I’ll start by saying that if you were hoping for some critical review or a critique of the program’s shortfalls, you’ve come to the wrong place. I love the service.
Case in point: until this week, I hadn’t visited its settings pages since around the time I posted my first appreciation: https://i.ethitter.com/2015/06/google-contributor-is-awesome/. Its simplicity is to blame.
Contributor is absolutely one of those “set it and forget it” services. It provides all of three options: how much to contribute, what to replace ads with, and where to replace ads. Okay, four if one counts the option to stop using Contributor.
First, choose an amount:
Then, review a few settings:
Monthly contributions range from $1 to $15, but if one doesn’t visit enough sites in a month to spend that amount, Google refunds the overage. This is a recent change, but gives me even more confidence to choose the $15 tier knowing that I won’t lose that investment.
A distinct advantage Contributor has over ad blockers is its association with my Google account. Regardless of browser or device, as long as I’m signed in to my account, Contributor takes effect. This is particularly nice on mobile.
Spending Details & Blocking Sites
Besides settings, the Contributor interface reports which sites it’s been used on and how much of my contribution each site received. It also tallies the number of ads removed.
The reporting is interesting, while also providing the option to disable Contributor on specific sites. Clicking on any entry in the list displays a prompt with two options as to why I’d want to block Contributor: “It used too much of my contribution” or “Other.” That’s it. “Other” does accept additional details, but they’re optional.
Currently, Contributor is an invite-only beta, but Google’s been generous with invitations for current users to distribute. That said, it’s only available in the US, and it doesn’t work with Google Apps accounts.
If you’d like an invite, submit your Gmail address using the form below. Don’t worry, I won’t use your address for anything other than sending a Contributor invite; we both have better things to do with our time.
Google is relaunching the Contributor program, making invites unavailable.
After nearly a year with the service, I can honestly say that the money I’ve spent has been worth it. Being able to visit sites without myriad ads flashing, dancing, and screaming for my attention has been quite refreshing. Compared to an ad blocker, I feel no guilt about the lack of ads on my local newspaper’s site, or on any of the other domains that’ve benefited. And again, the portability that comes with it being associated with my Google account is unbeatable. I do hope that Google moves the service out of beta and expands it to other countries.