New browser promises to fix what’s wrong with the web

Discussion
Jan 25, 2016

With a promise to “Fix the Web,” the former co-founder of Mozilla and inventor of JavaScript, has come up with a new browser that block ads and third-party trackers while speeding up browsing.

In a blog entry that came with the release of a test version of the Brave browser last week, founder Brendan Eich argues that online ads are required to support much that the “free” web offers. Yet the growing popularity of ad blocking software threatens the “free web” model by forcing free online service providers to charge for subscriptions.

On the other hand, the tracking of browsing habits that enables customized ads has led to “several races to the bottom” with the arrival of intrusive ads as well as privacy concerns.

With Brave, advertisers pay the browser-maker instead of paying publishers or advertising networks.

“The big idea is to block advertisements and tracking scripts that pillage your personal data and replace them with ads supplied by the browser — ads that respect your privacy and don’t slow your computer to a crawl or tax your phone’s battery,” wrote Klint Finley for Wired.

Brave plans to pay publishers 55 percent of ad revenues and its own advertisers earn 15 percent. Brave itself and users split the remaining 30 percent.

Seeing everything the user does, Brave promises to make more-informed decisions about what the user may be interested in, with all data it shares being anonymous. Wrote Mr. Eich, “We keep user data out of our cloud Brave Vault by default. It’s better for you and us that we don’t store any of your data without your permission.”

Eventually, Brave hopes to let some users make donations to opt out of ads altogether while others can continue to support sites by viewing ads that are more relevant and less intrusive.

Brave faces challenges convincing consumers to switch browsers and publishers to support the startup, but the launch drew heavy coverage with ad-blocking software becoming particularly popular with mobile users.

Do you think adoption of ad-blocking software and rise in privacy concerns will force the ad-supported web model to change? What do you think of Brave?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I think the current ad-supported web model deserves to die. It’s not as much privacy concerns as it is sheer annoyance."
"Consumers are voting with their plug-ins, and they want fewer ads. This does not mean that the ad-supported web model will go away. Instead, it challenges advertisers to create messages that consumers will want to watch."
"The ad situation a few years ago was tolerable, but there are sites now so laden with blinking, re-loading demands to purchase items looked at once a few weeks ago that it’s hard to find actual content."

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18 Comments on "New browser promises to fix what’s wrong with the web"


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Paula Rosenblum
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

I think the current ad-supported web model deserves to die. It’s not as much privacy concerns as it is sheer annoyance.

Am I keen to replace that model with a model where the browser owners gets the ad revenue? Not so much, but something has to change. Re-targeting creeps out the uninitiated and irritates the heck out of those who understand the principle. Some of our favorite publications have built websites that look like Indian buses (festooned with blinking and moving ads and icons on all sides). This cannot continue.

It’s either going to be this or ad blockers. Until now I’ve been hesitant to install ad blockers, but it’s coming soon. Something has to change.

Max Goldberg
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Consumers are voting with their plug-ins, and they want fewer ads. This does not mean that the ad-supported web model will go away. Instead, it challenges advertisers to create messages that consumers will want to watch. This can be accomplished through advertiser-created content — ads that are fun and provide information. Snapchat and Zynga are already doing this.

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Privacy concerns and the apparent “stalking” of advertisements that appear based on browsing behavior is irritating and just this side of creepy, but whether it’s annoying enough for people to change their online browser may be a challenge.

I, for one, will certainly try Brave. If it provides the service and experience suggested by Mr. Eich, then I’ll make the switch.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Interesting to think about how (legitimate) advertisers will respond to this via other browsers. Will there be a fight? Will there even be interest in people moving to another browser? There are so many challenges to face for a new browser to be on an even playing field with the established ones.

Tom Redd
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Brave is Brave. Fighting the ad system and other browsers is BRAVE. Most social or wired lemmings will stick with their old ways and let ad companies and Facebook share every element of their habits and life possible.

I am with the Brave side. Like with Weather Underground I pay a small fee each year and block all ads or data sharing (like what cities I am checking weather on, etc.). The world of online will change and this is one of the places where you are seeing it happen. For retailers it means ads and other online collection tools are not the answer. It is back to some basics of strong merchandising, planning and building customer loyalty vs. doing ad blasts and attempting to create loyalty. Word of mouth will be the marketing tool that gains the most loyalty.

Larry Negrich
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

The ads are fine. Concerning the browser, it’s the tracking, cookies and scripts that these facilitate that cause the user to feel as if they are being spied upon (which they are). The browser is just a part of this issue though. I’m more concerned with the apps, the OS and other services but browser improvements are a start.

