Anyone remember Google Contributor? If not, I’ll try to catch you up because a new version is incoming.
Contributor was a service that allowed you to pay a flat monthly fee (up to $15) to Google to get rid of some ads on some (or all) of the sites you visited across the web. The thought was that internet ads are terrible and spammy and everywhere these days as websites (like this one) try to continue to provide free content and still make a living. Contributor would take the fee you paid and then distribute it around to websites you visit, while also showing friendly placeholders in ad spots.
It was a decent idea, assuming you could get enough people to pay for an ad-free experience on the web and still support publishers you enjoy. Unfortunately, Contributor never caught on or publishers weren’t making enough money or Google found some other flaw in the system, so they killed it. Well, they killed that original form.
To learn more about how the original Contributor worked, you can read this full guide we put together.
In somewhat good news, though, we are expecting a new Contributor to arrive at some point in the near future. Google’s Contributor site (here) now just shows a placeholder talking about a “new and improved” version that will be here some time in early 2017. It also includes a sign-up link to be notified when that time comes.
What could they change? I honestly don’t know. I’m certainly interested as both a consumer of loads of online news and a publisher who would love to give readers an ad-free experience.