Google is launching an experiment into charging users for ad-free search results, as it looks to explore ways to both tap into the ad-blocking trend and “fund the internet” at the same time.
The idea is that with ad-blocking, no one is making any money. But by charging a fee Google helps publishers and content creators continue making content that internet users want to see.
On the site Google states: "Today’s Internet is mostly funded by advertising. But what if there were a way to directly support the people who create the sites you visit each day?"
By charging users a small fee, and splitting it with publishers, Google reckons it's found a new way to satisfy consumer desire for fewer ads, and the need for publishers to make revenue. But while it might be good for publishers, it's not clear how it will affect advertisers.
It's also not clear how many users will sign up to the service, or publishers.
The test, called Contributor, is rolling out in the US in invitation only beta and means that for a monthly subscription fee between US$1 and US$3, no ads will be served on participating sites.
Instead of ads, users will see a thank you message and a pixel pattern.
Mashable and satirical site The Onion are among the sites participating in the trial.
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