My Google Contributor experience

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:

Google Contributor: choose monthly payment
Google Contributor: choose monthly payment

Then, review a few settings:

Google Contributor: settings
Google Contributor: 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.

Google Contributor: ads removed, and spending by site
Google Contributor: ads removed, and spending by site

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.

Invites

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.

Conclusions

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.

4 thoughts on “My Google Contributor experience”

  1. Funny you like it. I had it for 4 months and cancelled. I didn’t see the point and loaded uBlock Origin to handle any of the ads instead. I’m cheap though.. =)

    1. Ironic that someone who makes his living worsening the web with ads would then choose to run a blocker. 🙂

      That said, I really do appreciate that Contributor works on mobile, where most ad blockers don’t. I also feel better knowing that the sites I’m visiting still get paid, because that’s a necessary part of the free- and freemium model that runs the web now.

      1. Yeah I know and agree but at the end of the day I achieve the same or better results than you on most sites… and… for free 😛

        1. …achieve the same or better results than you on most sites…

          On Facebook, perhaps, but otherwise, it’s largely a push given the ubiquity of Google’s ad network. Other than FB, do any other display ad networks still exist that aren’t owned by Google? 😀

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