06 December 2022 20:29


The Brave new world of digital advertising

OK, I did not see that coming. Brave is a new browser that blocks publisher ads and instead replaces them with its own. In our previous posts, Sue Elms and I had envisaged a complete adblockalypse and a world where self-regulation won out, but not this. Will this be the brave new world of digital advertising or not?

From what I understand, Brave can operate in ad blocking mode or replacement mode. In replacement mode, Brave addresses a couple of the lesser pain points when it comes to digital advertising; ads are supposed to load faster and the user’s data is anonymized. There is also the monetary incentive: browser users will get 15 percent of the proceeds from advertising to donate back to content providers as they see fit.

As you might imagine, content providers are not too keen on the idea that Brave is going to replace their ads, even though they are destined to get the majority of the revenue Brave earns from advertising. A coalition of 17 major newspaper companies sent Brave’s CEO (great title, huh?) Brendan Eich a letter threatening legal proceedings to stop actions they claim are indistinguishable from stealing, violating copyright and trademark laws and contravening websites' terms of use. In other words, do not mess with our business model as we have enough problems to deal with right now.

After all, Brave is simply the latest attempt to offer a solution to what many Internet users see as a huge problem. As Thomas Claburn at Information Week comments,

“It's not that technology companies wish to see publishers fail. Rather, they see demand for ad blocking among Internet users who believe that the ad industry's will to self-regulate has failed.”

So technology companies are simply responding to a demand created by the very companies who are now seeking to shut down the solution instead of fixing the problem. Only time will tell who will win this fight and it will depend in part on how compelling the Brave offering is to a mass audience. I believe that interruption and clutter are the biggest issues for users, followed by speed and privacy, and if all ads are replaced by Brave then the surfing experience will remain difficult and frustrating. Sure if the ads load after the content and do so quickly it will be an improvement, but it will be marginal compared to fewer ads in the first place.


Written by Nigel Hollis,Executive Vice President and Chief Global Analyst at Millward Brown 

Read 1554 times Last modified on Monday, 18 April 2016 03:15
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