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Google’s new subscription service makes the Internet ad-free

Ads on websites can be done properly and tastefully so that they don’t really interfere with the way users browse and consume content from a page. However some ads can be very annoying which results in users download extensions such as AdBlock to disable all ads from display entirely. Great for users, bad for website owners as ads are one of the ways that they make money. Well what if you could subscribe to websites and view them without ads? While subscription-based websites are around, Google wants to apply it across all websites via a “Contributor” system. Through this system, it seems that users can donate anywhere between $1-3 a month and view partner websites without any ads at all.

The web is funded by ads. But so many people hate seeing them, and they often resent all the data tracking that props them up. It’s a clash that has become a major pain point for news websites and other publishers. The rise of ad blockers, which let people surf the web without these annoying ads, is also blocking their revenue. But Google is now offering a service that addresses both sides of this rather complicated issue. Launched on Thursday, the service is called Google Contributor, and it asks you to pay $1, $2, or $3 a month to back the websites you particularly like. In exchange for your support, you’ll see “thank you” messages where ads used to be—at least on the websites that participate in the program. At the moment, Google is testing the idea with ten online publishers, including The Onion, ScienceDaily, Urban Dictionary, and Mashable. The thank-you notes are served up through Google’s existing advertising channels, and Google still takes a cut of each contribution. According to Google, the $1 to $3 users pay essentially covers the cost of that ad space. But all of this is subject to change, she says, as the platform develops. “At this point, what we’ve rolled out is very much an experiment,” a Google spokesperson tells us. “We’re getting the publishers on board today. We’ll see not just how it works but also the public interest level.”

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