In January this year, Brave announced that it is previewing its new advertising feature, Brave Ads. It opened this feature to all users of its desktop browser for macOS, Windows, and Linux yesterday. Brave Ads is an opt-in digital advertising feature built with user privacy in mind.
Today we're launching the 1st ad platform built on privacy. Brave desktop browser (0.63.48) users who opt into Brave Ads receive 70% of ad revenue share. Brave puts the user in control, rewards them for their attention, and helps fund content creators. https://t.co/tBuiLV8QOL
— Brave Software (@brave) April 24, 2019
Previously, we have seen many pay-to-surf sites, but most of them eventually disappeared because of the dot-com bubble. However, Brendan Eich, the CEO, and co-founder of Brave software is pretty confident about his plan. He said, “With Brave Ads, we are launching a digital ad platform that is the first to protect users’ data rights and to reward them for their attention.”
He further adds, “Brave Ads also aims to improve the economics and conversion of the online advertising industry, so that publishers and advertisers can thrive without the intermediaries that collect huge fees and that contribute to web-wide surveillance. Privacy by design and no tracking are integral to our mission to fix the Web and its funding model.”
Brave is working with various ad networks and brands to create Brave ads catalog inventory. These catalogs are pushed to available devices on a recurring basis. The ads for these catalogs are supplied by Vice, Home Chef, Ternio BlockCard, MyCrypto, eToro, BuySellAds, TAP Network, AirSwap, Fluidity, and Uphold.
How Brave Ads work?
Brave is based on Chromium that blocks tracking scripts and other technologies that spy on your online activity. So advertisements are generally not shown by default when one uses the Brave browser. Now, Brave Ads puts users in control by allowing them to decide how many ads they would like to see. It ensures user privacy by doing ad matching directly on the users’ device so that their personal data is not leaked to anyone.
Out of the revenue generated by viewing these ads, users will get a 70% share and the remaining 30% will go to Brave. This 70% percent cut is estimated to be about $5 per month according to Eich. Users will be paid with Brave’s bitcoin-style “cryptocurrency” called Basic Attention Tokens (BAT). Users can claim these tokens at the close of every Brave Rewards monthly cycle.
To view Brave Ads, users are required to enable Brave Rewards by going to the Brave Rewards “setting” page (brave://rewards/). Those who are already using Brave Rewards will get a notification screen to enable this feature. Once a user opts into Brave Rewards, they are presented with offers in the form of notifications. When users click on these notifications, they will be directed to a full page ad in a new ad tab.
Right now, users can auto-contribute their earned rewards to their favorite websites or content creators. The browser will soon allow users to use BAT for premium content and also redeem it for real-world rewards such as hotel stays, restaurant vouchers, and gift cards. It also plans to bring an option that will let users convert their BAT into local fiat currency through exchange partners.
Brave Ads have received a very mixed reaction from the users. While some compare its advertising model with that of YouTube, others think that the implementation is unethical.
One user on Reddit commented, “This idea is very interesting. It reminds me of how YouTube shares their ad revenue with content creators, and that in turn grows YouTube’s network and business…The more one browsed or shared of their data, the more one would get paid. It’s simple business.” A skeptical user said, “I’m a fan of Brave’s mission, and the browser itself is great (basically Chromium but faster), but the practice of hiding publisher’s ads but showing their own, which may or may not end up compensating the publisher, seems fairly unethical.”
For more details, check out the official announcement by Brave.