content, without ads or paywalls, all through a simple browser extension. This means that users won’t need to repeatedly enter payment details or login credentials.
As a result of this acquisition, Flattr’s core team will continue from its base in Malmö, Sweden, while Sunde will serve as advisor. His cofounder, Linus Olsson, will continue in his current role as head of operations and implementation.
“Over the past several months, it became very clear that we needed to go beyond a partnership and truly bring Flattr into the Eyeo family,” added Eyeo founder Till Faida. “This allows us to go that extra mile and finalize our vision of enabling hundreds of millions of users to choose how they want to pay for the content they consume. This is a game-changer.”
The new “zero click” version of Flattr is available in beta now. An Eyeo spokesperson confirmed to VentureBeat that the “Flattr Plus” name is being ditched, while those currently using Flattr will be transitioned to the new product once it graduates beta.