Will ethical ads that fund open source projects be supported with Brave?

#1

Hi Brave team,

I’ve spoken with @sampson earlier last year a bit on this topic but I wanted to follow up on the community forum for async and collaboration.

CodeFund is an open source ad platform that funds open source projects using ethical ads (we are approved with acceptableads [dot] com).

  • We do not track visitors or place cookies
  • We do not allow 3rd party scripts (such as Google’s DoubleClick)
  • We only display relevant ads based on the context of the website, not the visitor.

For examples of these ads, see jsbin.com or bootstrapcdn.com.

The publishers we work with are mostly software developers or bloggers that provide value to the open source ecosystem. I know that Brave is quickly gaining adoption, especially with the developer and blockchain communities.

Are there ways that we can work together to allow (optionally) ads the help fund these projects?

Thanks!

Eric Berry
eric@codefund.io

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#2

Thank you for bringing this up Eric. @sampson, I have been using Brave as my default browser user ever since @brian did The Changelog podcast #323. When I went to check my site (bootstrapcdn.com) today my Ethical Ad from CodeFund is missing.

FWIW that money goes to our open collective to help sustain the project that delivers 70+ Billion requests a month. Ethical Ads are the majority of our revenue, to help pay for services, make donations to other projects and a rainy day fund for the unexpected.

As an open source community member, this doesn’t motivate me to tell other members “try Brave!”. I know a majority of your users won’t care, and you will most likely take their side. But from one open source project to another, please consider the ramifications this has on projects with very little funding and rely on Ethical Ads for sustainability.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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#3

Brave supports ethical ads — we’re building out a privacy-preserving opt-in ad system. Part of our roadmap for ads will let people who run websites integrate with the browser to show ads (and get paid) when someone using Brave visits their site with ads turned on.

Even when Brave blocks ads, you can still get paid for the people visiting your site. Brave Rewards lets people contribute to the sites they visit over the course of a month based on the attention they paid to each site. Right now, Brave (Inc.) uses BAT grants to let people support sites without having to put up any of their own money. You can sign up as a publisher to get paid this way until we finish the website ad-slot integration.

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#4

Hi @toml,

Thanks for replying!

Just so I understand, is the only way ads will show up on Brave is if those ads are presented through Brave’s own ad delivery system? Or will you allow companies such as mine to become whitelisted with the browser, or perhaps be able to integrate with your ad system?

Thanks,

Eric

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#5

It’s exceedingly unlikely that we’ll ever whitelist a cross-site ads provider. We work to ensure that it’s genuinely impossible to track a particular person across the web using our ads system. I don’t think a web-based system can meet that standard. You may in practice not track people, but that’s implemented via policy, and not something we can trivially validate.

We don’t want to be in the business of auditing and evaluating every potential ethical-ads service. It would be a massive amount of work with really bad consequences if we mess up. And of course, we don’t want to charge for that audit process because that would be a serious conflict of interest.

Notably, we’re all about blocking things that can track a person, not ads per se. It’s the case in practice that most online ads are vectors for cross-site tracking. When ads are hosted and served from the site a person has decided to visit, we generally don’t have a problem with them.

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#6

That’s totally understandable. Even though our ad platform is 100% open source, you would still be depending on us to ensure that we are not tracking. The way I see Brave is as a solution to cut out all possibility of bad players, which unfortunately damage the good players.

This enforced policy does place you into a position of absolute monopoly in the ad space.

CodeFund gives 65% of all gross ad revenue back to its publishers. Last month we paid out over $6k. I hope that you can do the same and help websites such as BootstrapCDN generate passive, recurring, consistent revenue to help them sustain their projects.

If you can do this, I applaud you.

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#7

Our approach is that the ad slot owner should get 70% of the revenue. For ads on desktop, that’s the person using the browser. In an eventual model where sites can serve Brave ads, that’d be the site owner.

Trying to do the right thing in an industry filled with bad stuff is tough — it’s hard to pick the good actors out from the bad. We have the same problem: there are a lot of people who want nothing to do with Brave ads because they “know” that ads have to be all about data collection and they’re wondering what we have up our sleeves.

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#8

That makes sense. This is why we started CodeFund and follow the same guidelines set out by Eric Holscher from ReadTheDocs.org. Perhaps there’s a way for platforms such as ours to provide ethical, relevant ads via an API or something. I could see this type of thing offered eventually with platforms such as GitHub or other popular tools used by developers.

Keep up the good work. I’m a fan of the idea, but I believe a monopoly on advertising is very bad. Hopefully some exceptions can be made to allow 3rd parties to participate/help.

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#9

Our ad system will have an API for placing orders, though right now (during testing) it’s more of a manual process. So you’ll definitely be able to place ads as an “agency”, I believe the term is. We also haven’t fully worked out what the parameters will be for letting sites serve private ads in their existing slots. I’ll definitely keep this all in mind when it comes time to codify those details.

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#10

Proposition on how Brave would implement its ‘Ethical Ad Ecosystem’ (EAE):
I feel the Brave community should collectively handle ethical advertizing as a community.
This gives a strong notion of a open-source power to the people community model, a sharp contrast to google. With each group of people playing a different role. All roles will have subhiearchies and subroles assigned within them.
Bad Ads = Invasive tracking and or malicious ads/malvertizing.
Basically it would move up quickly through the hiearchy via special communication channels.

Main Channel: Community Members>Trusted Community Members>Staff
Community > Report bad Ads> Staff
Community> Security vulnerabilities>Devs

Roles:
Brave Developers
Brave Staff
Advertisers
Community (Trusted Community Members and Regular Community Members)

Brave Developers
The more useful customizable privacy options with explainations, the better the browser.
Develop In-App reporting feature. Especially a Report bad website/ads function.

Brave Staff : implements and enforces an ultra-strict no tracking or logging ad-policy that all advertizers must adhere to. This policy must put Brave’s mission of privacy first. (sugguested: Ads’ code must be 100% open source).
Verifies that said ads are safe and dont track. (VirusTotal, verifying their code)
Just like Brave’s developers, Brave staffs’ #1 dedication is to its community of users.
Privacy and Security are equally vitally important and go hand-in hand. Also, in the case of a merger/subsidization/acquisition they would have to comply with these policies or the deal is off. Will verify audited code.

Trusted Community Members Ultimately a browser and ethical ads system is only as good as the community backing it. I envision this role eventually encompassing the majority of the Brave’s community. The very numerous and powerful middle-class of the Brave community. With power comes responsibility. Members of the community who have earned the communitys’ trust and respect due to their contributions to the overall community. They will have the main responsibility of auditing the code, weeding out bad ads/bad actors (especially trusted advertisers that turn out to be bad) to the staff, who will investigate and take swift action.
Have an easy report button for websites along with other ways of contact.
Will initially reach out to reported sites. They could also look for bad actors ie catching trusted partners breaking this strict no tracking/logging policy.
Users will decide which sites they want to support by having the option to toggle ads on and off on every website on the ethical ads ecosystem network. Choice remains with the end user.

Advertisers : Fully demonstrate to the appropriate Brave staff that their code and ads meet all guidelines. Ads cannot be invasive or use third party code like Google doubleclick. No invasive and or malicious ads. No tracking/Logging ads, period.

Leave it up to the users of which sites they want to support via enabling ethical ads.
Have a special code of conduct regarding civil communication between community members, Brave staff and advertisers (CodeFund, bootstrapcdn, jsbin) that enforces mutual respect, honesty and accountability.

Strict punishments will result for anyone of any role who betrayes the Brave community. Ie; becomes a bad actor, falsely reporting due to personal vendetta, etc.

Tell me your thoughts on this

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