The Wired article reads "BRENDAN EICH REINVENTED the web. Now he wants to upend the advertising industry.” That’s putting it mildly.
Last week Eich launched Brave, a startup company that will develop a new web browser (for desktop and mobile platforms) that specializes in blocking ads and then replaces them with its own ads. This browser is going to shake up the digital advertising industry, and potentially change the way ads are served on the internet.
Eich has received both cheers and jeers regarding his new product. Proponents call it big step forward towards privacy-protection, while opponents call it an illegal attack on content providers. Which ever way you see it, one thing is certain, and that is Brave will change the advertising landscape as we know it today.
Let’s say Brave passes its legal tests and is allowed to operate today: What do I as a marketer need to know?
Brave will automatically block programmatic advertisements and tracking cookies, and will replace those ads with Brave’s partner ads. It can be assumed that the ad networks will work with Brave directly. In exchange, Brave will take 15% of the ad revenue. The publisher will get 55%, the ad supplier 15%, and the last 15% would go to the user. That’s right, you the surfer would get a 15% cut.
I repeat, you the surfer would get a 15% cut. Whoa.
Despite this appeal, without a clear breakdown, advertisers could end up paying much more for less eyeballs. If your ads are being served, but blocked by Brave, you could still be charged for an impression. Then you would still have to pay Brave to serve that same ad that was just blocked. There are many “could” and “woulds” at this point in the process, but it’s certainly a major repercussion of the new model.
Another interesting feature of Brave is that it will be able to target ads based on a surfer's browser history without sharing that information with advertisers. That would allow ad targeting more precise than ever while completely protecting users’ privacy. That is a win for everyone.
The Future is Unclear
Brave is not the first to attempt such a feat. Others, like Gator in 2002, have been met with lawsuits from publishers, and ultimately abandoned their ad replacement model. Only time will tell what will happen with Brave, but what is clear is that many, perhaps a majority of surfers, are not happy with the current ad system and are very concerned about their online privacy. Until these concerns are addressed, there will continue to be broad support for startups like BRAVE.