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Google's Contributor lets you crowdfund sites instead of seeing their ads

Chris Velazco, @chrisvelazco
November 20, 2014
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Banners, takeovers, pop-unders, interstitials -- there's no understating how important/valuable they are financially, but ads are still basically the bane of the modern internet. That's why it's a little heartening to see Google, a company that made a whopping $15 billion in ad revenue alone last quarter, is giving content creators another way to go. It's called Contributor, and the name really says it all: users can pay certain sites between $1 and $3 per month to be able to surf around without any of Google's ads blasting them in the face.

Right now the program's firmly in beta, but Google's already roped in some big names for its little experiment: Imgur, The Onion, Mashable and Urban Dictionary have all entered the crowdfunding fray, with more surely in the works. And what is it like to actually look at a Contributor-ified page? Well, those bits of screen real estate where the ads used to exist don't appear blank like they would if you were using an ad-blocker. Instead, you'll get either a grayscale pixel pattern or a "thank you" message to go with the overwhelming sense of pride welling up in you because you know you're helping one of your favorite sites more directly. There's still no word on how that monthly donation gets split up between Google and the site participating in the program though, but it's sure to strike a chord with, say, those of us who donate to perpetually broke public radio stations.

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