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Brave Browser Seeks to Revamp Web Ad Revenue Model Using Bitcoin

Brendan Eich, co-founder of Mozilla and creator of the JavaScript programming language, has developed a new browser that will block unwanted web ads and replace them with ads generated by Brave. Eich’s goal is to make the browsing experience easier, to allow users to see ads they are more likely to want to see, and to enable all parties to receive revenue in the process. The last part of this ambitious proposition – remuneration – is where bitcoin comes in. Brave will pay advertisers, users, agencies and publishers in bitcoin.

The company has released a developer version of Brave for early adopters and testers. The software is available at Brave.com and the software repository Github.

Brave Partners With BigGo

According to its website, Brave is partnering with BitGo for bitcoin wallets and identity services. Brave plans to use bitcoin only for permissionless payment delivery to user and publisher wallets. The plan is to keep funds in bitcoin only in monthly payment buffers to minimize volatility.

Eich noted that user browsing habits will be surveilled to the best of the ad ecosystem players’ abilities. Thanks to tracking options that are inevitable with the web, a user’s private behavior and browsing intent signals can be extracted via their browser.

Blockers can make the user experience of the web much better. But with enough people blocking ads, the web’s main funding model is in jeopardy.

Giving Users A 'Fair Deal'

“At Brave, we’re building a solution designed to avert war and give users the fair deal they deserve for coming to the web to browse and contribute,” Eich noted in explaining Brave on the website. “We are building a new browser and a connected private cloud service with anonymous ads.”

To this end, Brave has released the 0.7 developer version for early adopters and testers.

Brave browsers block everything: impression tracking pixels, ad-click confirmation signals, and initial signaling/analytics scripts that start the programmatic advertising. Brave will insert ads only in a few standard-sized spaces. It will find those spaces via a cloud robot.
Brave does not require publishers to partner with it before replacing ads, the website’s FAQ page notes.

Instead, Brave blocks without reference to any business relationships. “We will not take ‘pay to play’ money from advertisers or publishers, or extort publishers with blocking threats. Our goal is to make better revenue for all publishers, and give users better ads and control of their data.”

Users will be able to turn off both ad blocking and ad replacement.

How Brave Paves New Ground

The concept of blocking ads and replacing them with other ads is not new, according to mediapost. “Ad injector” models that block ads sold by publishers and redirect them to ads sold by the software developer have existed for years, but they have been largely exploited by nefarious characters and their operating models usually are not made explicit to users who download their software.

Brave is making its bypass-and-redirect model totally explicit to users, advertisers and publishers, mediapost noted. More importantly, Brave is offering to share the revenue it generates with all the parties. It will deliver the majority of the revenue to publishers based on the user’s browsing preferences.

Brave is also exploring pay-wall models to let users pay publishers directly. The purpose of the new browser platform is to give users more control than they’ve been getting from browsers, in addition to finding an economical solution to ad blocking.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Last modified (UTC): January 26, 2016 11:56 PM

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Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.

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