I was very pleased this morning to see the announcement of Contributor by Google. I have waited a long time for something like this to happen.
So what is Contributor?
Contributor lets you “contribute” to the websites you visit while minimizing potentially annoying ads. You sign up to spend a certain amount per month. Those dollars are used to bid for ad space on the websites that you visit. You do not get to set your own bid amounts.
How it works
Lets say you sign up for a $2/month contributor account then visit my website. CompanyX is willing to pay me a penny to show you their ad. Contributor will block their add and give me a penny from your $2. I get paid for providing you with information. You get an ad-free experience on my website. It is a win-win situation!
You even get to pick what ads are replaced with! You can choose between a neutral block of colors, simply hiding the ads, pictures of cats,
What I envision(ed).
Contributor is close, but not quite the solution I have been waiting for. I actually imagined internet service providers as being in a better position to get together and create a network where you can pay an extra fee to have ads from major providers blocked. A large portion of this fee would be distributed between the websites you visit.
Now that Google has been the company to enact this, I realize that they are actually in a good position to manage this too. Hopefully other ad networks will team up with Google so that you do not have to pay separate subscription fees to each provider you want to block ads from.
Why not just use an ad blocker?
Ad blockers are a free way to block most ads from showing up on the websites that you visit. While I realize that some ads are offensive, and you should never be forced or tricked into seeing such ads, I also see using an ad blocker as a way of “stealing” from the websites you visit.
One of the great things about the internet is that it brings you loads of information at little or no cost to you. Even a person who cannot afford their own computer likely has access to the internet through their local library, at work, or at school. I appreciate the vast knowledge at my fingertips and am happy to contribute my own content to help make the internet a better place.
But for every hour I spend researching and writing an article for one of my blogs, I am giving up time that could be spent working and earning money for my family. I am also paying a minimum of $10 per year for each site, which can really ad up when you are in charge of 20+ websites.
Only one of my websites sells actual products. The rest provide “free” information. I can afford to keep these free sites running thanks to the money I get through displaying ads. If all of my visitors used an ad blocker, I would quickly go from making just enough profit to pay for my daughter’s glasses and the occasional sick day from work to losing $300+ per year.
What will this do to the future of ads?
I imagine that advertisers who really want to get their message across to your website visitors will be willing to pay more to ensure they show up on your site.