As of January 15, users of the developer version of the Brave browser can opt in to see advertisements. The ability to earn Brave's native Basic Attention Token (BAT) will be added in "several weeks," Brave said on its beta channel. The select ad-viewing users will then earn 70 percent of the revenue share paid by participating advertisers.
Brave revealed it is working with a number of advertising networks and brands to test the functionality, including BuySellAds, TAP Network, AirSwap, Fluidity, and Uphold. Ads from Brave's system will then be fully integrated in Brave 1.0, the desktop browser for MacOS, Windows, and Linux, and its Android app, on its launch. The iOS version is not yet available.
Brave confirms that "as part of Brave Rewards, Brave Ads are opt in and always will be." The company promises that it will not display the reams of un-permissioned advertisements that come as standard when using browsers from the likes of Google and Microsoft – unless, of course, a user wishes to see them on the websites they browse while using Brave.
Advertisements in the "Brave Ads" program will be displayed as notifications; if a user clicks on one, they will see a full-page ad in a private tab. Ads on browsed websites will still be there, but the Brave browser will block these by default.
"Unlike conventional digital ads, ad matching happens directly on the user's device, so a user's data is never sent to anyone, including Brave. Accessing user attention no longer entails large scale user data collection."
It also confirms it has been working on user modelling to try to ensure ads are delivered at the right time "based on behaviour in the browser." In other words, the ads should be minimally disruptive.
What Is It Good for?
Brave plans to not only restore user privacy and flip the digital advertising market toward user control, but also to reward individual publishers, such as bloggers.
Brave Rewards, where BAT rewards are collated, is integrated in the Brave browser, and Brave Ads users will receive their BAT at the end of the calendar month. Brave says that BAT can be donated or used to tip content creators. Eventually, BAT earners will also be able to use their tokens for premium content or services.
User ads represent phase 1 of the Brave Ads roadmap. Phase 2 involves "publisher-integrated ads," in which Brave's 28,000 or so publishers can include ads on their websites or channels. These types of ads will pay 70 percent of the advertising revenue to the publishers, 15 percent to users, and the rest to Brave.
Brave hopes that it can provide a new model to publishers struggling to monetize quality content with "intermediaries that collect huge fees."
Brave already has 5.5 million users but that's much less than the volume enjoyed by its competitors. It faces an enormous challenge in confronting the existing digital advertising model enjoyed by Google, Microsoft, and others.
However, Brave also has a growing niche opportunity if internet users turn away from these companies over concerns about how their data is being used and profited from.
At minimum, there's already a desire to stop the stream of constant advertising. PageFair's 2017 Adblock Report, published nearly two years ago, revealed that 615 million devices and 11 percent of global internet users were already blocking ads from the web. That number has almost certainly grown.