Online Advertising

New Google Initiative Enables Ad-Free Browsing on Certain Sites for a Monthly Fee

Although the bulk of Google’s business is predicated on ad sales, the company is now experimenting with a program that would enable consumers to block ads on their favorite websites for a nominal fee.

Called Contributor, users can now choose to donate between $1 and $3 to 10 websites alongside whom Google is piloting the initiative -- including Urban Dictionary, The Onion, ScienceDaily, wikiHow, Mashable and imgur.

Given this donation, users will in turn see a ‘Thank you’ message and grey pixelated square on each site where an ad might normally appear. The more a user contributes, the more ads are blocked. Google told CNET that it will take the same cut from each donation that it typically charges advertisers to display their ads.

There is also an enticing privacy component to the initiative in that Google Contributors, who will become exempt from targeted online ads, would therefore no longer avail their personal data to website operators, according to CNET.

Related: Your Online Content Should Deliver 'Cognitive Ecstasy'

Such an effort may seem counterintuitive to existing online advertising paradigms, given that businesses are expected to spend $141 million on online ads this year, per eMarketer -- of which Google takes home an estimated 32.4 percent. This trumps competitors -- by far -- like Facebook (8 percent), Microsoft (2.9 percent) and Yahoo (2.4 percent.)

However, the program would not necessarily block all ads on a site, a Google spokesperson told Entrepreneur -- only the ads that Google itself is serving. (Websites typically partner with multiple third parties in order to sell ads, and can also sell them directly.)

Additionally, the exemptions would only impact a specific Google ad product called Double Click for Publishers.

Thus far, the program only seems to be an experiment of sorts. Wishing participants must either receive an invitation or ask to be waitlisted.

Related: The Creator of the World's First Pop-Up Ad Apologizes for Everything

Edition: November 2016

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