Over the past few years, Big Tech has become increasingly politicized, as evidenced by their denying access to their services for certain audiences, specifically right-wing (particularly the ever-dreaded alt-right) and other undesirable users & companies. There are countless examples of this, some recent and notable ones being the banning of Gavin McInnes, Laura Loomer, Tommy Robinson, Owen Benjamin from platforms such as YouTube and Twitter.Many believe that Big Tech is stifling Internet speech in order to influence the public discourse and, purposely or not, possibly even influencing the composition of political offices and elections. It’s apparent that Big Tech has overwhelmingly chosen to align with the left. (As a telling example, note Eric Schmidt’s advisory position on Hillary Clinton’s presidential election campaign in 2016).Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Discord have denied certain users access to their platform based on their political affiliation and the expression thereof (even outside the realms of the platforms themselves), and the suspensions appear to only be accelerating.While Twitter once used to frequently declare themselves a “free speech utility”, they are now actively censoring users in the name of preventing “hate speech”. In addition, Big Tech stifles any pushback to their diversity agenda; also internally within their businesses. A strong example of this is James Damore being fired by Google for his attempt at a debate on inclusion, discrimination and male/female characteristics, and was quickly disposed of on the grounds that he was spreading an “anti-diversity screed”.While this presents a critical problem to a free and open Internet, it also presents an opportunity to rebuild the Internet economy for a more general, left-and-right inclusive market. There is an increasing demand for an escape from the big tech stranglehold and the markets for alternative platforms and solutions will only grow as the Big Tech censorship accelerates. In fact, there are already alt-tech offerings to be found across many sectors of the web:▸Web browsers: Brave▸ Video sharing: Bitchute, d.tube▸ Social Networking: minds.com, gab.com, steemit.com▸ Search Engines: duckduckgo.comTrue Alt-Tech is truly inclusionary and does not concern itself with ideology or political agendas, nor does it have its own agenda to control speech or ‘protect’ the Internet population from information of any kind. Alt-Tech is built on the concepts of accountability, responsibility and privacy and represents a return towards the values and traditions which the Internet was founded upon.
Assuming successful proof of concept, Brave represents an opportunity to reset the ad experience, or certainly significant portions of it. Brave have an opportunity to present content in a clean, almost reader-mode, and feature the ads separately to avoid repeat obstruction and annoying interruption. Banner blindness is the result of decades of ignoring ads placed alongside content, and this is an issue with affects advertisers, publishers and users alike. With Brave, Ads won't be placed in ad slots alongside content in the web page; or at least not in the early iterations. Also, you won't see 3-5 ads displayed within a single page load. Users will see fewer ads (no more than 10 a day, per user, most likely less than 5 per day). As the user browses, the local agent in the BAT platform will collect a mix of intent signals and data from the search, history and other client-side data that is accessible from the browser. Local machine learning algorithms will then match the right ad at the right time to the user, from a full inventory catalog of ads that is pushed to the device.The ad will display as a call to action, from a push notification. If the user engages with the offer, they are directed to a new tab that can include an embedded video ad, full page HTML5 rich media creative, or a landing page.Brave essentially brings an ad server onto your device, and updates the inventory catalog with regular intervals across all devices. This catalog removes the persistent network congestion that has become the norm with programmatic advertising, and avoids having to hit a user with so many ads per page load. This also improves privacy, as the catalog of available ad inventory is on the device, and does not have to be requested through any third parties. In the conventional, current ad model, each ad call and tracking request that is made to an ad server or 3rd party can leak data about the user to the cloud. (Brave blocks all such instances by default).Brave basically cleans the slate by blocking 3rd party ads and tracking, cleaning the slate and offering a new ad model that respects user privacy and anonymity, while allowing publishers and advertisers to still monetize their content.Brave are also doing something markedly different with their ad platform. Users who opt in to view BAT ads will receive BAT tokens for viewing ads. In other words, their attention has value which is encapsulated in the form of a token. The prevailing lumascape proves an entire industry has blown up off the value from user attention, while the users themselves get nothing. (Well, except for a chaotic experience, privacy invasion, surveillance, profiling to unknown parties behind the scenes, constant distractions & obstructions, slower connections, more data consumption, worse battery life, etc).Braves give the user an opportunity to receive tokens for their attention, as it's their attention. By cutting out every 3rd party passing costs through the middle, Brave are seeking to create an environment where users can receive BAT for their attention and publishers and advertisers can focus on their core business objectives.
Brave are trying to prove that they can cut out the current middlemen in the ad model, and not only include the user, but give the user a share of the reward for their attention. This is different from how the prevailing ad model, where users are tracked and profiled, and their data shared or sold across 3rd parties. Brave are trying to prove that an alternative model for digital advertising can exist, with a simplified model that could be more secure and less prone to fraud than the current ad model (which had approximately $16 billion in ad fraud in 2018).Users will be able to use the BAT token for micro donations to publishers they want to support, to help supplement for revenue loss from ad blocking. Both the ads and micro donation approaches are based on allowing the user to remain anonymous and preserve his or her privacy.While Brave may not explicitly be setting out to unseat Google & co, the Brave browser is positioned as an outright superior alternative to Chrome, and the greater promise is a healthier ad landscape and better privacy online. In fact, users of Brave effectively exclude themselves from monetization by Google. This is about as aggressive a position one could imagine, and assuming even modest success does mean significant disruption of the current advertising landscape.