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Paywall Alternative – Google Microsurveys

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Monday April 2, 2012 )

Folks generally hate paying for content. Publishers like making money with as little effort as possible. Put these aspects together, plus a new twist from Google and microsurveys may be a nice little earner where everyone wins.

As an alternative to paywalls (where you have to pay to access content), Google is trialling a new option – accessing premium content by responding to microsurveys.

According to Google:

“When a site has implemented this option, you’ll see a prompt that offers you a choice between answering a market research question or completing another action specified by the publisher (such as signing up for an account or purchasing access).”

Publishers are paid for hosting the surveys. Google sells the information it gathers to others; but reassures consumers the responses are completely anonymous, are not tied to a user’s identity or used to target ads.

The microsurveys feed into Google Consumer Surveys. Unlike a lot of market research services, Google appears to be targeting the little guys of the online world as well as the multinationals with the service.

A few larger sites are already trialling the feature. If you’re interested in running microsurveys on your site, you can register your interest here.

I’m not sure what Google has in mind in terms of eligible sites as no criteria is provided at this point; nor was I able to determine how much the company pays for hosting the surveys. However, on the Google Consumer Surveys site, it states the cost to buy info *starts* at 10c per response. I’m only guessing based on AdSense, but I’d say G would be paying publishers a 60/40 or 50/50 revenue split.

Assuming the bucks are okay and the terms are workable, I think this is a great idea. People are generally happier to click on something or tap out a few words rather than have to whip out their wallets; and publishers often rather spend their time crafting quality content instead of messing around with chasing advertisers and affiliate programs.


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