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 needs explanation. Otherwise it looks like mouthing an apology. We will never revise typed in domains again, I promise.— BrendanEich (@BrendanEich) June 6, 2020
The company made its name by allowing users to choose whether they want ads or not, and paying out cryptocurrency to those who allow them. However, Brave never asked permission about the search bar autocomplete, so users were outraged when it redirected direct URL inputs to an affiliate link, even though it did serve up the correct page. It may also be considered bad form for a privacy-oriented browser because it is directly serving company-affiliated links that are essentially ways to track users through a website.