In a rare move by Google this week they have launched a program which aims to kill or remove ads rather than promote them. In a company which generates almost all of their revenue from ads it is no doubt a controversial move internally which they have named ‘Google Contributor’.
Google Contributor gives people the chance to contribute a monthly fee towards a website in exchange for all Google Ads being removed whilst they are on the site. Once the monthly fee is paid for a participating site the user will then see a thank you message or pixel pattern where the ads used to be. Part of this fee goes to the creator of the site with Google taking a cut as well. How much is not currently known but it is likely in line with Adsense where they take a 32% cut.
The program is currently in Beta with only a small number of partners launched such as Mashable, The Onion, Science Daily, Imgur, WikiHow, and Urban Dictionary. Each of these sites are supported by Google advertising and have a big following of regular users. Whether they will pay for ad-free content at a higher rate than they click ads is the big question.
Whilst it is not currently possible for publishers to sign up and test this service it is possible to become a Contributor. To get started simply join the waitlist here. This may be limited to US based individuals at the moment but it is worth signing up anyway if you are interested.
This is not the first interesting experiment I have seen Google launch recently with YouTube announcing in June a new ‘Fan Funding’ model whereby fans can contribute anywhere from $1-$500 to their favourite channels, possibly in return for ads being stripped from the videos. With sites like Ad Blocker getting more and more popular Google is looking to tap into an audience becoming increasingly disillusioned with the volume of ads interrupting them on a daily basis. It is an interesting move and one I will be watching closely.