Contributor represents the easiest way out of our adtech dystopia, and it’s a shame that it was discontinued

I paid for Contributor when it existed, because it represented a small-scale change in incentives. (A big flaw is that Contributor would never, even at the highest rates, replace all ads. If it replaced all ads, it would mean that most of the reasons for running ad blockers would go away.) Contributor doesn’t fix the incentive to split long articles into many small pages, but it fixes the incentive toward disruptive and annoying ads, while lowering the barrier for transitioning from ad-driven to micropayment-driven monetization. After all, the mechanisms and rates don’t change (unlike something like Youtube Red, where youtubers get paid based on a totally different algorithm for Red subscribers than for ad impressions).

Contributor was discontinued around the time Youtube Red had its first big marketing push — which is funny, since Contributor never affected youtube ads.

My ideal model for something like Contributor would be a system by which I pay (from some store of escrowed credit) exactly the fees that the system would normally charge advertisers for the ads that I would be seeing. I would be charged when my pool of credit went below some minimum balance. Revenue from my adsense account would optionally go into that same pool. Google seems to have the capacity to implement it this way, although maybe there’s some complexity in the ad-bidding system or in contracts that I’m missing.

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software.

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