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"Contributor by Google" Invites Arrive as Google Makes Changes to the Program

google-logoEarlier 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?


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Sturmund Drang April 23, 2015 um 7:21 pm

It’s off context and it shows how out of touch I am; But, I’ve always found Google’s invite programs highly offensive. I got an invite to Google Mail the first week or two it was available to World-Dog {sic} . I refused it then and never regretted it.

It’s one of the two reasons I’ve never played in their yard.

I guess I’m just childish that way.

Scott Lewis April 23, 2015 um 8:45 pm

I’m still trying to wrap my head around you serving ads but using an ad blocker.

Nate Hoffelder April 24, 2015 um 12:55 pm

I don’t see what is so strange.

As a blogger, I need to make money, so I have ads. But as a user, I am annoyed by sites with obnoxious and sometimes malicious adverts, so I use an adblocker.

Edit: It’s like a bartender who doesn’t drink. And what’s more, I don’t harp on anyone else choosing to use an adblocker or not.

Artem Russakovskii April 25, 2015 um 12:27 pm

I think you’re way off on your assessment that Adsense is the last resort network that pays the least. In my experience, it’s actually the exact opposite. Adsense has consistently won over every network I’ve tried with their fill rates of close to 100% and CPMs. I haven’t gotten into the Amazon ad network yet, but I’ve tested many. You also don’t have any headaches outside of filtering out ads you don’t like. With other companies, you frequently deal with low fills or blank ads altogether.

I’d love for someone to improve my Adsense revenue but I have found that to be a very challenging task.

Nate Hoffelder April 25, 2015 um 1:06 pm

Let me see, how many ad networks have I used that pay more than Google?

First, there’s Riot New Media. I have 1 ad spot with a floor CPM. They fill it about 25% of the time, which pays me about the same as I am getting from all the Google ads on my site.

Then there’s Amazon, which has consistently paid me twice to three times what I’ve earned from Adsense even though Amazon only manages to fill the ad spaces about a third of the time (again, thanks to the floor CPM).

For a long time I also used to use Technorati’s ad network. That didn’t always honor my floor CPM but it usually paid more than Google. I stopped using Technorati because the ad tags were sync and not async (speed issues) but I would go back if I could.

The Yahoo-Bing ad network also looked like it would pay more than Adsense when I tried it last month. The ads didn’t look very good, though, so I dropped it.

And in case you were wondering, all of the ad networks I have tried offer an option of default creatives. If they can’t fill a spot they will hand it over to whoever. Adsense has been my default creative for as long as I have known about the idea.

There were also long stretches where Adsense was the lead ad network, an not the filler. It kept getting demoted because the other networks paid better.

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