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Ex-Mozilla chief's adblocking extension Brave riles publishers

A company launched by the co-founder of web browser Mozilla created waves earlier this week by announcing it will block and replace ads on publishers' sites to then offer to split the revenue with the site, itself, its ad partner and in a new twist, the readers.

Brave has launched with a suitably brave mission goal, arguing that it is blocking ads that are tracking web user’s IP’s across the web and replacing them with entries from its own ad network using only locally stored data, according to the Next Web.

Under the new model, ad payments will be redistributed, fifteen per cent to Brave, another 15 per cent to its ad network, 55 per cent to the publisher and 15 per cent to the reader in a micropayment style transaction based upon Bitcoin. Furthermore users will be able to donate their share of the revenue to the publisher.

Brave has not went down well in the US. Seventeen members of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) have issued a cease and desist letter to the company.

NAA chief executive, David Chavern, said: “Brave's proposed business model crosses legal and ethical boundaries, and should be viewed as illegal and deceptive by the courts, consumers and those who value the creation of content.

“Brave should feel free to create its own content on its own platforms, but it cannot illegally launch its own advertising business on the backs of our journalists, editors, technologists and other staff."

Brave stood firm and issued a response on Thursday. It denied tampering with first-party publisher content “including native ads that do not use third-party tracking”.

It also denied trying to steal publisher profits instead arguing: “Brave is building a better ad network with a bespoke browser tied anonymously to the network. We will actually pay the publishers more of the revenue shared through our system than most websites are getting now from third-party ads.”

Ben Barokas, co-founder and chief executive at Sourcepoint., said: “While the Brave business model has been the subject of an extreme backlash in the media, it does again raise the ultimate issue premium publishers are facing - the need for publishers to engage their audiences directly in dialogue about compensation preferences. The void between premium publishers and their audiences seems to be getting wider every day and much work is needed to reconnect and reopen the lines of direct communication.

“To get to the heart of the issue, the industry must offer consumers choice. Publishers looking to re-engage with audiences must provide options for compensation, in a transparent and informative way, and realise there is no one correct method.

“Notably the collaborative approach of the 17 US publishers – that have voiced concerns over the proposed Brave model – mirrors that of European countries including Sweden, France, and Belgium, where publishers have come together to take action. This reinforces the view that we must work together as an industry, to educate consumers and reinstate a fair value exchange.”

Below is Brave's business model as it explains it.

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