Google Contributor lets you pay to hide adverts on websites
Online ads have been seen as the scourge of the web since they were first dreamed up. There are various ways you can avoid them, but they exist for a reason -- to generate revenue. Google may have come up with a solution that keeps everyone happy, website owners and visitors alike. Google Contributor is described as "an experiment in additional ways to fund the web" and it makes it possible to kill ads without killing revenue.
It's invite only at the moment, but once Google Contributor is properly up and running, web users will be invited to make a monthly "contribution". This will enable them to browse participating sites without being bothered by ads; instead you'll see a thank you message or just empty space.
This basically amounts to turning the web into a subscription service, and it appears that Google is looking to keep costs down. Ad-haters can pay between $1 and $3 -- the choice is theirs -- and Google says that "the more you contribute, the more you support the websites you visit". At the moment the list of sites making use of Contributor is pretty small, but there are already some big names on there -- The Onion, Mashable and imgur, for example.
Invites have been sent out to a limited number of people, and if you're interested in paying to cut back on your ad intake, you can add yourself to the waiting list. This new method of website monetization is an extension of the idea of micro-payments that have made in-app purchases such a success. The fact that web users are free to set their own subscription level is likely to be well-received, as is multiple sites being covered by a single payment.
Is this a scheme you'd be happy to pay out for?