Flipnote Hatena was a service that ran from 2008 to 2013. It allowed users to share their own Flipnotes with other animators.
Shortly before the release of Moving Notepad in Japan, Nintendo announced that they were partnering with Japanese web services provider Hatena to provide the means to share works created with the software. Speaking for Nintendo, Yoshiaki Koizumi stated they chose to work with Hatena because "it takes a special skill set to maintain the User Generated Contents (UGC) site, and we don't have that skill. We rely on Hatena on that part." Flipnote Hatena is the name of both the portion of the Flipnote Studio application that connects to the Flipnote Hatena website as well as the website itself (the Japanese version of the program differentiates between the two, but not the English version). Through the DSi portion of the application users were able to download Flipnotes to their DSi, add stars to Flipnotes uploaded by others, and upload their own. Users could also 'spin off' another user's Flipnote, by downloading it and editing it. Flipnote Hatena was shut down on May 31, 2013.
As for the website itself, Flipnote Hatena offered the ability for users to rate and comment on the works of others, as well as to embed their animations into other webpages. Users could also flag submissions as inappropriate; Flipnotes thus flagged will not be viewable via the DSi's Flipnote Hatena and may be removed from the website altogether.
When uploaded, Flipnote animations were placed into specific categories by their creators. These categories, known as "channels," included general classifications such as "Musical" and "Comedy," as well as more specific categories suggested by popular Flipnote users and accepted by Hatena. For example, one category entitled "Stick Figures" was suggested by the creator of a popular comedy Flipnote series known as TeenChat. The series' animated cast, which consisted of floating faces and stick figures, established a basis in character design for comedy Flipnotes. Another category that a user suggested to Hatena was a "Spoof" category, which included Flipnotes imitating songs, movies and other media. Users were able to place categories they visited or contributed to most often into their own "Most Visited" folder. The last Flipnote category to be added before the closing of Hatena in May 2013 was "Birds," a small category mainly consisting of a popular "Flipnote series" known as Birdie BAI.
Flipnote Hatena also had its own economy of "stars." Stars were used to rate Flipnotes (similarly to YouTube's "like" function), and users could add as many stars as they desired to any Flipnote. In addition to the regular Stars, users could purchase or earn Color Stars. In increasing rarity, these colors were green, red, blue, and purple. Users could earn Green Stars by reporting inappropriate Flipnotes, using other Hatena services, posting Flipnotes frequently (based on the number of days they posted Flipnotes), or managing a popular Channel. Red Stars were given to creators whose Flipnotes were featured in the Weekly News. In addition, users could purchase "boxes" containing a certain number of color stars. The contents of these boxes were randomized, so users wouldn't know how many of each color they would receive, but the larger the box purchased, the more likely the user was to receive Color Stars.
The Star system on Flipnote Hatena had a mixed reception from users. The ability to add infinite stars was a major drawback, as a large part of the Flipnote Hatena community became focused on receiving as many stars as possible. This lead to a practice referred to among the community as "star begging." These Flipnotes with no entertainment value, often direct copy of another, would quickly rise to the top of the Most Popular section.
End of the service
Prior to the release of Moving Notepad/Flipnote Studio 3D, the closure of the Flipnote Hatena communities was announced, and have been inaccessible as of May 31, 2013. Fans vocally protested the shutdown, and contacted Nintendo, Hatena, and even news media in an attempt to prevent the end of the services. Several fans even created websites and servers to continue sharing flipnotes after the shut down.
Nintendo has announced that the Flipnotes on Flipnote Hatena will be transferred to the new online service for Moving Notepad/Flipnote Studio 3D. The DSi Flipnotes will be accessible from the Nintendo DSi Gallery, a free-to-access section of the upcoming Flipnote Gallery: World. The main purpose of the DSi Gallery will be for users to transfer their Flipnotes from Flipnote Studio to Flipnote Studio 3D where they can be edited like any other Flipnote.
Aside from the Flipnote Hatena website, Flipnotes may be shared between two users via the DSi's Wireless Communication feature. When a Flipnote has been shared in this manner, the users may choose to save their contact information as friends on the Nintendo DSi and on the Flipnote Hatena website. Flipnotes may also be shared via saving to an SD card (to be inserted into another DSi). When a person receives a Flipnote from a creator the first time, they become friends with each other.