Google’s New “Contributor” Feature Lets You Pay Sites In Exchange For No Ads

Users who support sites through Google Contribute will see blocked-out boxes instead of ads when they visit participating sites.

Users who support sites through Google Contributor will see blocked-out boxes instead of ads when they visit participating sites.

Taking a cue from the world of smartphone apps, where users can either get a free version that includes ads or pay a premium to get an ad-free experience, Google has announced a new product — Google Contributions, which will allow users to pay participating sites in exchange for not being bombarded with ads.

The feature — which will launch on a number of popular sites, including Mashable, The Onion, and Urban Dictionary — is pretty simple.

If you are a fan of participating sites and read them frequently but don’t want to see ads, you can sign up to pay a monthly amount between $1-3 through Contributor, and when you visit those sites you’ll see blurred-out boxes with a Thank You message from Google instead of ads.

The contributed money will be doled out to those sites that you visit, so if you visit Mashable but not ScienceDaily, your funds will go to the former instead of the latter (with Google taking its share).

This is really a test to see whether enough people are willing to show their support for the content they read every day and whether the temptation of ad-free browsing is sufficient to convince them to open their wallets.

For sites that run mostly remnant ads or ads sold by the Google network, the contribution of a buck or two per month may equal or pass the ad revenue lost by not showing these ads. Sites that frequently sell committed blocks of ads directly to advertisers would probably require larger contributions to make up for those lost pageviews and click-throughs.

Google has started a waiting list for invites to Contributor for anyone willing to support their favorite sites if it means no ads.

Of course, Consumerist doesn’t run any ads whatsoever, and we don’t charge you a penny for that privilege. We do, however, really love it when readers click on that Donate button at the top of this page and then help support the site with their tax-deductible contribution.

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