Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Advertising Businesses Google The Almighty Buck The Media

Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions 319

An anonymous reader writes: Everyone understands by now that ads fund most of the sites on the web. Other sites have put up paywalls or started subscription bonuses, with varying success. Google, one of the web's biggest ad providers, saw a problem with that: it's a huge pain for readers to manage subscriptions for all the sites they visit — often more trouble than it's worth. And, since so few people sign up, the subscription fees have to be pretty high. Now, Google has launched a service called Contributor to try to fix this situation.

The way Contributor works is this: websites and readers can opt in to the service (and sites like Imgur, The Onion, and ScienceDaily already have). Readers then pay a fee of $1-3 per month (they get to choose how much) to gain ad-free access to all participating sites. When the user visits one of the sites, instead of showing a Google ad, Google will just send a small chunk of that subscription money to the website instead.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Google Launches Service To Replace Web Ads With Subscriptions

Comments Filter:
  • Ads (Score:3, Informative)

    by seededfury ( 699094 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:10PM (#48434145) Homepage
    Haven't seen ads since I installed adblock plus and no script. Cost me nothing.
    • Re:Ads (Score:4, Insightful)

      by morgauxo ( 974071 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @01:15PM (#48434785)

      I've done that a few times but always end up uninstalling it. There are too many sites I visit regularly where the ads aren't that obtrusive and the revenu from them is the only compensation the authors are getting for entertaiing me. And, there aren't that may sites I go to anymore where the ads are so bad that I feel I just HAVE to block them. I haven't seen any pop overs or unders or endless spawning popups in a long time. Or.. maybe the browsers are just smart enough to block that crap on their own.

      Although... those damn videos that suddenly pop up out of nowhere and ambush you as you scroll... those have me coming close to blocking again!

      It's too bad though, it's usually big corps that do evil stuff that makes blocking worthwile and individuals just trying to support themselves while doing what they love that have the reasonable ads.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by davester666 ( 731373 )

        Really? Every time I disable adblock, I get a "what the hell" moment. Banner ads, footer ads, ads on both sides of the content, and if the text is more than a paragraph or two, ads in the middle. And for fun, if flashblock is also off, time for some auto-playing video ads.

        On it goes.

      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        I've done that a few times but always end up uninstalling it. There are too many sites I visit regularly where the ads aren't that obtrusive and the revenu from them is the only compensation the authors are getting for entertaiing me.

        Why didn't you just whitelist those sites in Adblock's menu?

    • Re:Ads (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @01:39PM (#48435053) Homepage

      Haven't seen ads since I installed adblock plus and no script. Cost me nothing.

      Exactly. Now I can get off Adblock and start contributing to the websites I visit.

      I would happily pay $1-3 per month for an ad-free but publishers-making-money web. I think that they found the sweet spot of enough money to fund the program vs. too expensive for most web users. I signed up before even reading the comments here, I've been waiting for this for years.

      • I would happily pay $1-3 per month for an ad-free but publishers-making-money web

        But I wonder how much of that would really go to the publisher? If it's like their advertising model, then if we're lucky maybe 10% and Google takes 90%?

  • by Sowelu ( 713889 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:11PM (#48434147)

    Signing up for this basically asap.

    But if the price is the same no matter how many different sites you consume, or how much of their bandwidth you chew up, well...I'm not sure how I think about that, from an "I want my favorite websites to actually get money" point of view.

    • I presume, from the (rather thin) description that your favorite websites are ones you go to more often, so they'll get more of those little chunks of money sent their way, no?

      • Depends on how the sites are structured. It's not uncommon for some sites to make users click around a lot to artificially inflate # of ad impressions. If your "favorite" website isn't doing this, and the other ones you are using do, sadly, this encourages the wrong behavior [even further].

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )

      Yea, it's not clear from the linked articles if you contributing more means the site gets more, or whether you get to visit more sites ad free before your contribution runs out.

      Plus, a site would have to disable all advertising in order to make it worthwhile. Getting rid of half the ads and replacing them with other annoyances won't fly

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      I'm signing up for this as well. If I frequent a site, and they have a subscription, I'll pay for it. Some sites have a lifetime of no ads if you toss them half to a whole C-note, so I do that. Other sites offer donations, so they get â25 or so every so often. I'm sure subscription revenue higher than ad revenue, so it is a win/win.

