BAT is one of the few tokens in green today, up another 16% as it appears many have been impressed by the new Brave Browser.
It is fast, it is convenient, it is privacy focused, it is the only browser to have a Tor tab, and it has a Basic Attention Token (BAT).
The token is up by 40% since October the 10th, increasing in anticipation of Coinbase listing.
In addition, the co-founder of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, and his team appear to have added some fuel by launching a browser that feels like a browser and more, that feels modern.
So making Brave appealing in itself, raising the question of whether the browser is the product, or the Attention Token.
The browser may be cool, but it is in many ways a vehicle for the vision of a token economy fueled by BAT.
The ethereum based token has a fixed supply, with much of it being given away to increase adoption.
The business model relies on tokenizing advertising. The idea is that an advertiser has to pay for ads with BAT – although practically it wouldn’t make any difference if they paid with whatever they want as the Brave team or some automatic method could insta convert it into BAT.
That BAT is then distributed between the users and the publishers, with users further distributing the BAT they receive to publishers they like either through some monthly set amounts or in manual tips.
This can all be on the backend, occurring automatically, with individuals free to be blissfully unaware if they wish.
Whether token withdrawals will be allowed is not clear, but there will probably be much experimentation to incentivize the three different components: users, advertisers, and publishers.
As far as users are concerned, they are getting something for free. So with the browser being at least just as good, if not better than others, plenty have switched.
As far as advertisers are concerned, they have a central repository they can go to and presumably they’d be able to select where their ads show up.
What quality publishers get, however, isn’t very clear. Any BAT they receive would probably be pennies. Their bargaining power would be considerably weakened, and many of them may see this as just a new version of Adsense.
The success of Adsense was primarily due to its open availability to everyone, but that’s what made it unsuccessful when it comes to supporting quality publishers.
They were put on the same level playing field as link farms. Prominent advertising space on New York Times became as much worth as advertising space on a junk site. The undiscriminating click model, which does not account for brand awareness and so on, led to annoying ads and a bidding race to the bottom.
The very limited advertising space for publishers became unlimited for advertisers. Where the ad was shown was of far less importance than whether there was a click.
In short, publishers completely lost control over their inventory, and did so willingly by participating in Adsense. They gave up scarcity, and they gave up their bargaining power over the very limited advertising space, for which they were greatly punished.
Whether BAT would be able to address some of those aspects, remains to be seen. Users can manually choose just how their tokens are distributed, but most users, who are busy or would rather do something else, are probably not going to spend much time tinkering.
Which means much of the distribution will probably be automatically decided. Currently that’s based on how much time one spends on a website, but a 30 minutes video or a 10 minutes read of an investigative report won’t be able to compete on that metric with say a charts site.
The metric, moreover, doesn’t quite account for cost of production. A link aggregator like Reddit, for example, where most of the content is produced by other websites or community comments, has almost no costs. Yet they’re still appealing as an entry point to where the content really is.
A simple metric like just time on the website would thus reward the automatic bots that organize content, rather than the content creators.
So BAT needs to create more sophisticated methods if it is to keep happy the ones that bring the users and the advertisers. How that can be done algorithmically is a difficult question, but conceptually there needs to be some sort of premium for “quality” sites or videos.
There needs to be some sort of method that takes into account the time and effort it took to produce something so that the producer can adequately be rewarded.
Some might also want an opt-out from Brave ads on their own website. Perhaps they want no ads at all to be shown due to ideology or whatever, or perhaps they specifically don’t want Brave ads.
From Brave’s point of view, obviously they’d rather not give such choice, but if relationships are not based on voluntary consent, then actions can have reactions. Websites could themselves ban Brave, for example.
The browser right now is far too small for anyone to care much about practical aspects, with Brave’s advertising model not yet out, so it isn’t quite clear how it would work.
As it grows, however, there are many components to consider for Brave if it wishes to improve on the current advertising model where publishers are concerned.
Meaning this is all very much an experiment, and perhaps an interesting experiment, but whether it will work or not, remains to be seen.