When Mozilla co-founder and former CEO Brendan Eich revealed the Brave Web browser back in January, the idea behind the browser was to block intrusive ads that slowed down the performance and the loading speed of a website. It also restricted the loading of other data collecting technologies such as analytics scripts and impression-tracking pixels. It would allow native, trackerless ads from publishers themselves, as well as non-intrusive safe optimised ads from Brave’s own ad network.
Last week, Eich detailed the company’s plan for a user-publisher-browser revenue sharing model for the Brave Ad Network, and the Bitcoin-based micro-payments system for users and publishers called the Brave Ledger. The move will see both users and publishers paid in Bitcoin for viewing and serving non-intrusive Brave Ad Network ads, and maintain Bitcoin-based Brave Wallets for payments. The company has released a developer specification of the Brave Ledger system for discussion, seeking to ensure a streamlined model that doesn’t present complexity to the user, while giving granularity and protecting privacy.
It’s all based on two basic states users can choose to be in – ad-replacement mode and ad-free mode. However, users can also specify certain sites that they want to view in ad-free mode, while viewing all remaining websites in ad-replacement mode.
While viewing sites in ad-replacement modes, users will be served ads on those sites where the browser detects an available non-intrusive ad slot from the Brave Ad Network. These ads are mapped to ‘a fixed set of general interest categories’, based on the user’s browsing history. ” No other information is disclosed and no unique or persistent identifiers are used,” Eich insists.
Users, ad-matching partners, publishers, and browsers are then paid from the total revenue generated from the advertiser. Eich explains, “Once an ad campaign is reconciled and our advertising partners pay us, the total views from the ad-replacement users are aggregated into a weighted list for publishers. From the total payment, our ad-matching partner takes a share (15 percent), we take our share (15 percent), we reserve the user revenue share of the total payment (15 percent) for ad-replacement users, and the remaining amount is allocated to the publishers (e.g., 55 percent). The payment to each publisher is then calculated using the weighted-ratio method.”
In the ad-free mode, users can choose to pay sites they are visiting with the money accrued in their Brave Wallet from the ad-replacement mode, or with funds they add to this wallet. The Brave browser will include preferences panel that will allow users to decide how they want to support the top 10 sites they visit. “You might prefer to pay your top 10 sites equally, or you might prefer to exclude a particular site or two, and so on,” the company adds.
Users can also transfer the Bitcoin money out of their wallets, but for that, they will have to verify their identity to comply with regulations. “If you choose to verify your identity, then you’ll need to demonstrate control of a phone number and an email address. Even so, there will be no way for Brave Software to correlate your browsing history with payments to your wallet,” Eich explains.
Publishers will also have to verify their wallets to get paid, and Eich warned the process will be more stringent than the user-facing one, and be proportional to the size of the publisher.
“One of the nice features of the ad-free model is that accounting is entirely transparent – everyone (users and publishers) can examine the BTC blockchain and see the transfers going to and from the Brave Software escrow accounts,” notes the company in a blog.