  • by ThatsMyNick ( 2004126 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:14PM (#48434173)

    Will this work with google analytics disabled/blocked. If not, no thank you.

    • Mod parent up. (Score:4, Informative)

      by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:49PM (#48434531)

      My first question is what needs to be allowed in order for this to work? Do I have to whitelist sites in adblock? NoScript? Do I have to abandon those addons?

      What about any of the anti-tracking stuff I use?

      And, lastly, the main reason I use all of that is because I got very tired of clicking on a site and WAITING FOR ALL THE SHIT TO LOAD AND RELOAD AND RERELOAD.

      I might use this. I might not. But there isn't enough information available right now to tell whether it will be better or worse for me than what I'm doing today.

  • by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:19PM (#48434215)

    That's all.

    • by Graydyn Young ( 2835695 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:27PM (#48434305)
      Think of it less as a way to avoid ads, more of a way for your favourite sites to stay in business.
      • by Vrallis ( 33290 )

        "Welcome to Slashdot! We just need to take a shit in your mouth so we can keep the doors open, so get ready..."

      • Think of it less as a way to avoid ads, more of a way for your favourite sites to stay in business.

        Unfortunately I'm not certain how many of the IT / technology website are worth subscribing to. Too many of them are already hollow shills, with writers and "editors" who either lack technical or literary skills if not both. Scarcity of journalism, professionalism, or ethics makes me wonder whether they would just continue to produce more "sponsored content" which is merely advertising being sugar-coated as content, whether new product info, amazingly uncritical glowing reviews, verbatim printing of marketi

    • by sudon't ( 580652 )

      Well, it's "donation-ware." People should really toss the guy a few bucks. That's my subscription plan.

  • So The Onion's online edition is essentially worth some small fraction of what a reader is willing to pay for their $1 to visit 50 websites per day. I guess that amounts to about $0.05 per subscriber or considering 10 pageviews per visitor that's $5 CPM. No matter how bad ads are, they pay out closer to $20 RPM for USA visitors and most of these companies claim they are barely breaking even right now. How would getting less revenue help more?
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      Well, more than half the trouble with micro-payments is getting you to sign up for an account and tie it to a credit card. Once they have that, they can up-sell you more. And I'm betting Google is giving them a sweet deal because once you need to be signed in to Google to avoid the ads when visiting your favorite sites you'll in practice be signed in 24x7. And if they didn't have a good profile on you before, they sure will now.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:33PM (#48434373) Homepage

    This could turn into a real micropayment system.

    About 7 years ago I (incorrectly) predicted that ISPs could bootstrap micropayment systems by allowing users to put money into an account with their ISP. When the user visits a site with ads, the site could "bill" the customer via the ISP anonymously, transparently to the user, and cheaply. The payment system would essentially live in the ISP's HTTP proxy server.

    The Google model sounds like a variation of that, with Google collecting the money and distributing the micropayments to the web site via the ad network.

    A similar ad-free subscription-oriented option will be available for YouTube soon. [wsj.com] I am surprised to see this announcement without it connecting to that one.

  • Or you can just use Adblock like any sane person and just not deal with it, funding be damned.

    Honestly I'm the type of person you do NOT want to advertise to. The more annoying the advertising the more likely I am to make it a point to avoid that product / service as much as possible.

    • by kqs ( 1038910 )

      I like this scheme because it allows me to help fund the websites which I enjoy and visit. A good website with good content is expensive, and if the site maintainer cannot make money, then those sites will go away or become less good. I'm happy to spend a few bucks a month knowing that it goes to the sites I like.

      I hate advertising too, but I know enough economics to know that if everyone is a freeloader then the whole system goes to hell.

    • by Vrallis ( 33290 )

      Does anyone else find it incredible to see THREE useless spam bot replies to my post advertising an anti-advertising product?

  • Flattr (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Troed ( 102527 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:45PM (#48434489) Homepage Journal

    Dear Google,

    Why didn't you just buy Flattr instead? https://flattr.com/ [flattr.com]

    (And pay off Brokep's debt while at it)

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:53PM (#48434553) Homepage
    First and foremost, the program itself doesn't have to make google any money.

    Because when you do this, you are giving google information on all the websites you visit.

