Google Toying with Ad-Free Online Project (for a fee of course)

by Matt Klassen on November 25, 2014

If you’re looking for an Internet experience free of annoying pop-ups and advertising clutter, well you’re in luck…sort of. Last week Google unveiled a project aimed at finding different ways of funding the web, a new take on delivering an engaging and effective online experience.

Dubbed Contributor, it almost harkens back to the Internet of old, a browser devoid of those creepy advertisements featuring what you glanced at yesterday on Amazon (good evidence that someone is tracking your every online move), except of course with the addendum that Google will make you pay for the pleasure of an advertisement-free existence.

Again, while described as nothing more than “an experiment in additional ways to fund the web,” the subscription service will charge users between $1 and $3 dollars for the pleasure of not seeing advertisements on the websites they frequent, offering consumers a more direct way of funding the companies they like. But the question is, will it work? Will Internet users want to directly pay companies for the simple pleasure of looking at their website?

“Today’s internet is mostly funded by advertising. But what if there were a way to directly support the people who create the sites you visit each day?” the Contributor project asks. Briefly, Contributor, as you might assume, is an experimental method that would allow websites to charge users per visit, with the bonus that instead of seeing advertisements and other pop-ups, users would see only a pixelated, blurred-out space instead.

Now to be honest, there are undoubtedly parts of the Internet where users would gladly pay a buck or two for a better online experience, particularly on sites where streaming videos are often obscured or interrupted by endless advertisements. But would anyone want to pay a few dollars every time they logged onto Facebook, or their email, simply for the pleasure of not being bothered by pop-ups?

Of course the answer to those questions rests on the level of annoyance of Internet users with online advertising. “Advertising, especially online has become a bugbear for many people, but there are new models such as this one, that could change the publisher landscape and how people browse content online,” noted Howard Kingston, co-founder of adludio, a firm which replaces ads with interactive game, arguing that a rebranding of the traditional advertising-based revenue model is due for a rethink.

It’s worth noting that a similar project, Readability, was created several years ago in an attempt to deliver the same sort of advertisement-free experience, but shut down in 2012.

Say what you will about this project, it’s clear that Contributor is attempting to meet a very real need for both online companies and consumers. Companies like Google need to make money; currently that money is made off advertisements; advertisements are annoying; Google still needs to make money in order to deliver the services and content we all want.

In the end, while the goal for many is a free and open Internet for all, one certainty in life (aside from death and taxes) is that such an Internet will come with advertising…unless you want to pay a little extra I guess.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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