Back in January, Google abruptly shut down Contributor, the U.S.-only service that would allow you to pay to remove ads on websites. And now, contrary to my assumptions, it has returned.
Google will enable publishers to ask readers who use ad-blockers for micropayments, as part of a push to improve the quality of advertisements and combat the rise of ad blockers.
Comicbook.com trialled the experience and found it convinced people to “white list” a site so that blockers do not remove its ads. The feature will be available in five countries including the US and the UK now, and more countries later in the year. As each publisher will set their own price, it is not yet clear how much it could cost consumers.
This updated version of Contributor was introduced on a chickenshit minimalist webpage that features an uncompressed 2.2 MB PNG stock photo of a man highlighting the word “Working” on a document, an uncompressed 1 MB PNG stock photo of a plant beside a laptop keyboard, and not a single mention of whether hiding ads will also prevent Google from collecting tracking data.
Currently, just twelve sites have signed up to participate in Contributor, and it looks like each has to be added to the Contributor “pass” individually. In effect, it’s a Google-run site subscription service on a per-page basis. Call me pessimistic, but I don’t see this becoming very successful, and I bet it will be unceremoniously canned within the next two years or so.