    Want to advertise to people that visit the Onion? Well, google can do that now - as soon as you leave the Onion, your next ad will be for Cracked.com or some other funny website in competition with The Onion.

    • You mean my advertisements will finally be for something relevant to my interests instead of endless miracle weight loss crap?
    • "Because when you do this, you are giving google information on all the websites you visit."

      You must be new here, almost every website you visit has ad/trackers embedded in the webpage. Go get ghostery and look at all the shit on slashdot by itself.

      https://www.ghostery.com/en/ [ghostery.com]

      Go to other places on the web and see all "hidden servers" you're pulling data from. All the webpage has to do is refer to the server for them to track you. There is an infinite number of ways for you to be tracked without your cons

  • Invite link? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teppy ( 105859 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:54PM (#48434565) Homepage
    I would love one. I would actually pay as much as $100/month for a fully ad-free web experience (and I realize that most adds are not Google ads.) But $3/month is a no-brainer. Hope this includes YouTube.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I would love one. I would actually pay as much as $100/month for a fully ad-free web experience (and I realize that most adds are not Google ads.) But $3/month is a no-brainer. Hope this includes YouTube.

      Actually, most ads ARE Google ads. They're just done by companies and ad networks Google owns. After all, they have like 98% marketshare, while the 2% belong to those more questionable networks (the ones that advertise for sites that Google won't touch - e.g., torrent sites and the like).

      Which brings up the

      • After all, they have like 98% marketshare, while the 2% belong to those more questionable networks (the ones that advertise for sites that Google won't touch - e.g., torrent sites and the like).

        Actually, 33%. They're by far the biggest single player, but aren't anywhere close to 98%. Google's share of mobile ads is larger, at 56%.

        http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2013/06/13/in-online-ads-theres-google-and-then-everybody-else/ (that's 2013, but things haven't changed much in 2014, and I couldn't find a 2014 link that included both all digital and mobile ads).

  • The ads are replaced with a small message thanking them for being a contributor. The space where the advert would have been is filled with a pixelated pattern, instead of being removed entirely

    Maybe we'll get to see pop-ups with pixelated messages of thanks!

  • The real genius here is that after people accept this business model, Google can charge a premium to advertisers to "break through" to the user... I'm sure it's in the fine print already... you can pay to ignore "standard" tier advertisements, but it says nothing of Premium tier.

  • How clever is Google... being paid to display ads and also being paid not to display ads.

    It's a win-win.

    Do no eViL -- yeah, right! ;-)

    • by nwf ( 25607 )

      How clever are they for listing the companies who have signed up and NOT making them a link to the company's web page.

  • the first one is free, the next ones you pay for... So Google creates a shit load of addicts that will want to pay them to remove the ads that they posted in the first place. Whats that remind me off, drug dealers and protection rackets.

  • Remember how cable TV was supposed to be ad (commercial) free, because the subscription fee was supposed to be the primary source of revenue? How long did that last?

    • We don't remember because we're not that old. I'm 42 and I've never seen TV without commercials before Netflix arrived, if we count Netflix in the same category as "TV".

  • I have a subscription to the NY Times.
    I still get loads of ads on my tablet with no adblock.
    Adblock is your friend.

  • I'm going to add that to my website! I'm pretty sure I'll be able to make a profit of 25 cents before the end of 2015!

  • I'd love to be able to assist with this project. However, my issue is not advertising, but tracking. By using this method, one must, by definition, allow Google to see how many times you visit which sites, and how much time you spend on each.

    Presently, I use FoolDNS and Ghostery, and intentionally allow ads through - I want websites to be able to get additional ad traffic. I'm perfectly okay with ads. Personally, I've got two rules: 1.) Don't track me, and 2.) Don't infect my computer with malware. I person

  • I use AdBlock Pro as a browser extension.

    However, I'm excited about the prospect of installing it on a router, and that's what I'm gonna do on my new Asus RT-AC87.

    I currently run OpenWRT on a D-link DIR-825, and guessing I could install it there. But I want 802.11ac and a router that can handle a VPN connection at something closer to my cable modem throughput (currently, 120mbps down/20mbps up). The DIR-825's CPU is out of gas.

    OpenWRT for the AC87 will likely never happen, or be hobbled by open-source drive

The road to hell is paved with NAND gates. -- J. Gooding

Working...