Home Forums General tech discussions If it is free, you are the product

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    There are countless free things on the internet, but no-one really gives away anything for free and there is always a catch. The company or person giving away the freebie is actually making money somehow from you.

    It is not always obvious how they are doing this, but sometimes things come to light and we see how a ‘freebie’ is a money maker for the company or person.

    Take Brave web browser for example. This is a free browser for Windows, macOS and Linux and it aims to make the web faster and more private. In fact, privacy is probably the most important feature.

    So how is it able to give away the browser for free? After all, the About page lists dozens of employees.

    It earns money by adding affiliate links to the URLs you type into it. Start typing a website and if it is one of Brave’s affiliates, it auto-completes the URL to save you typing, but you probably won’t notice that it also adds its own affiliate code to the link.

    This is not exactly private and affiliate links might enable tracking of some sort.

    When users found out that their privacy-focused browser was changing URLs into affiliate links, there was a bit of a row and because of the backlash, Brave has removed the affiliate links (presumably you would need to download an updated version of the browser).

    Is this acceptable behavior? Is it OK to change URLs you enter and add affiliate links so they earn from your web browsing?

    Co-founder and CEO BrendanEich has plenty to say on Twitter.

    Read more at the Independent website.


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