Brave, the open-source Chromium-based browser that promises elevated privacy, has been called out by users for potentially putting revenue over user trust. The company has been redirecting certain crypto company URLs typed in search bars to affiliate links and presumably taking a commission, Decrypt has reported. For instance, he typed in “binance.us” and the company replaced the term with “binance.us/en?ref=35089877,” according to Twitter user Cryptonator.
A serious error in judgment must be explained. Apologies are not enough. I guarantee that typed domains will never be revised again.
— BrendanEich (@BrendanEich)June 6, 2020
This company earned its reputation by giving users the ability to opt for ads or not and then paying cryptocurrency for people who do. Brave didn’t request permission to auto-complete the search bar. As such, it was redirected users’ URLs to an affiliate hyperlink, not serving up the exact page. You might also find it unacceptable for privacy-oriented users as the browser serves directly company-affiliated links, which allow you to track your browsing habits through any website.
Brendan Eich of Brave CEO and Mozilla cofounder said: “The autocomplete default is inspired by search query clientsids attribution that browsers all do but, unlike keyword inquiries, a entered URL should always go to the domain called, without any extras.”
Eich explained to us that the company “is trying to build a viable business.” Mostly, Eich offered the opportunity to permit ads to be paid out in crypto currency. However, Brave is seeking other sources of revenue by including ads and widgets on its new tab pages, much as more established browsers like Firefox already do. This includes the introduction of new users via Binance and other Exchanges using opt-in trade widgets/other UXs that protect privacy prior before opt-in.” he said. This includes searches revenue deals like most browsers.
Some Brave users on Twitter (many from the crypto community) weren’t mollified, but Eich offered a mea culpa. “Sorry, this is an error. Although we know we’re not perfect we quickly corrected the problem. We promise we won’t revise typed domains again.