How The Blockchain-Based Brave Browser Aims to Transform Advertising
Advances in technology such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain are transforming multiple industries as the digital transformation gathers momentum. The most significant casualty of this new digital era is the removal of middlemen that typically offer little regarding value.
The world of advertising is no different. Publishers have been struggling for a few years with the decline in sales of physical media and elements of resistance to paywalls and online advertising. In an age of collaboration and sharing stories, the current methods act as a barrier between the publication and the more casual reader.
For the average user, online ads slow websites, track their every move online, drain phone batteries and even obstruct content. But publishers need this revenue to provide quality journalism, or so the argument goes.
There now seems to be a wind of change in the air. In the same week that Google Chrome released an update that automatically stopped those annoying auto-playing videos, bosses of the most prominent newspapers made a dramatic U-turn on how they see the future of publishing and advertising,
The Dow Jones Media Group is best known for flagship titles such as The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, Financial Times, and many other traditional publications. However, they are taking an innovative approach by partnering with the Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency and Brave browser.
The token promises to cut out any third-parties from advertising and replace them with a new revenue-sharing model directly between the readers and the publication. As the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal continues to make readers question their privacy online, the Brave browser has proven to be a hit with users by natively blocking all advertising by default.
The most intriguing aspect of this new emerging model is that it reconnects users and publishers without compromising privacy. A limited number of early-adopting users of the Brave browser will also gain full and free access to Barrons.com or a premium MarketWatch newsletter.
With The Washington Post already on board too, it seems we are beginning to witness the building of a new approach to digital publishing. Although this is an experimental phase, a combination of a change in consumer attitudes and a business model that no longer works is making the change ahead inevitable. But how can this new solution keep all parties happy?
Google and Facebook have been ruling the world of advertising for some time, but adoption of the Brave browser would remove them from the equation. Rather than chasing huge audiences, advertisers can get back to focusing a smaller number of highly engaged users. The removal of third-parties also offers a better value proposition.
Whether you are a YouTube vlogger, blogger, or large company like the Dow Jones Media Group, publishers will receive a slice of the BAT tokens that advertisers pay to advertise on their platforms. This enables publishers to monetize their content directly and replace generic marketing with higher-quality advertising opportunities.
Rather than being bombarded with prevalent and generic advertising that follows them around the web, users can choose to actively view advertising and be rewarded with BAT tokens for their time and attention they have given the ad in question.
Not only does this encourage adoption of cryptocurrencies, it also enables the users to switch ads on and off directly through the Brave browser. In an age of content creators and online influencers, users can also tip their favorite creators by tipping them Bat Tokens that they have earned. Could this be the online currency of the future?
On the one hand, the combination of the privacy-first browser Brave and the Basic Attention Token (BAT) is another example of the real-world adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions. Equally, the Dow Jones Media Group is highlighting an increasing awareness that the current method of advertising and marketing is failing. Could this latest partnership be the answer?
Last year BAT successfully raised over $35 million in just 30 seconds through an initial coin offering (ICO). The price of the BAT token has since increased over 80 percent. With two million monthly active users and over 12,000 verified publishers on board in a short space of time, we might be witnessing a shift in the AdTech space.
We will have to wait on the sidelines to see if the delivery of premium content to digital audiences with a little help from blockchain technology and a cryptocurrency will usher in a brave new world for digital publishing. But in a world of low attention spans, maybe compensating users for their attention online is the only realistic way forward.