Google, a master of online advertising, has devised a new mechanism for helping publishers — and itself — monetize content on the Internet.
It’s called Contributor, and in posting a website about it today, Google is casting it as an “experiment.” That’s one way to carefully describe Google’s latest attempt to prevent its long-standing revenue-producing advertising business from being challenged.
Google has allied with 10 publishers for Contributor so far, and publishers that aren’t involved yet can add themselves to a wait list if they wish to come on board. Readers can pay $1 to $3 per month to visit participating sites, and in exchange, find content with no ads and perhaps a small thank-you note.
“I think the bigger narrative is publishers are the lifeblood of the Web, and to have a healthy Web, you need to have publishers that are able to thrive and fund their content,” a Google spokeswoman told VentureBeat in an interview about the new service. “We’ve made it a priority since the beginning of our business to provide different ways for them to do just that.”
The spokeswoman pointed to a few previous Google initiatives to give content creators ways to bring in revenue, including a digital tip jar for YouTube channels and Google Consumer Surveys.
The new service, which isn’t yet operational, resulted from “an internal brainstorm from the publisher team,” the spokeswoman said.
Google’s AdSense program, which lets publishers serve ads on their sites, first became available in 2003.