Google-powered, reader-antagonistic, content-obscuring survey-ads: W-T-F?

I’ve seen something like this a few times on a dictionary website, where the text on the page has been replaced by gray boxes. There’s nothing more aggravating than looking up a word only to find the definition permanently obscured unless I interact with an ad. Merriam AND Webster must be rolling in their graves.

So you can only imagine my disappointment to find the bottom third of a local news article (that I had recently linked to) obscured in a similar manner. But what surprised me the most was to learn it was powered by Google! Really Google? Really!?

Here’s a screenshot of the survey in situ:

Google-powered, reader-antagonistic, content-obscuring survey-ads

Here’s a closer view of the survey in context:

Google-powered, reader-antagonistic, content-obscuring survey-ads

The funny thing is, the question doesn’t even make sense! Is this survey specific to me, is it random, is it specific to the website? I have no clue.

I want a brand/identity website that’s always up-to-date and I don’t have to write code.

  • No, it’s not important to me
  • Yes, I’d pay if I can customize it
  • Yes, but for free and ads are OK
  • Yes, and I’d pay 9.99/mo
  • Yes, and I’d pay 4.99/mo

When you click “learn more” the following message pops up:

Learn More pop-up from Google-powered, reader-antagonistic, content-obscuring survey-ads

Here’s the text from the pop-up (with links intact) for posterity:

Why am I being asked this question?

The website you are visiting is using a survey, powered by Google, to enable access to its paid content. Answering a quick question here gives you immediate access to the content you want without having to pull out your wallet or sign in. These surveys contain questions written and provided by survey creators that want to conduct market research. The website you’re visiting earns money from the surveys that appear. This service makes market research fast, accurate, and affordable, helps to fund great web content and enables you easily and quickly get access to it.

Your answer is anonymous and is aggregated with all other anonymous answers to the question. It’s not connected with any information about you, and is not used to develop a profile or to deliver ads. Once the survey is complete, an aggregated report is provided to the survey creator about the specific question it asked. Like ads on the web, some surveys may be delivered to you based on the interests and inferred demographics associated with your browser. You can click here to review or edit these, or to opt-out.

Learn more about Google Consumer Surveys or Google’s privacy policy.

Here’s a video about Google Consumer Surveys: