We have been a verified Brave publisher for just over a month. Brave is all the rage. Touted as a new way to reward content creators, the platform enables tipping creators and blocks unwanted ads. But is it really as good as it sounds?
What’s Brave, BAT and the brave browser?
Brave is the company running the Brave platform. The platform consists of a token called BAT and privacy-focused browsers for mobile and desktop.
The token is used for tipping content creators. In order to receive tips, creators must register as a Brave verified publisher, through the “Brave rewards” platform. It is often mentioned as an alternative business model for content creators to intrusive ads.
The browsers block unwanted apps and trackers. Its unique selling point is that it is fast and protects your privacy. It will at some point offer advertisement options in a form that doesn’t track and collect user data and can pay users for watching ads.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably quite impressed with the idea. The money making ways of the simple content creator are far from perfect, and practically always involve handing over user data to Google. So we were happy with this alternative, and gave it a good test run.
The experience did not meet expectations on most levels.
As we started verification, the platform recommended an auto verify plugin for WordPress. This plugin didn’t seem to work, so we went ahead with the manual verification. After the verification, I entered the Brave rewards platform and it shows up as verified. Ok…that wasn’t too hard.
The next step made me feel a little icky though. It seems that to receive tips, you need to verify with KYC (Passport and driver’s license) at a service called uphold. Here I was, expecting a permissionless way for creators to earn some extra money, only to find out the gatekeeper is some 3rd party financial service that immediately tries to trick you into some investment scheme as you login.
For science then. I’ll do that verification. I blurred some important information on my documents, in order to prevent identity theft. The first ten attempts were rejected. It turns out that Uphold wasn’t too excited about that. My local law advises this, yet this trustworthy financial service didn’t want to budge. “My way or the highway” seemed to be the common denominator in this whole deal.
After completing the entire process we could get started accepting tips. Yes! We did it! So how did that turn out? We collected 0.24 BAT in over a month. At current prices, that’s basically nothing. I am not too harsh on the payout though. It’s a starting ecosystem, and they didn’t launch the ad platform yet. But…who knows, maybe that future 1 $million BTC price tag will turn the 0.24 BAT into a cup of coffee someday.
It isn’t all bad though. I tested the browser thoroughly, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The Brave browser
I have been a big fan of ad blockers for a long time. But I have to say, it has always been a hassle on phones. I remember that a couple of years ago the only way to really be free from ads on mobile was to root your phone and mess with your host files. Not very easy, and definitely not for everyone. Ads have gotten more obnoxious though. Popping up over your screen as you try to read or watch a video.
Prior to Brave, I was using an outdated Chromium based browser with ad blocking. This was far from ideal, and I was actually looking for something better.
The Brave browser offers a pretty solid solution. My testing shows it blocks ads effectively. But, more importantly, it’s not difficult to set up at all. It blocks all nasty stuff straight away, and you can easily turn it on and off through a few switches on the top. I also found that their advertising regarding speed wasn’t just marketing hocus pocus. I did notice considerable improvements in speed on all platforms.
It is not yet replacing my desktop browser though. Not because it doesn’t deserve it, but I am still too attached to my Firefox browser. I do recommend Brave browser for both mobile and desktop.
As for content creators, I do recommend experimenting with it, but I’d also tell you not to expect anything too amazing yet. Hopefully, this will turn into a creator’s dream platform in the future. However in its current state, it still has a very long way to go.