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Google's New Microsurvey Positioned as Alternative to Ads, Paywall

Several publishers, including Texas Tribune, the Star Tribune and Adweek have been among the firms to try out a new microsurvey option quietly launched by Google this week.

The new tool represents a promising new revenue stream for online news organizations, Journalism.Co notes, pointing out that Google positions it as an alternative to ads.

The survey renders as a box to the reader, which contains a question. Their answer provides information that Google can sell to market research companies. It is a variation of the ad format in which readers, who are not subscribers to a publication, are given the choice of paying for content or watching a brief ad.

Mashable has reported that publishers are paid $0.05 for every response.

Resistance Grows as Paywalls Rise
The format is also an alternative to paywalls, a device that readers are increasingly coming to resist.  Eight in 10 US adults are willing to pay “nothing” per month to read a daily newspaper’s content online, according to an Adweek/Harris Poll conducted in March 2011. Of the one in five who would pay, 14% said they would pay between $1 and $10 per month while very few said that they would be willing to pay between $11 and $20 (4%) or more than $20 per month (2%).

The poll data also indicates that while online paywalls are becoming more common, fewer people say they would be willing to pay to read content online now than said so in December 2009. Only 20% say they would be willing to pay for a daily newspaper’s content online today, compared to 23% who said so in December 2009.

In December 2009, respondents also showed an overwhelming willingness to only pay between $1 and $10 per month to read online daily newspaper content.

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