Basic Attention Token (BAT) is a new distributed token of utility being utilized in conjunction with the recently debuted Brave browser. The team behind BAT, which relies on the Ethereum network, was founded by Brendan Eich, the father of Javascript as well as co-founder of Mozilla and Firefox. The browser and token are, in conjunction, designed to mitigate systematic problems within the digital advertising space. These problems, as identified by Eich’s team, stem from overwhelming complexity that, ironically, arose despite earlier expectations that the unprecedented availability of information on the internet would amplify and accelerate advertiser access to relevant users. A dense ecosystem of 3rd party intermediate ad entities, malvertisements (malicious advertisements that lure users to sites bearing malware), botnets that fraudulently drive up ad revenue and ad data transfer steps and the irresultant induced latencies that, in concert, delay webpage load times and comprise a major fraction of mobile web user data fees.
All of these individual factors contribute to undercut ad revenues on the part of content publishers, impair cost effective targeting of audiences by advertisers, and cause slower and more expensive web surfing experiences for users. The BAT white paper’s assessment of the systematic issues in the advertisement space doesn’t hold back: advertisers suffer from poorly constrained returns that are obfuscated by the complexity of the whole system. Publishers face an array of costs associated with providing ad space, such as those for coordinating campaigns, and running analytics applications. Publishers can also lose money when users encounter malvertisements. Additionally, the BAT team cites loss of privacy on the part of users.
To drive home the point, the BAT white paper lists some sobering statistics. Based upon an Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and White Ops report they cite, at the time of writing, bot fraud losses projected for 2016 were 7.2 billion USD, A 900 million USD increase from the previous year. Between 2015 and 2016, malvertisement increased 132%, according to figures cited from RiskIQ, with entertainment and news websites comprising the majority of targets. The white paper also refers to a study reported in Business Intelligence that estimates that half of mobile data is ad related, costing a typical user as much as 23 USD monthly.
More creepily, at the time of the white paper’s writing, 73% of revenue from ads was made by Google and Facebook. This hurts publishers because users who arrive on their site via social media display one third the engagement of direct users, with respect to time. Ad-blocking software hurts publishers in the wallet as well.
The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.
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