Earlier this week Google started sending out a new round of invites for the Contributor by Google program it launched in November 2014. This service was developed to give users the option of paying to get out of seeing some adverts online, and its gone through some significant changes in the past 5 months.
Where the original set up let users pay between $1 and $3 to get out of seeing all Adsense ads, Contributor by Google now offers 3 pricing tiers ranging from $2 to $10. The lowest tier promises that a user will see between 5% and 15% fewer ads, while paying $10 a month will cut the number of Adsense ads by a quarter to a half.
That's a steep price hike and a sharp cut in the benefits, but it shouldn't come as a surprise. Google said that they've added "millions of sites - everything from small blogs to large news sites" since this program launched, which means the payments have to be divided between a larger number of web publishers.
What's more, I'm glad to see the changes because I didn't think the previous $3 a month service was sustainable. It cost too little and offered too much. Paying three dollars per month to see no Adsense ads didn't strike me as a fair bargain.
I just got my invite for Contributor by Google yesterday. I've already signed up, but I haven't decided yet if I am going to stick with it. While I like the program a little more now than I did in November, I'm still not sure that I want to forego my current ad solution.
As I have written in the past, I'm one of the millions of people who use Adblock Plus. This free plugin lets me get out of nearly all adverts, and not just the ones from Adsense.
As any web publisher can tell you, Google Adsense is the ad network of last resort. Almost every other ad network pays more than Adsense so the other networks get first choice on showing you adverts (this is why I have Amazon ads in the sidebar).
Here's an important detail: Those other ads are not covered by the Contributor program (I checked).
If I want to support sites through the Contributor program I'm going to have to see all of the other ads on a site, and that can be an awful lot of ads. The Washington Post, for example, can put up to a dozen adverts in and around a story.
I'll be paying for the privilege of avoiding a small fraction of the adverts while at the same time getting bombarded by ads, and I'm not sure it's worth $10 a month to me.
What about you? Do you think this program is worth the cost?