Blockchains have enabled a whole new world of possibilities for commerce, thanks to their immutability and permanence. With this exciting new technology, the current online advertising industry could be reformed by giving users more control over how their personal information is used. Here’s a look at how Blockchains can help bring in the disruption that online advertising has been waiting for.
The Global Online Advertising Industry
According to a recent study conducted by Forrester, the online advertising industry is expected to become a 500 billion dollar industry by 2021. It is no surprise then that the most significant corporations in the world want to use this platform to interact more directly with their users. Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon already spend billions of dollars every year to track their users so they could put more targeted ads in front of them. The way that this merely works is as follows: A user searches for an item, say a pair of shoes on Amazon. Then, Amazon tracks these users across different websites and displays related search results to the user, hoping that the user clicks on the advertisement and makes the purchase. It is clear that the end user has no control over how their information is mined and used to track them. This is the problem that Blockchains can help us solve in the near term.
Basic Attention Token
The enormous online advertising industry is already saturated with all kinds of ad publishers who are trying to pitch their products to internet users. As most internet users already know, the online advertising industry is rife with malicious advertisements ranging from obscene content to straight up malicious computer viruses. Matters are made even more complicated by the fact that the most significant tech corporations like Google and Facebook are privy to a lot of our private information which they use to target us even more aggressively. Since most users consider that the ads they see as a nuisance, advertisers are unable to adequately pitch their products, efficiently wasting billions of dollars in the process.
Clearly, this space could use a breath of fresh air in the form of a more accurate ad blocking system. The Brave platform along with the Basic Attention Token is trying to do precisely that. In Brave’s unique approach to online advertising, users can choose to turn off all ads or show non-intrusive ads for payments in the Basic Attention Token (BAT.) Brave has native web browsers for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android and iOS which are all shipped with ad blocking turned on by default. What makes the Brave platform unique is that it does not send any of the user’s browsing information back to a central server to track them. Brave pays its users based on the amounts of ads that they choose to see. All of the ledger keeping that is required to compute the rewards is handled within the browser, thereby giving more control to users over their private information. Since the users are getting paid for their time, users are more likely to pay attention to the contents of the ad. This results in overall more effective advertising for advertisers and an incentive for users to watch the commercials.
Bitclave is another interesting Blockchain startup in the field of online advertising as it is trying to eliminate the ad serving middlemen by directly linking the consumer and the dealer. For example, if a user wants to purchase a new camera, Bitclave’s Active Search Ecosystem (ASE) will find the nearest camera dealers in the area and share the user’s requirements with the dealer. After getting the requirements, the dealer could choose to offer custom deals to the user as the dealer has saved advertising costs. Even if the user decides not to purchase the deal offered by the dealer, the user still gets paid in the Consumer Activity Token (CAT) for taking the time to look at ads and sharing their requirements. This is better than the existing advertising model because a corporation does not track the user’s information for profit. Instead, the user has a choice as to how they want their information to be monetized. The sellers also gain in this model because they know that their ad budget is not wasted on bot-generated traffic and is consumed by real people.