Why We're Betting on the Future by Partnering with Brave

Portrait of Todd Garland
by Todd Garland
Apr 25, 2019

When we started BuySellAds 10 years ago, the goal was to connect advertisers with the best publishers on the Internet. Our marketplace connected brands with curated audiences. The transactions were simple. An advertiser would provide assets and a simple product link, and the publisher would approve the creative to run on their site. Since then, the broader adtech industry has rapidly moved away from that simple advertising model to something a lot more complicated and convoluted. Data tracking, cookie syncing, retargeting, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook data  targeting -- all of those things would have been hard to imagine when we first started out. Most groundbreaking ideas start out sounding silly. By definition, these change agents are designed to challenge the status quo, to make things better for those who need the product. They don’t start disruptive though. They begin as crazy ideas, as something that may never reach mass adoption or scale.

The Brave browser’s inception was no different. It shares an origin story that’s not so different from the original BuySellAds marketplace: disrupt the status quo because the status quo isn’t good enough.

Fast-forward a few years, and Brave looks like it’s positioned to disrupt the entire Internet. With all of the market changes in adtech, the cry for more ethical technology partners online, and the privacy concerns that dominate the news, we believe that Brave’s crazy idea may just be crazy enough to work. It’s going to be a change for good, and it may be the browser of the future.

Here’s why BuySellAds supports Brave (despite it not necessarily being good for our business) and why we’re incredibly excited to be an early partner with them in this brave new world.

Much like us, they’re privacy first

Privacy is something we cannot afford to lose. For those in the United States, it’s a constitutional right. Today, things are not so cut and dry online. Most browsers are only now waking up to their responsibility to protect users from an industry that has more in common with the surveillance industry than it does the advertising industry.  Today, privacy is more of a concept than the default, and it's a huge problem.

Adtech goes the extra mile to break down any privacy barriers set up online, and instead of adhering to standards like Do Not Track, it just continues to infringe upon your privacy, building user profiles and datasets that are more valuable than your attention.

It’s rare for an adtech company to not need to know who you are to effectively help a publisher monetize attention. In this regard, we are somewhat unique here at BuySellAds because we help publishers effectively monetize without knowing who you are or what you've recently tried to purchase on the Internet. The data is of no use to us. It shouldn’t be of much use to marketers either. Marketing online is as simple as knowing where your target audience lives and then purchasing ad placements from those websites. Contextual advertising is all you need.

Brave is an exemplary light in an industry deliberately devoid of it. The browser has ad blocking built-in. Sure, that’s dangerous to our core business model, and on some level, we wish they wouldn’t also block our ads, but the privacy and health of the web we all love is of much greater importance than BSA’s bottom line.

Ethical advertising, privacy first approaches like Brave’s browser are the future. We’re excited to be able to both support Brave with its efforts to monetize its audience in acceptable ways and continue to support companies that are looking for realistic alternatives to the status quo we find ourselves in today. It’s also why we partnered with Adblock Plus. There’s no place for garbage advertisements on the Internet. Hopefully Brave, and others, can take that trash out for the entire industry.

Alternative Monetization for Publishers

Most ad blockers only block ads. Brave doesn’t just block ads; they are trying to implement a new paradigm -- a world where bad players are removed from the equation and ethical advertisers are prioritized. The solution will help support the publishers we love. Brave will be able to respectfully monetize some of their audiences' attention without sacrificing their privacy.

Four years ago, we predicted that a browser would do precisely this if adtech didn’t clean up its act. While it is unfortunate that publishers are losing more and more control over how they monetize their publications, Brave, unlike most ad blockers, is at least providing an alternative solution.

Is it the perfect solution? Maybe, maybe not. However, we’re dying to find out. We think there’s a growing segment of the population looking for the specific tool that Brave is building. That segment is growing larger and larger every single day.

Respectful Monetization

BuySellAds has been trending away from standard IAB-sized ad units towards minimalist, highly-custom, tightly-integrated “native” ad implementations for the last six years. It just-so-happens that users prefer a more integrated and non-traditional ad experience on our customers’ websites. The 4-8x improvement in click-through-rates over traditionally sized (IAB) ads is fantastic proof that the industry is moving in the right direction. While we do allow a handful of our larger advertising customers to use multi-touch attribution modeling software (it helps them justify the significant budgets), the vast majority of the ads we deliver through our ad serving API are delivered without tracking any data on the user aside from click and impression stats.

Our ad formats are minimalist, and we don’t know anything about a user except for the website they are on when viewing our ads. Budgets continue to grow. Marketers are waking up to the reality that sacrificing data privacy for conversions is a zero-sum game. Consumers are over it. Our advertising partners know the value of minimalist and respectful monetization since it’s been working for them at BSA for years.

We’re helping Brave with advertiser supply. Many of our advertisers align perfectly with the Brave audience, and we believe our visions for the future align.  Adtech is entering a renaissance period, and we’ll need thought leaders like Brave to be successful if we’re going to be ushering in a new era of respectful, minimalist, not-creepy, sustainable advertising for the web.

We’re excited to help Brave in any way we can. Together, we can change the status quo. It’s long past due.

If you're interested in ushering in the new, hit up the link below in the footer of this post and we can get started.

Todd Garland,

CEO and Founder,