Brave, the free open source browser that aims to offer enhanced privacy, is facing anger from users after being caught adding affiliate links to cryptocurrency company URLs. Users allege that Brave is profiting from the issue, which the company claims is an error.
Last week various twitter users noticed that despite typing Binance.us into the search bar on the Brave browser, the browser altered the URL to Binance.us/en?ref=35089877. Although both addresses eventually lead to the same place, the revised address not only allows Brave to earn a commission but users are also tracked.
When confronted by angry users, Brave CEO and Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich acknowledged the error and admitted that Brave does act as an affiliate, but claimed that the redirection is a glitch. Eich said that this mistake is in the process of being rectified. He tweeted, “Brave default autocompletes verbatim ‘http://binance.us’ in address bar to add an affiliate code. We are a Binance affiliate, we refer users via the opt-in trading widget on the new tab page, but autocomplete should not add any code.”
Eich added, “The autocomplete default was inspired by search query clientid attribution that all browsers do, but unlike keyword queries, a typed-in URL should go to the domain named, without any additions.” He went on to say, “but we seek skin-in-game affiliate revenue too. This includes bringing new users to Binance & other exchanges via opt-in trading widgets/other UX that preserves privacy prior to opt-in. It includes search revenue deals, as all major browsers do.”
Brave is currently available for iOS, Android, Linux, Windows, and macOS. The first version of the browser launched in January 2016 and featured ad blocking. The initial pay-to-surf version of the browser was released in June 2018. More information about Brave Browser can be found at brave.com.