A question about VPN

Another question I have (I know this is probably not the best place to ask this) What is the deal about VPNs? Will my account get flagged if I use one at all? Do I have to only connect to a server in my country?

@Fingolfin Yeah, since it was off topic, I moved your question over to a topic of its own. From here, I’ll try to answer.

If you force a yes or no answer to these, then the answer would be yes. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Here’s the key aspects to remember:

  • Using a VPN in itself is not a violation of any Terms

  • Bypassing regional ad restrictions is a violation.

  • Advertisers pay for their ads to be seen by people in particular regions.

  • Brave Ads (Rewards) primarily uses your IP address (though also uses Locale and other details) to determine which ads to show you.

This all kind of lumps together. Obviously they know as a privacy browser that people will use things like VPN. So what generally happens is it attempts to validate your IP with things like your Locale. If they don’t match, it doesn’t pay you BAT even though the ad showed and they basically pretend you’ve never seen the ad. Usually things kind of end there. However, if this happens enough times, such as to where it seems you’re intentionally faking your location to try to maximize Rewards, it will eventually flag you. I mean think about it, this is extra work and a lot of inconvenience.

Another way to think about it is that it’s a bit of a logic system. Let’s pretend you live in India. Typically your IP would show India and it would show you ads for India. You might want to use a United States VPN to access particular websites or content, like maybe a TV network or Netflix. Not a problem, right? But it also considers that using a node so far away also would increase latency and have a worse browsing performance than it would if you were connected more locally.

Now, let’s say this person from India uses their computer 8+ hours a day and every time they use the computer, they immediately connect to USA VPN and it never changes. Does this seem logical to you? The system sees it as unusual activity and likely just a person trying to “game the system” to see all of the ads that USA has and to earn more BAT than otherwise could get.

Compare this to another person in India who uses the computer 8+ hours a day but VPN to USA only runs like 2 hours a day. The rest of the time, either they don’t use a VPN or their VPN is connected to servers near them in India. This would more likely be seen as normal or usual behavior and would not likely be flagged.

Obviously, the more you stay away from proxy servers and VPN, the less chance of being seen as suspicious or as violation of Terms.

All of that said, that is only to address things as Brave has done them up until now. For the past 6+ months, Brave has been in discussion on changing how this works. We’ve seen one small step towards possible change by them requiring all Users to declare their country. We’re seeing another step to the change by them requiring all Users to be Verified if they want to earn BAT from Rewards.

Part of the discussion is whether they will show ads based on the region you’ve been Verified, if they will continue to use IP address but just simply pause Rewards (Brave Ads) if you are in an IP address outside of your verified region, or if they want to do something else.

Obviously, if it’s the first one then it wouldn’t impact anyone regardless of whether they travel, use VPN, etc. It’s likely the more preferred method, but they were having to look at pros & cons. We’re likely to hear more on that between now and July, when bigger Rewards changes are slated to arrive.

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