Google announced a new program called Contributor. The idea is that you, as a regular web user, top your account up with money that is used to pay websites for each of your page views. In return, ads are hidden. When your account is out of money, you see ads again.
Popular Mechanics has come out of the gate charging $0.01 per page view. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of experimentation from different publishers as Contributor catches on (or doesn’t).
This feels to me like a universalised Patreon. Medium has been attempting the same thing with subscriber-only content, where you control how your subscription fee is distributed by how much you clap for articles. Overall, I love the idea of being able to support publishers and creators without them having to ruin my experience with ads and trackers or pushing me to buy merchandise.
Diversified revenue streams — or, more accurately, subsidised main offering — only works if they have the time/people/skills to do it. Someone might be a great writer; doesn’t mean I want their t-shirt. I’m happy to chip in to let them keep focusing on the thing I like them for doing.
We’ve spent years telling publishers and companies that the online ad experience sucks (to the point where sites and apps that implement them nicely receive praise) and that we’d rather just pay to support them. Now we can.