Google recently launched a program, Contributor, that offers an ad-free monetization model to publishers. The idea is that a user pays Google up to $3 a month and in return Google will not show that user any display ads on a website that’s a participant in the program. The monthly payment will then be distributed across the participating sites - most likely based on how many times you’ve visited that site.

I like the idea - not because most ads are terrible but because it shows that both publishers and Google are willing to experiment with another approach. Ads, as much as we dislike them, are the primary way content producers make money since web users expect free content everywhere.

The biggest audience for Contributor will be those who currently run adblock but feel guilty about it. Most people want the content free on principle and refuse to pay but the people that are using adblock but do want to support the publisher may be willing to pay the $3 a month to feel noble - in fact they might keep on running adblock and treat this as a way to reward the sites they visit.


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