On the 24th of January, a Twitter user named Kirkins intended to launch a Google ad campaign for Brave browser, but the campaign was swiftly rejected by Google. According to Google, the ad campaign was not in line with the terms of service, as it supposedly fits the category of “unwanted or malicious software”. However, there may be more to the story.
Brave ad campaign
Brave browser is a browser that puts a focus on anonymity. It was launched by the company Brave, which is also the company behind a popular cryptocurrency called “Basic Attention Token” (BAT). Brave Browser enables users to block all ads and tracking, but in a strange twist of irony, the ad campaign launched for Brave browser was denied by Google Ads.
The denial from serving ads may quickly be dismissed as an isolated incident. However, the news follows closely after the announcement of a bigger move by Google.
Google blocks ad blockers
Google recently released a public document called Manifest V3. In this document, Google defines new rules for how extensions work in Chrome. One of the biggest implications for the consumer is that this change will stop ad blocking extensions from working in Google Chrome.
Google gave its reasoning behind this change back in 2018, when it said that the changes “aim to create stronger security, privacy, and performance guarantees.” However, Google’s pro ad stance is no secret, and this move may be part of that vision.
Raymond Hill, argues that the proposal in the manifest will take away control from consumers.
“Extensions act on behalf of users, they add capabilities to a user agent, and deprecating the blocking ability of the webRequest API will essentially decrease the level of user agency in Chromium, to the benefit of web sites which obviously would be happy to have the last word in what resources their pages can fetch/execute/render.”Raymond Hill
This is not the first time Google has entered into controversy. In 2018, Google was fined $5 billion for violating antitrust law. The reason for this being Google pushing its own apps on users by pre-installing them. In 2018, Google also decided not to allow any advertisements for cryptocurrency-related projects in an effort to protect consumers.
All these measures do not inspire a lot of popularity amongst those involved in the mostly privacy-minded cryptocurrency industry. The latest move to block the Brave advertisements may be interpreted as Google making additional moves to protect its revenue model.