Internet Reacts To Brave Ad-Blocking Browser

The Internet is atwitter over a new browser called Brave that claims to block "all the greed and ugliness on the Web that slows you down and invades your privacy."

If the name "Brave" isn't enough to stir up emotions, then the backdrop and context of the browser is. Brendan Eich, Brave CEO and president, stepped down as Mozilla CEO after making a contribution to California’s controversial anti-gay Proposition 8.

Along with Eich supporters and critics, there are also many who feel strongly about ads (particularly pre-roll). People tweeted their excitement for the product and brought up questions.

What's the idea behind the new browser? It's an economic solution to ad blocking. Mozilla founder and former CEO Brendan Eich told Real-Time Daily that revenue from the product is not only shared with the publishers, but a small slice will go to users as well. They, in turn, can give that money to publishers to support content they consume.

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But the idea doesn't appeal to everyone.

"Either I've massively misunderstood the business model of #Brave, or this is an entirely illegal swipe at content providers," said one disenchanted Twitter user. Eich himself told TechCrunch that white lists that let certain advertisers through the blocker can look like “kind of a shakedown," adding that Brave's hope is that users will form a "valuable enough audience that our browser-side anonymous targeting will get ads from the buy side organically."

Another Twitter user said, "Brave looks pretty cool. If someone can prove that privacy-preserving advertising is possible, that would be a big step forward." Eich retweeted the sentiment, along with some other well-wishers and privacy enthusiasts.

Another possibly prescient Twitter user: "Gut-reaction prediction on brave browser: someone (in ad-tech) releases tool for sites to block that browser, possibly by user-agent."

The reaction to Brave might be a sign consumers want to push back on Internet privacy, as Federal Trade Commission commissioner Julie Brill said at AdExchanger's Industry Preview last week: "Truthfully, it is surprising to me that the ad tech industry hasn’t been more motivated to offer consumers better tools to protect their privacy, because it has always been the case that consumers could take matters into their own hands."

Earlier this month, Pew Research found 91% of American adults said consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies. Almost 200 million people globally now regularly use ad-blocking software, according to an August 2015 report from PageFair and Adobe.

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