AdSense has a new feature and I reeeeeeeally don’t get it. This has got to be the oddest monetization model I’ve seen in a while.
Apparently Google believes some people hate ads so much, they’d actually pay AdSense Publishers monthly NOT to see them.
This new AdSense product is called Contributor.
Here’s Google’s official definition (source)…
Contributor is a new source of revenue for your sites, funded directly by your site visitors. With Contributor, users pick a monthly contribution level (either $2, $5, or $10) and those funds are used to pay for your site—instead of ads. The result is that users see fewer ads and you still get paid.
Here’s how it works: when Contributor users visit a site in Google’s network, their monthly contribution is used to bid on their behalf in the ad auction—so they end up buying the ad slot rather than a traditional advertiser. The more they contribute, the fewer ads they see, and you still get paid.
If you decide to use the Contributor feature, you’ll see a badge on your site that looks something like this…
Wait… Did That Say “Monthly?”
I had to re-write parts of this post because I missed the word “monthly” when I pasted the definition above.
This is starting to look like some weird site subscription or a donation button on steroids.
Look, I’m all about making donations. I have donated to developers of WordPress plugins because I really do think they deserve a little something for creating great free tools.
And then there are people who have a difficult time monetizing their sites due to lack of relevant ads, lack of affiliate programs, etc. This happens a lot with entertainment related sites. Again, that’s where donation buttons are a perfect fit.
But paying a monthly fee to see less advertising seems crazy.
Why Didn’t They Mimic Patreon?
I think what bothers me the most is the spin they used. If they had likened this to Patreon where you support a site you love by giving what you can afford, then maybe I wouldn’t be so critical.
I wonder why they didn’t go with that angle? That might encourage more people to join.
Imagine a very popular blog about a TV show that struggles with monetization. If 500 fans contributed just $2 per month, that’s $1,000/month.
Many of the contributors wouldn’t even care about the fewer ads. They’d just give because they want to support the site. Fewer ads would just be an added bonus.
What About Earnings?
I didn’t see anything in the article about the revenue share.
My guess is they take the same percentage as they do for AdSense clicks and impressions. It’s not clear.
As far as how this impacts earnings, the Contributor is buying an ad slot on your site. So you are getting paid by them instead of the ads that would normally appear in that slot.
How to Disable Contributor
If you want no part of this odd feature, you can disable it.
Login to your account and click the “Allow and Block Ads” from the main menu. Now select the ‘Ad Networks’ tab. Search for ‘Contributor’, and then turn off that ad network.
Is There Really a Need For This?
If you’ve read any tips about launching a product, there’s always advice about defining a need in the market.
So how does that apply here?
When is the last time you visited a website and thought, “Gee, I’d PAY to see less advertising here! Where do I sign up?”
And remember, you’re only blocking ads on ONE site. What about the rest of the pages on the Internet? Is blocking SOME ads on ONE site going to be THAT valuable to people?
Plus, as Mark pointed out on Twitter, websites often use other ad networks too.
@2createawebsite also this only blocks Adsense ads so sites using other networks will still have ads.
— Mark Serrano LaFlare (@markserranopro) November 7, 2015
If ads bother you that much, you can cough up $10 bucks for ad block software. And that’s a ONE-TIME fee, by the way. Not monthly.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather support a site with a one-time donation or buy a product (if applicable). Ads don’t bother me that much! And if they happen to bother you, there are less costly ways to remedy that.
I would rather people support my site by buying a course or use an affiliate link. Not to mention, it’s cheaper in the long run!
Seriously, am I missing something here? Please tell me I am.
I swear… the more I type, the more I keep shaking my head. So I better end this post before I get dizzy. 🙂
What do you think of this?