Google just announced a new internet subscription service called Google Contributor. Essentially, it's a paywall for web publishers to provide ad-free content for a $US1-$US3 contribution.
Well, free of Google ads at least. As it true with the company's current publishing revenue model AdSense, part of your contribution will go to the creators of all those lovely words, phrases and sentences you're reading, and of course Google will also take its cut. But your typical Google ad is instead replaced by a pixelated box that simply says "thank you for being a Contributor". All payment information is handled through your Google account.
Of course, you can still turn on AdBlock and basically have the same ad-free experience. So why bother? Well, people still buy music when they can also get it for free (I have a premium Spotify account. I will admit it), so it's interesting to see Google experimenting in ways to help readers support the websites they frequent the most, if they're so inclined.
According to Gigaom, the service is launching with 10 partners, including Imgur, WikiHow, Science Daily, Urban Dictionary, The Onion and its biggest partner, Mashable. Google is reportedly starting small to see how the new service takes hold.
This isn't the first instance of companies trying to figure out an alternative way to make money on the currently free content on the web aside from ads. This news is another step in Google's quests to find alternative ways to monetise and deliver certain stories to users, and in turn, becoming a major player in digital content distribution.