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BizReport : Advertising archives : November 25, 2014

How does $1-$3 per month sound for an ad-free Internet experience?

Google is running an experiment that aims to find an additional way to fund the Internet. The program, called Contributor, asks that consumers pay a small amount per month to avoid seeing advertisements on participating websites.

by Helen Leggatt

Recent research in the UK by video ad platform Ebuzzing revealed that the price Internet users would need to pay to have an ad-free Internet experience would be $232.24 (£140) per year. The value was arrived at by calculating the average value of each Internet user by taking the amount spent on digital advertising in the U.K. last year - $10.6 billion (£6.4 billion) and dividing it by the number of Internet users in the country (45 million).

However, when the amount was suggested to consumers pretty much all of them said they would rather tolerate ads than pay up. It's clearly the cost that is off-putting because it's evident British Internet users don't enjoy the online ad experience. Nearly two-thirds (63%) skip video ads "as quickly as possible", rising to 75% among 16-24 year olds, while a quarter mute sound and 1 in 5 scroll to avoid video. Another 16% use ad-blocking software - a surprisingly low number.

Now Google has entered the fray, announcing an experiment taking place with 10 web publishers including The Onion, Mashable, Urban Dictionary and Imugr. Called Contributor, the program will ask visitors to participating websites for a far more reasonably priced contribution of $1 to $3 per month, a portion of which will go to Google and a portion to the website. To trigger the ad-free experience, users simply log on to the service via their Google account and, instead of seeing ads they will instead see a 'thank you' message displayed where an ad might have been.

With free, ad-supported content the life-blood of the Internet, and a general dislike of ads cluttering websites and distracting web users, it will be interesting to see what the uptake of Google Contributor is like.

Tags: advertising, Google, research

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