Google has been announcing more and more updates across its products this week, but this latest update comes not from the company itself, but from one of their partners in their new venture.
Adweek.com is today reporting that Google are releasing a new product called "Google Customer Surveysâ€, which may help publishers make money on their online content. Adweek say that the product is being seen as an alternative to having a paywall on a site, and the surveys will work in the following way,
"...when users visit the Web sites of partners like the New York Daily News and the Texas Tribune, they'll find some articles partially blocked. If they want to continue reading, they'll have to answer a question, or microsurvey, courtesy of Google.
The multiple-choice questions will be on market research, along the lines of 'Which of these types of candies do you usually buy for your household?" The choices for that question include 'None, Hard candies, Jellies, Licorice, Toffees.'"
Advertisers will pay Google to host the surveys, and the sites will receive 5 cents per response from Google. It will be interesting to see how readers respond to these questions – it's possible that the questions will annoy them and they'll end up leaving the page rather than answering to get through to the content.
Of course, there is also the possibility that people won't give much credence to the one-off question, and select an untruthful answer, and the information gleaned will therefore not be accurate. But it appears Google have anticipated this possibility and have done some work to combat it,
"[Google project manager Paul] McDonald said that Google is taking steps to make the questions as engaging as possible. And if users start to just answer the first question on each page, or answer too quickly, the program will pick up on that and force readers to answer new questions.â€
The surveys are not in place on the site yet, and a message from Adweek's editors puts the decision to partner with Google simply - "we need to monetize our digital assets to ensure that the Adweek brand continues to be a vibrant going concern." It will be interesting to see how readers react to these changes, and if other publications will come on board.