Google Contributor 2.0 is DOA

If you didn’t notice that a month ago Google launched its second go at developing an alternative funding model for websites, don’t be too surprised.

I didn’t notice either, and that is a good part of the reason Google Contributor 2.0 is DOA. The other part is that the program is nonfunctional on every level, and Google simply doesn’t care.

When originally announced in 2014, Google Contributor was pitched as a way for fans to support the sites they like. It was likened to Patreon, but a close examination revealed that GC was really just a way for users to pay to show themselves cute cat photos in place of ads with no real benefit to the sites in question.

The lack of a connection supporter and site caused many people to lose interest, which is why I was the only one to notice that the service shut down in December 2016.

Google had told me that the service would relaunch this year under a new model, but when they did launch Google Contributor 2.0, Google forgot to tell anyone.

Just about the only site that noticed Google Contributor 2.0 (or Funding Choices, as it was renamed) was Android Police, which was one of just a dozen sites that signed up.

AP was also the first site to announce that they were dropping out last week. While Funding Choices comes close to meeting the original Google Contributor ideal, it just doesn’t work on any level – not technical, conceptual, or in terms of customer service.

As you may have noticed, we have been running Google Funding Choices for the past month or so on Android Police. Today, I’m announcing that we’re pulling support for it. Funding Choices is riddled with issues, and we get feedback about buggy or just plain awful behavior – like the whole site being blocked – every single day.

Funding Choices and Contributor 2.0 are easily the most beta products I’ve ever tested from Google, and are not ready for prime time. Even after launch, navigation on the backend dashboard site was not working properly, stats weren’t updating, and are to this day a hacky collection of Google Sheets documents.

At launch (which, you may have also noticed, we didn’t publicize at all), Google told us we were the fastest growing Funding Choices site. But that quickly plateaued, and a month later, only around 100 people use Contributor on Android Police per day. It’s a drop in the bucket, and not worth the constant stream of complaints about blocked site access, like the one shown in the screenshot below. Some people have company-wide ad blockers and can no longer read Android Police. Many are false positives, too, which is even


Google, being Google, also refuses to directly deal with users who contacted us for support. All we can do is direct such users to this black hole of a support page. It leaves me feeling so powerless in this process.

Honest to goodness, I didn’t hear about Funding Choices until I saw the piece last week. Google didn’t send an email to publishers that use Adsense or Doubleclick, and they didn’t notify past users of Google Contributor.

All Google did was announce it on their blog in the beginning of June. The launch got a few cursory mentions here and there, but essentially no one covered it.

Google has zero interest in promoting the program, and as we can see from the report from Android Police, that disinterest extends to supporting Funding Choices users or fixing technical issues.

The service is clearly DOA, and just to give you an idea of how well it’s doing, Funding Choices now works with only four sites.

Yes, one-two-three-four, 4 sites.

In comparison, AP says that a dozen sites had signed up when Funding Choices launched last month.

So Google never told anyone about the launch, they aren’t supporting it, and now sites are fleeing a sinking ship.

yes, Funding Choices is about as dead as Google’s “don’t be evil” motto.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

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  1. […] reward creators, but its new service will be based on subscriptions and more closely resemble the late and unlamented Google […]

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