Mini-Teardown: Google Contributor

Friday, January 9, 2015


This article is part of a series of pricing teardowns for companies and their products. I have no private information about their profitability, no knowledge of their business goals and (possibly) no particular background in their industries. I intentionally avoid performing research on what others have said as well as writing in the companies' blog posts and twitter feeds. I do this so as to ensure that my evaluation is based entirely upon their websites. As such, this analysis may contain invalid assumptions and plenty of guesswork. Fortunately, this makes the resulting analysis much more fun.

As a long-time Google user, I was intrigued when I came across a new service that it launched: Contributor by Google. It represents yet another attempt by companies to launch a mirco-funding service ensuring that content publishers are rewarded for their hard work.

I'm confident that Contributor by Google will see the same long-term dominance that Google Reader experienced. Oh, Google canceled Reader in 2013? Yes, Contributor will be canceled too. Just wait.

man reading a newspaper
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Google is launching its Contributor service with fewer than a dozen hand-picked websites supported. Users can sign up with Google at payment levels of $1, $2 or $3 per month. Every so often, Google plans to monitor each contributor's visits to participating sites and divvy up the cash (minus its unspecified cut) as it sees fit.

This is a somewhat improved version of Beacon Reader's model, but I still have some serious reservations about the success of this implementation.

Nice try, Google. I just don't see how it's going to work. In any case, since Google didn't invite me to join this program, I have to continue to monetize this pricing website via sales of my book on software pricing and my exceptional business consulting services.