Chances are good that most of your favorite websites are almost entirely supported by advertising. In exchange for free content, the thinking goes, you have to view some ads — but Google is trying to shake up that model a bit with a new system it's calling Contributor. Instead of dealing with ads, those who use Contributor will donate between $1 and $3 a month to see Contributor partner sites without any advertising. That money goes to the participating sites, though it's not clear if Google is taking a cut — or if you'll need to donate that much per site you visit.
As of today, only a handful of partners have been announced by Google: Mashable, The Onion, Science Daily, Imgur, WikiHow, and Urban Dictionary. However, Google claims that these sites represent only a "few" of the partnering sites for Contributor, though there's no word on who else is taking part yet. If you're interested in trying out Contributor, you can sign up to join the waitlist now. Once you've signed in and paid your monthly dues, the participating sites will show thank you messages or pixel patterns instead of ads.
Given how much of Google's business is based on online advertising, participating in a movement that reduces ad impressions is a pretty surprising move for Google. That said, it's far too early to say whether Google's plan will catch on, but there's no doubt it's an interesting step into the murky waters of getting paid for online content.