As far back as 2015, Google’s public voice of authority – Matt Cutts – quietly put out a reminder to the community that Google offered a service called Contributor.
Now, with Google taking a share of all ad revenue, ad blocking is a major issue for their revenue flow. So it is with a measure of cynicism with which we should take their pushing of a paid adblock service (which is essentially what this is).
What is slightly different however, and makes this worth considering, is that you are actively contributing to the income of the sites you use and appreciate. This, should Contributor become much bigger than it currently is, should see an improvement in how sites interact with users, with a focus more on user experience, retention and value rather than the best area of the page to place an advert. It still hasn’t taken off the way Google perhaps intended, but in a world becoming more and more tired of adverts, will we see a renewed interest in this crowdfunded adfree world? Maybe, though the rebuilt offering is still in Beta and with a drastically reduced list of participating sites. Still, here’s what you should know…
What is Google’s Contributor?
When you sign up to Contributor, you load your pass with £5 and, each time you visit an ad-free page, on a partner website, a fee is deducted. This fee goes to pay the creators, managers or owners of the website – and, inevitably, a small part is kept by Google themselves.
Worth noting is that the price per page is set by the owners, and they can change it at any time. This is mitigated by their obligation to inform users when they do this – and you can change your list of sites on your pass at any time.
What are the benefits?
On his blog last year, Cutts wrote that with an increase in ad blocking, which in turn of course effects site owners and subsequently Google, he wanted to remind us all about Contributor. He said:
“You contribute a certain amount of money each month. That subscription means that you see fewer ads on the web, and you support the sites that you visit with your money. You get to decide how much to contribute. The more you contribute, the fewer ads you see.”
But perhaps the coolest ‘addition’ to the service is that, where an advert would be, you can choose what to display. Love nature? Show stunning images from Africa’s landscape. Need motivation? Show your To Do list.
Google Contributor is not the success it possibly deserves, but Cutts is right. Wider use of adblock software is seeing sites look for new ways to create revenue. Maybe this deserves another look.