Issue #232

Sent to members on December 19, 2018

A new approach to banner ad revenue

A New Approach To Banner Ad Revenue

I’d like to start out by recommending a documentary to you. You can watch it on Amazon. It is called The Creepy Line. It is pretty well done, but will give you an idea of the extent to which companies like Google, Facebook and others have gone to track everything you do online.

Why do they do that? Well, primarily it is about ads.

Google gives so many great services away for free. Why do they do that? Because they’re tracking all of it, learning about you, all so they can serve up ads to you wherever you are.

When a service is free, usually YOU are the product. And, truth be told…

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When you’re on a blog somewhere that has ads all over it, YOU are the product. And companies like Google have inserted themselves into everything as the ultimate middleman. Google is now the middleman between most of our online interactions.

And you know what? As people find out more about this, they sorta don’t like it. 🙂  And as time goes on, you’re going to find these big companies clamping down on things to control more of the ad experience, while also safeguarding their profit streams. Their middleman position will be used to monopolize the internet… and you as a publisher will be caught in the middle.

I recently came across a project that I think could be quite promising as a way out. It was created by the co-founder of the Mozilla Foundation and the creator of the javascript programming language. In other words, this isn’t some fly-by-night thing.

It is called Brave

On the surface, Brave is a web browser. One that respects your privacy and puts you in control of the tracking that websites are able to do on you. The browser is also quite fast and it is a real pleasure to use.

But, what does Brave have to do with banner ads? Well, Brave is about much more than merely a web browser. It is about an entirely different structure to the internet advertising economy. It removes the middleman between the end user and the publisher.

At the core is a cryptocurrency known as Basic Attention Token (BAT). As an end user, you would have BAT in your wallet. Then, you have the option to reward those publishers who you want to support and who you pay attention to. Soon, you will also earn BAT by viewing ads.

Essentially, this is a network designed around ATTENTION. One that rewards publishers who do a good job because you are paying attention to them. One that rewards users for viewing advertising. But, all of it is in YOUR control. If you don’t want to look at ads or pay any publishers, that’s your call. And nowhere in the transaction is your personal data exposed.

There is a ton of fraud these days in traditional online advertising. Juniper Research estimates that about 9% of all revenue generated in online advertising is due to fraud. That’s about $19 billion annually in fraud alone. Much of this is because of a radical lack of transparency. It is very much a “wild wild west” landscape out there.

It is an industry of a thousand middlemen, too. For every ad you might see online, there is a whole patchwork of middlemen between you and the original advertiser. All these middleman need their share of the revenue, and all of them do their own tracking. Before you know it, your web browser is being sent MULTIPLE tracking cookies from companies you’ve never even heard of… all to load down a couple of banners on some blog you’re visiting.

And two of the biggest middlemen of them all are Google and Facebook. Estimates are that these two companies alone take about 73% of all ad dollars… and about 99% of all growth. They’re monopolizing it… and your data. Like I said, YOU are the product.

Basic Attention Token is a way out. It removes the middlemen and puts YOU in control of your own “attention dollars”.

In many ways, it is similar to the U.S. Healthcare market. Our costs here are utterly ridiculous because of a thousand middlemen between us and medical providers. And on top of that, you have law coming in and enforcing this screwed-up system under the threat of penalty. Talk about removing all choice! If we could de-centralize the whole healthcare model and re-connect providers with consumers, costs would drop substantially.

This is what BAT – and the Brave browser – is attempting to do to online advertising.

As a blogger, if this is something you would want to support and potentially be in on as a revenue generator, you would sign up as a Verified Creator. For your funds, you would also need to set up a wallet with Uphold. You go through a little process to verify you own your own site, then you’re verified. Users of Brave would have the option to share BAT with you each month. If you receive any BAT, you could exchange it with any other currency using Uphold.

Don’t expect any miracles right now in terms of earnings with this. The network is young, but I think the Brave and BAT have a very bright future… and could serve as the model for the future of online advertising.

The world of cryptocurrency and blockchain is going to be quite disruptive to a number of industries, and I think we’re likely to hear more about BAT in the coming years as things evolve.

– David

Tech Talk

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