Those involved in the Google Contributor program are receiving emails stating the service is shutting down in January 2017 as it undergoes an upgrade.
Google Contributor is a program run by Google that allows users in the Google Network of content sites to view the websites without any advertisements that are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.
The program started with prominent websites, like The Onion and Mashable among others, to test this service. After November 2015, the program opened up to any publisher who displayed ads on their websites through Google AdSense without requiring any sign-on from publishers.
Google Contributor was first launched to all publishers in November 2015, and allowed users to make monthly financial contributions in exchange for seeing fewer Google ads on websites. If a Google Contributor visited a website that was displaying Google ads, the website owner would receive a small portion of the proceeds.
Participants in the program were required to contribute a minimum $6.99 per month up to a maximum of $14.99. The money was used to “bid” on ad spots just like any other ad auction. If the Contributor won the bid, they would see a block with a thank-you message and the ad publisher would be compensated as normal.
As of mid-January, Contributors will no longer be billed and the program in its current form is coming to an end. A new Contributor program is on the way “early next year”, with no further details other than it will be an improvement over the old one.