Don’t want to see ads on websites? Pay Google

Google is letting web users opt out of ads on selected websites by paying the search giant as little as $1 per month.

Don't want to see ads on websites? Pay Google

The experimental new service, called Contributor, will see ads replaced with placeholders thanking the user for donating to the site. The idea is to allow visitors to contribute to the running costs of the site, without having to put up with invasive or targeted adverts, which many web users choose to block in the first place.

Participating site owners are compensated, depending on the amount of times “contributors” visit their website, with payments made through Google’s AdSense system, in the same way as they would be compensated for hosting the Google-sold adverts. It’s not clear whether participating websites will earn as much through Contributor as they would from hosting ads. 

There are a few catches with the Google system. Firstly, the ads will only be blocked on sites that run purely Google adverts. Although Google runs by far the biggest web advertising program, many leading sites sell their own advertising space, perhaps only falling back on Google AdSense to fill unsold inventory. 


Right now, the service is only being trialled with a few US websites – including Mashable, The Onion and Science Daily – so users are still likely to see adverts on the vast majority of websites they visit.

Many users may also be reluctant to pay to block adverts when they can already do so for free, on every website they visit, using browser plugins such as AdBlock Plus. Those plugins return no revenue to the website, so Google is perhaps relying on consumers recognising that website content has to be paid for somehow.

Publishers are increasingly turning to paywalls to fund their websites – Google Contributor at least gives web users a way of rewarding websites without having to set up a separate subscription on each site.

Google Contributors can choose to pay between $1 and $3 per month to use the service. Those interested in the scheme are being asked to join an orderly queue on the Google Contributor website.



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