Advertising sucks in general, but we recognize it as a necessary evil in a lot of situations –not the least of which being a means to raise the funds required to keep the Internet going (or at least the content contained ‘within it’). Now, what if you could visit your favourite sites, and instead of seeing an advertisement block on the screen and being encouraged to click on it… you could just donate a little money to the site and not go through that dance? Google is betting you might just take them up on that offer, creating a new service that does that exact thing: Google Contributor.
Contributor is being labeled as ‘alternative monetization’, allowing us to designate a monthly fee we are willing to sacrifice in the name of Internet content with the promise of not having to see Google ads (though you will still see a pixelated box in the space where the ad would have been displayed).
Contributor is currently in beta, with participants getting involved by invitation only. During this phase, there are 10 publishing partners (like Mashable, Imgur, and WikiHow) with an opt-in dollar amount of $1, $2, or $3.
I’m not sure I see Contributor as a viable alternative to advertising… at least not in it’s current form. I would wager that most seasoned web surfers are already quite familiar with tuning out advertisements. Now, if I could see an ad-free version of the site (where the entire screen real estate was given to the content I’m actually interested in seeing), I’d be much more likely to toss in a few dollars.