Brave has a unique opportunity to help align the interests of users and web companies

payments

#1

The revenue of most companies is directly tied to the amount of time you spend on their sites. This is often in the form of ads and data collection. Companies want to be profitable, and profits are tied to time spent on their site. This means that regardless of what the site wants to accomplish (inform you of the news, grow your social network, etc.), the main goal of the company is to maximize the time you spend on their site. There have been some interesting talks about this, lookup Tristan Harris

Basically, a company’s metric for success is time spent on site which is different from the reason the user visited the site.

The fact that Brave is blocking ads/trackers and providing a platform to pay directly is an awesome step in the right direction! Unfortunately, the main way of doing this is still by correlating payments to time spent on site. It would be great to see something implemented that would scale the payments based on how the sites helped the users meet their goals.

For example,users could categorize sites by goals and there could be a monthly review. Sites could get paid if they help the user with the goal and the payment could scale depending on how efficient it was. (If facebook can make you feel more connected in less time, pay more)

Example:
Facebook -> “feel connected with friends” -> goal: less than 20 min per day
Netflix -> “help me decompress after work” -> minimize time
Google News -> “be up to date on current events” -> minimize time
lifehacker -> “learn something that makes my life better/more efficient” -> once per day or less
Wunderlist -> “be more productive” -> goal: check more than once per day


#2

An interest-centric (or attraction-centric, motivation-centric, desire-centric, whatever you would call) approach looks awesome to me. However, the main problem we would have to solve here is how to calculate the interest, attraction, and motivation objectively. ie we would need to define helpfulness in another way than “the absolute objective unit of helpfulness”, which will never exist (See Henri Bergson’s discussion). The time is not the perfect way of deciding how much is paid to which sites, but for now, it is a better way than something else.

Defining some scenarios exactly as you proposed as examples would work in most cases and we could satisfy with it. We could for example prompt a confirmation dialog monthly to review how much you’d pay for which and you could edit the percentage as you would think is best at that time.


#3

Yeah, the nice thing about time spent is it’s super easy to measure where Interest/value centric methods require more user intervention.

With a monthly review, there could be some general rules as well to prevent rewarding time-sinks.

  • Cap time at x hours (after 2 hours on facebook, they receive the same amount) - maybe site specific?
  • Value bonuses - rank top 3 sites that gave you the most value and redistribute 10% of payments to them

Maybe there could even be an in-browser button to mark any page as helpful? If a particular blog post was very informative or wolframalpha saved you on your homework assignment, you could mark it as helpful. Then at the end of the month, x% of your payments are distributed to these sites?


#4

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