General

Protection Racket

by Andy Polaine on November 25, 2014

in General

On Thursday, Google launches a new service called Contributor that Gigaom bills as “a crowdfunding platform for publishers.” According to Gigaom, the program is “designed to allow web users to pay sites that they visit a monthly fee, and in return see no Google ads when they visit those sites.”

Google still takes a cut of that revenue, so now they get their money either way. In other words, the lack of click throughs become irrelevant. Readers see a thank you message or, possibly, no ads at all.

In what way is this “crowdfunding”? It’s simply a subscription model, only worse. Google are heavily responsible for the web being filled with the cruft of their poorly designed ads. Now publishers have an incentive to fill their pages with more of them, just so users will pay to turn them off.

Think of the reverse-UX behind that for a moment: “We know these ads are annoying, but instead of making them less annoying, we see an opportunity to charge people for ignoring them.” Of course, they’ll get some useful data out of that too.

It’s a protection racket. “Nice webpage you’re reading here, pal. It would be a shame if someone filled it with ads.”

launchlabsplan

“At home you feel lonely and at the office you get nothing done.”

True words from my friend and frequent collaborator, Andreas Erbe, from Launchlabs in Basel, although in my case, “at home you get nothing done and at the office you feel lonely,” is also true.

Andreas and his colleague Tiziana Meletta have launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Swiss crowdfunding platform, wemakeit.com. They are building a co-working, co-creation and innovation space at Gundeldinger Feld in Basel and need some help reaching their final goal.

They are creating a “place where you can choose either to work alone, with a colleague, co-create in a team or host an event.” Pledges range from a 10 CHF trip on their crane right up to 5,000 CHF for a lifetime workspace. That’s pretty good when you consider you would spend that on about three months’ office rent in Switzerland.

Please consider backing them, you can either head directly to the funding page or use the embedded version below. The video is in German, but subtitled in English (Andreas is half English, half Swiss, so feel free to fire off questions in either language).

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