This is what we’ve been waiting for.
ASTORIA, NYC- I thought it was spam. I received an email from a third party company saying that someone named Scott XXX wanted to send me something called a BAT and I had to sign up for something to get it. I recognized the name — Scott has been reading VBJ for many years; however, I receive third party emails using the name of someone I know all the time and most of them are either trash or spam.
So I deleted it.
Then, I kid you not, that same day Jack left this comment:
Have you thought about verifing your site for Brave Rewards so that it’s easy to send you a tip or monthly contributions…I know you have a Donate button, but Brave Rewards is just easier to use and you can be as anonymous as you want to be. If you don’t know what Brave is, it is a browser based on Chrome that rewards people BAT tokens for using the browser as they normally do. The BAT tokens can be used to tip websites, give regular monthly payments to websites, distributed evenly across the sites you view, or simply sold for money.
That is exactly what we’ve all been waiting for.
So I quickly ventured back into my trash folder, pulled up that third party email from Scott, clicked the link, and signed up.
Brave Rewards is what the internet has been begging for since 2012. In the years leading up to then it was relatively easy to make money with a blog or website that produced content that was meant to educate or entertain rather than to sell you things. We could go out and travel the world, write about it, and make enough money to keep going via ads. The travel blogging community flourished as digital nomads began roving the globe. It was a dream for most of us, a dream that came to an end for many around 2012 with Google rolling out a series of updates that gave overwhelming preference in search results to big brands over independent creators.
In other words, the travel blogging community got nuked.
Sites that were pulling in 20,000 unique visitors per day / $100k a year from search suddenly found themselves with a drizzle that could hardly sustain a pig farmer in rural China. The internet was intentionally transformed from the top down to give traffic — and money — to the big boys, and the rest of us — the very people whose work gave the world wide web its popularity — were pushed to the margins. Most travel blogs from that era went under; very few managed to adapt and survive.
The fallout left a gaping void in the heart of the internet, as interesting, unique content became more and more difficult to find. The sites of big brands and people selling crap rose to the top, and the rest faded away. The world wide web was turned into an answers engine rather than a place for exploration; the wild west was tamed, and it was replaced by the same old boring crap.
But the creators didn’t go away without a fight. I remember getting excited for a while about calls to create a more democratic way of financing the internet that focused on content which attracted interest and attention rather than keywords on a page to sell products. One suggestion was to pay sites according to their viewership — not ad clicks — and allow their readers to easily tip them with their credits that are derived from browsing the internet.
I then stopped reading about the idea, figuring that it would probably never really happen. I retreated into my own little hovel on the internet, developed my own financing model, and just keep producing content. But I was wrong — it did happen.
As Jack pointed out, it’s called Brave Rewards. Basically, they work like this:
- You download the Brave browser, which is based on Chrome so no surprises there.
- You configure your settings so that the sites that you visit receive a portion of the money your traffic makes and then browse the internet (which is the default setting).
It’s really that simple.
If you want to make it a little more complicated, you can pick and choose which sites you want to support and you can also tip sites directly.
The currency that’s used is a digital unit called a BAT, which stands for Basic Attention Token. These BAT can be cashed in for conventional currency according to the current rate of exchange, which is currently around a third of a dollar.
As you browse the internet you’re shown non-intrusive ads that don’t track you or infringe upon your privacy, and you receive 70% of the earnings derived from your traffic. So you essentially get paid for using the internet. The idea is that you will distribute these earnings to the sites you frequent, but you can just keep it for yourself if you’d prefer.
Meanwhile, the Brave browser will block the trackers and other creepy elements of other, more intrusive ad networks, which makes your browsing not only more secure but faster. Perhaps the best part about this is that it blocks those annoying YouTube ads.
So you not only get better, faster internet, but the ability to make and distribute money too — it’s a win-win for both the user and the publisher.
The browser’s startup page displays your stats for the month: how many trackers and ads that were block, how much bandwidth and page load time were saved, how many BAT you’ve earned, and how many BAT you distributed to the websites you visit.
There really isn’t a good reason to not use the Brave browser. Why wouldn’t you want to use a browser that’s faster, blocks malicious trackers, and pays you? Download it here.
VBJ has made 15.80 BAT so far. I’m not sure how much this can be scaled, but I will track my progress here.
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