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Exploring alternative funding models for the web

The online advertising ecosystem is broken. The majority of digital advertising revenue is going to a small handful of companies, leaving other publishers with scraps. Meanwhile users are on the receiving end of terrible experiences and pervasive tracking designed to get them to click on ads or share even more personal data.

Earlier this month, we shared our perspective about the need to find a better web ecosystem balance that puts publishers and users at the center of the online value exchange. For users, we began our efforts with curbing pervasive tracking as we believe that this is necessary to protect privacy as a fundamental human right. For publishers, we believe that these same measures will help shift long-term ecosystem incentives which are currently stripping value from publishers and fueling rampant ad fraud. However, it is important to acknowledge that such change can take time and that publishers are hurting today.

That’s why we’ve turned our attention toward finding a more sustainable ecosystem balance for publishers and users alike. But unlike other companies that would explore possible solutions behind closed doors, we’re transparent and experiment with new ideas in the open, especially when those ideas could have a significant impact on how the web ecosystems works, or fundamentally change the value exchange we have with the people who rely on our products and services. In 2019, we will continue to explore new product features and offerings, including our ongoing focus on identifying a more sustainable ecosystem balance for both publishers and users.

Product Explorations

As part of these product explorations small groups of browser users will be invited at random to respond to surveys, provide feedback and potentially test proposed new features, products or services. In addition, some explorations may involve partners who are working on product or service offerings targeted at this problem space. One such partner that we are collaborating with is Scroll.

Upcoming Collaboration with Scroll

Scroll is a consumer service powering an ad-free web that rewards great user experience and funds essential journalism. The service enables web users to pay for an ad-free experience on their favorite sites, across their devices. By enabling more direct funding of publishers, Scroll’s model may offer a compelling alternative in the ecosystem. We will be collaborating with Scroll to better understand consumer attitudes and interest towards an ad-free experience on the web as part of an alternative funding model.

Next Steps
We expect that these initiatives, and our collaboration with Scroll, will help shape our direction with respect to finding alternatives to the status quo advertising models. As always, we will continue to put users first and operate transparently as our explorations progress towards more concrete product plans. Stay tuned for more!