Peter J. Charness
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

The web needs to be paid for … somehow. However today’s model followed the last phase of email advertising with effectively sequenced templates becoming retargeting models. It’s still all too invasive and inaccurate. I think that ad blockers and smarter advertisers getting around the blocks will just continue to feed off each other with a smarter ad getting around a still smarter block. Much as I would like to see that cycle broken, I doubt even Brave will do more than create a temporary break in the action.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

I will only speak personally on this as a focus group of one. I love the idea.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
5 years 10 months ago
Free stuff isn’t free. This is something business professionals all promise in spite of the dollar and consumer satisfaction costs. The world wide web is perhaps the perfect example of this dilemma. In the early days of cable TV the hot button relentlessly leaned on for new and increased sales was “commercial free.” Today cable is loaded with commercials which pay for the always increasing production costs and low subscription rates. The likelihood of seeing an end to commercials on TV and the so-called free world wide web is slim to none. What is more likely is an evolution of communication and device hardware that will increase speeds to make the delays we face much less noticeable. These new devices and the communications systems needed for support will mean that we will all have to upgrade or face being technologically bypassed by way of obsolescence. As for the privacy concerns we now hear so much about, consumers need to realize that regardless of their levels of use and participation most of what people want to… Read more »
Cathy Hotka
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

This could be huge. The ad situation a few years ago was tolerable, but there are sites now so laden with blinking, re-loading demands to purchase items looked at once a few weeks ago that it’s hard to find actual content.

Consumers will have the last word on this … change or die.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Great idea but — as many have already noted — somebody has to pay for it. And if it isn’t advertisers, who is it?

The first impulse is to suggest that users won’t support the idea of content that used to be “free” — at least to them.

Good thinking … until you look at your smart phone bill, consider cable television, streaming video services, satellite radio, etc.

Janet Dorenkott
Guest
Janet Dorenkott
5 years 10 months ago

I’m skeptical. Chrome AdBlocker is supposed to do the same thing. Unfortunately, one wrong click voids that idea. If Brave manages to get it right, I’m still skeptical. It’s like cable that was supposed to be free of ads if you paid for it. Roku is supposed to be free of ads, but every newscast I log into has an auto ad. My skepticism says they will get it right initially, then sell out, just like the rest have.

W. Frank Dell II, CMC
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

One day consumers will wake up. In the beginning, radio and television arrived at the home via air waves. Content providers were paid with advertising money and consumers accepted this for a free entertainment.

Today most television and some radio arrives at the home via cable or satellite. Both cable and satellite providers charge the customer for their service of content with advertising. So now consumers pay for the right to receive the same program with commercials as over the air waves.

Consumers are cutting the cable at an every increasing rate. They are using the internet for television programs and only buying what they want like Netflix. Consumers are tired of paying to watch commercials. Advertising on the web is currently out of control. First some information is listed as information, but when you click on it all you get is an advertisement. Web designers try to maximize the advertising while reducing content.

Much of the television we watch is from a DVR and we fast forward through commercials. Consumers will accept any browser that eliminates advertising.

Kris Kelvin
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Fool me once … Brave isn’t about privacy, it’s about re-monetizing my privacy to benefit a new group of investors.

What’s needed is an advertising model that’s 100 percent transparent about what it’s doing. Trusting a third party to do that, ” … to make more-informed decisions about what the user may be interested in … ” should set people fleeing for the safety of their nearest properly-configured VPN.

Shep Hyken
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

I’m a big supporter of ad-blocking software. Similar to blocking email, you filter out what you don’t want and keep what you do want. If you love a retailer you’ll “grant permission” for them to send you their ads. So it will be up to the retailer to build trust with their customer to the point where the customer will “let them in” their space.

As for the Brave concept, I like it. Don’t know how the business model will work, but in theory it looks like a win for the consumer.

Kai Clarke
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Perhaps we should be focusing on the real driver behind ads…consumers. It is the consumer who ultimately drives the placement of ads, through their earlier support of a company and purchasing behavior. There have been tremendous privacy issues with the Internet, and the consumer, but more than just the web model needs to change. We should be examining accessibility, and who gets access. Why isn’t the Internet an accessibility granted institution like TV?

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

I think what will change are some of the unrealistic assumptions about the potential of various sites to “monetize” their user bases. Would you use/pay for your phone if your calls were frequently and randomly interrupted by a voice telling you to buy something? No? Then why should you put up with it on websites? Certainly the services need to be paid for, but “paid for” is normal profits, not someone’s retire-at-thirty dreams.

I think that ultimately we will move much more to pay-services…just like other utilities.

Frank Beurskens
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Yes … we’re in transition where existing practices are still remnants of the old infrastructure. Hard to imagine there will be a viable system with messages that consumers will want to watch, satisfactory to all the vendors that want that message to be theirs.

The consumer is in control of the (millions) channel. I like the idea of the browser being the intermediary; it’s somewhat similar strategically to Google’s Chromecast, Amazon’s Fire TV, and AppleTV where the hardware/software owns the channel and controls the content. Back to the days of three major networks?

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I think the current ad-supported web model deserves to die. It’s not as much privacy concerns as it is sheer annoyance."
"Consumers are voting with their plug-ins, and they want fewer ads. This does not mean that the ad-supported web model will go away. Instead, it challenges advertisers to create messages that consumers will want to watch."
"The ad situation a few years ago was tolerable, but there are sites now so laden with blinking, re-loading demands to purchase items looked at once a few weeks ago that it’s hard to find actual content."

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