Mardi 17 avril 2018
The Problem(s) with AdsIn the internet’s early days, web users only had to deal with the occasional banner every now and then. Today, ads are everywhere, all the time. We have banner ads, wallpaper ads, search ads, interstitial ads, video ads, pop-up ads, email ads, newsfeed ads — and much, much more. To make matters worse, advertisements are no longer confined to our web browsers. They appear on most internet-connected mobile games and applications as well. In addition to being inundated with ads everywhere we go, we’re also being tracked. Most websites use third-party trackers to monitor your activity in a wide variety of ways and use that data to build up a unique “fingerprint” that can be used to identify you regardless of where you go on the web, and regardless of what device you browse on. Right now, as you read this article, there’s likely around 40 different trackers watching what you do and harvesting data about your activity. This isn’t unusual, either. In fact, it’s the norm. Worst of all? You’re paying for this to happen. Every targeted advertisement you see on your smartphone is likely bounced through a variety of ad exchange networks, buy- and sell-side servers, placement verification services, and data management platforms, before reaching your device. These data transfers do more than make pages load slower. They also eat into your data plan and drain your battery. It costs you a fraction of a cent per ad, but those fractions add up. A report from the New York Times found that 50 percent of mobile data transferred during visits to popular news websites was a result of ads. Depending on the cost of your mobile data plan, that means you could be paying up to $23 per month just to see ads you never asked for.
Growing painsEich’s blockchain-based ad exchange system is still under construction. He and his team are rolling it out in phases. Right now, they’re in phase two of three. Phase one was the Brave browser, phase two was Basic Attention Token, and phase three involves reintroducing ads that users are paid to view — but we’ll get into that last part in a moment.
BAT not only allows you to literally pay attention to websites, but also get paidfor your attention.Brave’s creators know that only a small percentage of users will opt in to this voluntary payment system. “We don’t expect most people to do this,” Eich admitted. To supplement the system, Brave also introduced a stimulus package in 2017 to incentivize early adoption and coax new users onto the platform. After Basic Attention Token’s explosive ICO (which raised over $35 million in 30 seconds), Brave set 500 million BAT aside for the “user growth pool.” “We created 500 million BAT,” Eich continues, “that we can then use to give to users to put change in their pocket from the get-go, which they can use to reward creators who refer new users to us. If those new users browse for 30 days with us, then that automatically causes the U.S. equivalent of five dollars in Basic Attention Tokens to go to the creator who referred them.” The plan seems to be working. Brave now boasts about 1.4 million active daily users, and it’s getting bigger every day. But to truly disrupt the current ad-based internet model and supplant it with a newer, fairer, blockchain-based ad exchange, Brave needs to roll out the rest of the platform.
Reintroducing ads: the last piece of the puzzleThe next piece of the puzzle is reintroducing ads in a more controlled, efficient, and private manner than what currently exists on the internet. Brave will soon let you opt in to seeing a small number of advertisements, which will appear in either a private tab, or an in-browser notification. Brave plans to allow some ads on publisher pages, but the first rollout will be user-private ads. It’s important to note, though, that these ads will not be “targeted” in the same way that current online ads are. “Instead of sending out tracking signals to allow advertisers to buy access to your attention, we bring an objective catalogue — one per region and natural language that you live in — to your machine,” Eich explains. “It doesn’t fingerprint you to download the catalogue. […] When you opt-in to this — it’s consent-based, and not on by default — you will get one private ad per day, in a tab, at the right time and place.” Any ads that you choose to allow in Brave will be relevant to you. They just won’t rely on fingerprinting and tracking services to stalk you and figure out what you might be interested in buying. It’s a completely different system. The best part? Thanks to Brave and BAT, you’ll get paid for the ads you pay attention to. In the case of user-private ads loaded in a separate browser tab, you’d get 70 percent of what the advertiser spent to serve that ad to you, while Brave takes the remaining 30.
BAT has the potential to fundamentally change how you use the internet.Eventually, Brave will let publishers sell ad space. “If publishers want to do ads in their space that we block,” Eich explains, “with their consent, and with the user’s consent, we will give 15 percent to the user, we’ll take 15 percent, and we’ll give 70 percent to the publisher. We’ll always give 70 to the owner of the ad space — be that the user or the publisher — if they’re willing to do a deal with us.” Later, when the platform is finished, Brave will let you “cash out” and convert BAT into dollars, bitcoins, or any other currency. By default, though, the Brave Payments system is built to take a user-specified amount from your wallet and redistribute it to the websites you visit most over the next 30 days — thus completing the cycle from advertiser to user to publisher, and helping the system go, as Eich puts it, “steady state.” Once Brave is complete, it will provide an alternative path through which you can explore the internet. One where you can wander freely, without being tracked, without being bombarded with ads, and without screwing over publishers by blocking the ads that bring them revenue.