Le Shill Lion


Redditors have been spamming my videos asking me to respond to the "controversy"/"fiasco" that Brave has been using affiliate links to certain sites openly for their intended purpose.

In March, a commit added additional links that added in suggestions to sites like Coinbase that included Brave's affiliate link. This was merged into the upstream in April. You can see the relevant git history.

These affiliate links have displayed openly in the url bar and in the autocomplete as options for months. Mind you, Brave already had a built-in autocomplete/suggestions that recommend sites that you've never been to. (This has actually always annoyed me to no end and there's no obvious way to turn off these recommendations to useless sites like the New York Times, LinkedIn or Google Calendar.)

Yet in the past couple of days, some regular investigative journalists discovered what had been in front of their faces every time they typed in their url bar. A lot of people and pages melodramatically call this "link hijacking." I wish they held those standards for any other program...

The "controversy" is that when Brave added links to Coinbase and other sites will affiliate links, it includes those affiliate links into the autocomplete. (With non-affiliate suggestions as well.) Some non-intrusive affiliate pages would autofill as well (while intrusive pages like Coinbase's would only open if manually selected by the user).

Really, what is Brave supposed to do? It already recommends sites, including the sites with affiliate links and Brave is actually literally leading users to these sites anyway. Using an affiliate link is the right way to do it: these companies want to know and incentivize people who share their sites. Brave is already doing that. It's not like it's costing the user anything. The sites already know your browser anyway.

Note that DuckDuckGo has done exactly the same thing and makes money from forcibly putting their affiliate links on Amazon and eBay search results.

There are a lot of furry communists who think that anything involving money must be "shady" or untrustworthy. The fact is, if Brave is not going to make money by shilling for NGOs and political non-profits like Firefox, or sell user data like Google, it should be making money on things like this. This is literally what affiliate links are for. I can't even pretend it's bad. This is just dumb.