A couple years back Google announced an invite-only program called Contributor. It was basically a small scale experiment to see if sites and services on the web could be sustained by small monthly payments from users instead of ads, which meant paying users could avoid seeing advertisements from Google ads on partner pages.
For whatever reason, it never really took off and Google decided to completely cancel the service pretty recently after refunding all of its users. They didn’t say whether or not it was a success, just that Contributor was gone and it would be replaced with something soon.
Well, it hasn’t been replaced yet, but now there’s a brand new early tester sign up page for Google Contributor, indicating that the service will likely be reborn with the same name. The title of the page literally says “Signups disabled” but the form on the page still works, so this one’s definitely going to be spending some more time in the oven until Google is ready to announce something about it. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that, though, since it would really make sense for Google to kill off a service, then immediately relaunch it with identical features and the same name.
Until then, we can only speculate what Google is thinking of trying to help sustain websites. The previous iteration of Contributor allowed users to pay up to $3 per month and each time they would normally be displayed a Google ad, the page would instead deduct a small payment from that monthly payment then pixelate the ad on the page. It wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly an interesting experiment that I’m hoping we haven’t seen the last of.
source: Google Contributor