It is a well-known fact that Google, the world’s number one search engine, used by many, skews its search results. This is based on advertising revenues and probably other biases built into their algorithm. It is also widely known that Google gather a large amount of data, which they argue is for the purpose of directed, as opposed to random, advertising; whatever the reason, whether noble or ignoble the fact is that the data is being stored.
Casing point is my Facebook account; my wife shares a Gmail account with me and uses Google as her search engine and yet on a completely different computer (mine not hers) all kinds of adverts, based on her searches appear on my Facebook. Recently she has been searching a lot for specific items (that I too am aware of) and it's obviously not a coincidence.
She has always been aware of this and it is why she has always refused to have any kind of a Google account. The trouble is that Google have everything so tied up that it is near impossible to use a computer / smart phone with the Apps you really want without getting them Google Play. The only other realistic alternative is iStore – and don’t even get me started on Steve Jobs and his legacy.
It is too monopolised with our searches effectively being ‘keystroked’ by the likes of Google and while it is a terrible search engine I am sure the same can be said for Bing.
This is the time when neutral browsers who offer to protect your privacy and behave ethically enter the fray. Those of you who follow me know that I had a recent flirtation with PreSearch which I saw as a fantastic way to earn their native token (PRE) while at the same time enjoy a liberating search experience. Only, as my previous post on the subject describes, they effectively shut me down after a week or ten days because I was supposedly abusing their search function. The truth doesn’t even matter; I even acknowledged in the post that about 80% of my daily searches were genuine and the rest were top ups to earn the daily amount of PRE, which is painfully slow anyway. What does matter is that some little bot is watching what I am looking at and storing it for PreSearch's own purposes. What irritated me the most was that PreSearch made a judgment based on almost no knowledge of my search history (at least Google could make that kind of assessment) as I had only been using it for a week or so.
The experience left me feeling abused and deceived, forget about me doing that to them. I still have my PreSearch account but have pretty much abandoned it. If I get anything great and if not well… I am too polite to say what I really think.
So let’s turn to every Crypto fan’s favourite browser, namely Brave. Brave has generally been well-received and rewards users in BAT tokens, which unfortunately have to be stored later in an Uphold wallet. Brave seems to be the browser that promises not to be exactly what we dislike about other browsers.
So imagine my surprise when I came across an article yesterday (referenced below) that puts Brave under the spotlight.
The post provides its own succinct summary:
- Brave has been redirecting searches to crypto companies to affiliate links that give it a commission.
- Binance, Coinbase and Trezor are among crypto companies that Brave profits from through affiliate links.
- The company’s CEO apologized and promised that there will be no more links like this.
(Quoted directly from the post referenced below)
The article illustrates what it means when it describes for example if a user searches for Binance the result will be a link to Binance connected with an affiliate link from which Brave profit from. Evidence has also been uncovered that alongside Binance they are doing the same with Ledger, Trezor and Coinbase.
Maybe there is nothing wrong with this if they were straight up about it. After all don’t we all where possible try to include affiliate links on our own?
The issue is that Brave have not been straight up about it and this potentially calls into question the integrity of the project. However, there response has been positive and Brendan Eiche (CEO) explained that to paraphrase, that the issue has been fixed and all he is trying to be is build a viable business before saying that he is saddened by the problems it caused. Finally he stressed that user data wasn’t compromised and privacy remains a central tenet of the Brave ethos. An earlier version of the article I read apparently had said the Eiche had hinted that without affiliate links the viability of the business model would struggle to survive.
Critics hit back that he was only holding his hands up because he got caught.
For me the issue is very simple. Personally I don’t have any problem with Brave using affiliate links as an additional revenue source (after all they give all that Crypto away for free). Like I said above, a lot of us do this to some extent including me. In fact I recently, upon opening my Celsius account, regretted not using an affiliate link from a Publish0x user and going directly to Celsius. It would have been nice to help him out and reward him for his interactions with me. There is nothing wrong with affiliate links, but what does matter is honesty. Honesty is integrity and integrity is trust. In my view Brave and Eiche in particular should have just fronted it out with a statement along the lines of:
From time to time with our partners we use affiliate links to help support and sustain the project.
As with my issues with PreSearch the same can be said about Brave. It really is a question of approach and once more I want to applaud Publish0x as an example of the correct way of dealing with things. I don’t necessarily need to go into details because I have done so elsewhere and I am sure other bloggers have too but recently primarily due to high Ethereum gas fees they had to change their pay out policy.
What did they do?
They presented the problem to the community, listened to opinions, which broadly favoured two possible solutions
- to change payments to monthly rather than weekly schedule
- to change the reward token from Ethereum, which they had not long introduced. There were many differing opinions on which token to change to.
Next they made the decision to change the payment frequency and finally they announced it to the community and being an active member I have to say I have not even seen the slightest sniff of any complaints. Well done Publish0x!
That is integrity.
Finally for today, whatever you are doing this weekend have a great time and stay safe and well.