Brave, an ad-blocking browser launched in 2016 rolled out an update yesterday called Brave Ads that allows users to opt-in to view ads. Techcrunch reported that users who participate in the program will receive 70% of the revenue generated by the ads they see.
“Changing the paradigm of digital advertising”
Brave rewards its users with Basic Attention Tokens (BAT), a cryptocurrency that they can share with their favorite publishers. In the future, the company plans to make provisions for users to exchange their BATs for gift cards and hotel stays, or encash it through exchanges like Coinbase and Uphold.
Future plans of the company also include working with publishers who want to run ads when their site is viewed on the browser. The earnings will then be split between Brave, the publisher and the user.
Brave is changing the paradigm of digital advertising where consumers are fairly rewarded for their attention.Lin Dai, CEO of TAP Network
“A private ad system”
Brave wants to reframe the relationship between digital publishers, advertisers, and users with the browser being at the center of the advertising experience. “Ads have become spyware. We think we have a better technique,” CEO of Brave Software, Brendan Eich told CNET.
Brave Ads will only be displayed to users who opt-in to the Brave Rewards program and agree to view ads. They will appear as desktop notifications which users can click to be taken to the content.
Brave will monitor users’ browsing and attention behavior anonymously. All user data will reside in the browser and won’t be sent to Brave, advertisers, publishers or any middle-men.
“It’s a private ad system that doesn’t involve tracking on the front side. It can pick ads that are specific to you based on your browser data,” said Eich. The browser uses machine learning to deliver ads.
We turn tracking on its head.Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave Software
Users accumulate BATs as they view ads and receive 70% of the ad revenue share “as a reward for their attention.” They can donate their revenue share to specific publishers they wish to support.
The way Eich sees it, Brave can be a win-win solution for all parties involved—users get more privacy and also get paid, the browser creator, as well as publishers, get paid, and advertisers can serve ads without violating European privacy regulations.
“A browser with the user steering it”
TechCrunch reported that the company saw about 40% of its beta users and developers opt-in to the Brave Ads program. While some users may simply want to use the browser for its ad-blocking capabilities, Eich suggests that the more “ecologically minded ones” would like to participate, instead of getting a “free ride.”
A lot of users don’t want to cash out. It’s not a huge amount of value for most people, so they may prefer to just use it to give back. And that’s the real idea: A browser with the user steering it is replacing the ad tech complex.Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave Software
The road ahead
So will Brave be able to change the dynamics of the market? That remains to be seen, but it’s going to be an uphill battle against well-established competitors like Chrome and Firefox, the adtech ecosystem, as well as user habits.
Currently, it has nearly 6 million users and according to Eich, they should reach 10 million this summer. But that’s a long way from Chrome’s billion-plus users and Firefox’s 264 million.
What’s notable is, according to FastCompany, Brave users grew from 1m to 5.5m during 2018. And that growth came mainly through word of mouth.
For now, users in the US, Canada, France, Germany, and the UK can access Brave Ads through its desktop browser for macOS, Windows, and Linux. It will be coming to iOS and Android apps in the coming months.
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