Recently reported over at the Nieman Lab site is the launch of Google’s Contributor platform. Contributor aims to be pay-per-visit alternative to advertising that positions ad-free enjoyment of the internet as a premium service. Google are working with ten publishers to investigate how much people will pay for ad free surfing, and indeed ad free news. For between $1 and $3 a month subscription, the ads are obscured on sites including The Onion and Mashable, with Google and the publisher taking a cut of the cash.
It remains to be seen why Google are introducing an innovation that could potentially impact on it’s own ad revenue. Perhaps it is simply that Google is concerned that many more internet users (including online news fans) will discover that blocking ads is relatively easy, and currently free.