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Google to Pay Bloggers

Looking to lure new users to its Blogger publishing platform, Google plans to give up a slice of its own advertising pie.

The search technology darling announced plans to share the profits from its AdSense self-service program that helps publishers serve up contextual advertising. The move is a significant departure from Google's previous policy of keeping all its revenues earned from AdSense displayed on freely hosted blogs.

Since acquiring the Blogger "push-button" Web publishing platform in February 2003, Google has scrapped a paid version of the product and implemented a major redesign.

In recent weeks, the company removed the advertising from the free Blog*Spot blogs, replacing it with a navigation bar and a search box that redirects to Google.

Now, Google plans to revert to contextual ads powered by its AdSense program, which was launched last June, with a major twist.

"We are going to start paying bloggers. Soon you will be blogging for dollars. That's right people, chocolate is to peanut butter like AdSense is to blogs. Or is it the other way around? Either way, we've got something big here folks," the company said in a note posted online.

"We were making money from those ads, but you weren't getting any of it. Now, we're inviting you to set up your own Bloggerized AdSense account so that you make the money. What's the catch? We're going to take some of the action. Based on what we have learned from AdSense so far, this will work out very nicely for both of us," the company said.

Google did not say how much of the split will be shared with bloggers.

Blogger users will be able to customize the appearance of the AdSense ads that appear on their weblogs and will have access to an admin interface to keep track of money earned.

The move to pay bloggers is sure to give Google a leg up on rivals in the space, notably Movable Type's fee-based TypePad service.