A legitimate ad blocker?

Pretty cool new idea from Google. It’s called Contributor, and it allows users to pay not to see ads on the web.

Internet advertising works on a cost-per-view (or cost-per-click) basis. So if you’re browsing Salon.com and click on the Roto-Rooter ad, Salon gets, say, 50¢. (And Google takes a cut, too.)

With Google Contributor, you can pay Salon.com 50¢ direct, in exchange for an add-free reading experience. It all works on a budget system. So if you only want to spend $1/month, under this costly scenario, you’ll only get your ads blocked twice.

This could be great for media companies, as ad blockers become ever more common and the revenue from ads falls as a result.

It’s important to note: This only applies to ads served by Google. (Which is a lot of the web’s ads.)

Check out the story from On the Media below. It includes an interview with the Contributor product manager.

Friday Link List

1. Speak Up! Advertisers Want You To Talk With New Apps {npr}.

This ain’t creepy…

When I opened it, the app asked me a question: What’s your favorite type of liquor? That’s a little forward, but it’s Esquire so I played along and told the app that I’m more of a beer drinker…

Before I knew it, I found myself engrossed in a chat about booze. I was talking to recordings of Wondrich, and he, or really the app, was listening to what I said and answering me back.

2. The Empty Air: mobile app offers sound tour through Rittenhouse Square {technically philly}.

This seems neat but I may be too self conscious to actually give it a whirl.

Called “The Empty Air” and successfully crowdfunded last fall, the app uses GPS to control what you hear as you walk through the park. Kiley created the original musical piece using sounds he recorded in the park.

3. Vast ‘Digital Public Library Of America’ Opens Today {npr}.

The Digital Public Library of America, intended to provide free open access to materials from libraries, museums, universities and archives across the country, launches at noon ET on Thursday… Robert Darnton, Harvard University librarian and history professor, writes in The New York Review of Books that “at first, the DPLA’s offering will be limited to a rich variety of collections — books, manuscripts, and works of art — that have already been digitized in cultural institutions throughout the country. Around this core it will grow, gradually accumulating material of all kinds until it will function as a national digital library.”

The Paywall Revolution

Prolific blogger and gay Catholic conservative (not to blatantly reduce him to a narrow cultural stereotype or anything) Andrew Sullivan made a splash today when he announced that his popular blog will be once again striking out on its own, leaving its current home on Newsweek-owned Daily Beast website.

From the NPR story on the move:

Saying that [Sullivan] and his team want “to help build a new media environment that is not solely about advertising or profit above everything, but that is dedicated first to content and quality…”

He’ll be charging readers $20/year for full access to the site, although the paywall will be on the porous side—a la The New York Times’ recent paywall implementation. As Nieman Lab reported back in March 2011, when the Times’ paywall first launched:

Now, the Times paywall is, to a certain extent, defined by its leakiness. The various holes — external links from social media and search biggest among them — are no accident; they’re the result of some (correct, I say) thinking about hitting the right balance between fly-by and dedicated readers, between those who come in the front door and others who arrive from the side.

I think it’s more than just catering to certain audiences, although that’s certainly a practical concern. I think this is an extremely positive development, part of a larger movement back to the idea that readers should be an important part of journalism’s revenue model. It’s getting people in the mindset that good content is worth something, and is worth coughing up a little dough for every once in awhile.

So far, at least for Sullivan, it seems like it’s working.

And don’t worry, dear reader, this blog is just a hobby and I’ll never shut out my five readers with a paywall.

Writing Advertising

Linking to this story mostly because it reassures me and there’s a lot in it I relate to…

In my world, advertising was something a serious writer did before doing something important. Augusten Burroughs. Don DeLillo. Salman Rushdie, for God’s sake. These guys didn’t keep up their copywriting after they got famous. If anything, they lampooned it. It was like the laughably bad marriage they’d had when they were young.

“When I Sold Out to Advertising” {salon}.