Google Contributor: Pay with attention or pay with money

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Conor Dougherty recently wrote a blog post for the New York Times entitled, “Google Experimenting With Removing Ads for a Fee.”

It comes down to this (from the blog post):

The service, called Contributor by Google, has users give between $1 and $3 a month to sites like The Onion and Mashable.

Why is this interesting/relevant?  First, it removes many (not likely all) of the ads in the reading experience.  Since most of these ads are invisible anyway (i.e., people don’t perceive them) this will save advertisers some otherwise-wasted ad spend.

As I noted in “You’re going to pay for your content; One way or another…” you’re going to, well, pay for it one way or another.  You can pay with attention (easy) or with your money (difficult).

  1. Login  – large scale federated identity is a game changer for pay walls – I visit a lot of websites every day for which I’d be willing to pay for articles of subscription.  I am NOT willing to create and maintain a formal account on most of these sites.
  2. Small payment problem – the lame state of affairs with respect to credit card payments makes small payments impossible.  With a cost-of-goods of $0 Google could accumulate consumer purchases across a large number of sites and process the payment when more appropriate.
  3. Central directory/discovery – Google would publish a directory of Powered by Contributor.  The ease of consuming (paid) content of those sites would generate audience for its members.
  4. Contributor.js – I expect an easy-to-use and easy-to-deploy implementation and central dashboard from Google.  You would install
    on  your site then login to your Google Contributor dashboard and configure your policies.  Done.
  5. Expense / budget management – Individuals would be better able to manage and control their content spending.  Organizations would be able to easily buy group subscriptions/access for their employees/customers.

Sign me up.  🙂

P.S. – Where are Bing and Yahoo?  Sigh.






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