Web advertising can be seen as a necessary evil. Advertisers pay sites to run their ads. Sites need ad revenue to stay afloat. But users hate ads. So Google is offering a new solution: Cut out the middle man and let users pay the sites directly.
Google is calling its new ad-blocking service, Contributor, "an experiment in additional ways to fund the web."
Working with a handful of websites, including Mashable, the Onion, Science Daily, wikiHow, Imgur and Urban Dictionary, Google is offering subscriptions for $1, $2 or $3 per month that will block AdSense advertising on those sites, replacing them with a subtle gray box and a note that says, "Thank you for being a contributor."
Part of the subscription fee goes to support the site you're visiting. A remaining portion, presumably, would go to Google. Under the standard AdSense agreement, the company pays publishers 68 percent of the revenue generated by the targeted ads.
As with many Google products, the service is invitation-only for now, but interested "contributors" can sign up for the wait list. "It gives you the idea that Google is going to try this out with a select group of people, test the waters, see how it does and then maybe move on from there," CNET senior editor Jeff Bakalar told CBS News.