According to an email sent to customers yesterday, Google will stop offering download-to-own and download-to-rent programs Aug. 15, a service which the search company has been offering since January of 2006. The move shows that Google has had less success than preferred in selling content, deriving 99% of its video revenue from free, ad-supported media. "The current change is a reaffirmation of our commitment to building our ad-supported monetization models for video," Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker said in an e-mail.
For purchases made before July 18, customers will be given bonuses on Google Checkout, allowing them to buy products on other Web sites, Stricker said. A cash refund will be given for purchases made after that date. The amount of the refunds is "not material" to earnings, Stricker said. Google's purchase of YouTube nine months ago catapulted Google's video traffic from seventh to first place.