Google's new project targets ad-free reading on content websites


Aren’t we all really sick of ads spoiling our experience while reading content on the web? Content publishers need money and there’s increased competition adding to the pressure. Native advertising doesn’t fit into every content company’s strategy and not all are convinced about it. Leave it to Google, whose ads have been fuelling money into content websites and keeping many of them alive, to come up with a creative solution.

Google’s Contributor empowers the web user to consume content on various websites without ads in return for a small fee paid to the media house in return for an ad free experience. Google launched this feature with select content websites and will be soon be rolling out new ones.

As a user, when you land on a Google Contributor website, you see a list of the publishers that are participating in the beta version and can choose whether you want to contribute $1, $2 or $3 a month.

The current pilot program is been run with websites that aren’t attracting huge traffic currently so that Google can understand the effectiveness of this campaign. Currently, the websites participating in the beta version include The Onion, Mashable, Science Daily and Urban Dictionary.

“When you visit a participating website, part of your contribution goes to the creators of that site. As a reminder of your support, you’ll see a thank you message - often accompanied by a pixel pattern - where you might normally see an ad,” Google said on the website.

Google will manage the contribution payments part allowing users to pay via different methods. The payments aren’t directly transferred to the content websites; the payments are prompted only when the user visits one of those contributing websites.

The media houses would get their sum through their official existing Google advertising accounts with Google deducting a small cut as commissions. This is probably Google’s next bet as an alternate monetization channel from content in this generation of invisible native ads.

This is definitely a welcome move for users who are tired of ads interfering content spoiling their reading experience.

Google loves experiments even though most of its experiments have failed miserably. But this is one experiment that we are rooting for. The Google contributor initiative is in line with many of its current programmes where it seeks an “everybody wins” approach.

One can argue that this is an attempt by Google to lock publishers onto its platforms but this could help publishers survive and readers enjoy their experience better.

Will this experiment work? Will you contribute? Tell us in the comments below.