Google Customer Survey questions are an offbeat alternative to a paywall

Adweek | paidContent

Speaking at the Guardian's Open Weekend event, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger asked readers what they'd be willing to give in exchange for the paper's journalism: money, time or data.

Rusbridger, do I ever have an economic model to throw out at your next chat. Google Customer Surveys are these odd wee questions that interrupt articles at sites that employ them. You tell the box what you like about movie theaters, for example, and then you can read about someone accused of making bomb threats to local schools.

"What’s in it for publishers?" writes Mike Shields in AdWeek. "Advertisers pay Google to run the surveys, and Google pays sites 5 cents per response. For sites with a lot of traffic, that can add up to serious cash." Google's customers, writes Laura Hazard Owen, "create surveys and select the audience who will see the questions. Questions seen by a broad audience representing the general U.S. population are $0.10 per response (with a minimum total cost of $100). If companies want to drill down by demographic or select a custom audience with a screening question, the cost is $0.50 per response."

I'm not clear on the research purpose being served by the questions I've seen so far, which are kind of quirky and are really easy to find on The Lima News' site and a bit trickier to encounter on the other partner sites Shields mentions: the Texas Tribune (clearly another attempt to destroy for-profit journalism!), AdWeek and the New York Daily News. || Related: New York Times moves paywall to 10 articles per month (Poynter) | Earlier: Spot.Us experiments with user-directed sponsorship revenue (Poynter)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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