What does “No ads. No Internet.” mean?

Most of the websites you visit and trust need to pay for the people that create the content you read, enjoy, and share. These news and entertainment websites depend on advertising to be the source of these essential revenues.

To some extent, the more time you spend on a site, the more advertising revenues the site can generate. However, the success of websites in generating the advertising revenues they need to survive depends on elements other than the time you spend on them, and that’s become a serious problem.

How can I “save” my favorite sites?

First, it’s important to understand a bit about Facebook and Google. Facebook and Google have become giant companies by grabbing more and more of all the advertising on the web. Today, these two companies capture 60% of all web advertising, and this accounts for most of their income.

A central reason for the extraordinary financial success of Facebook and Google is that users sign in to their services. When you sign in, Facebook and Google know who you, they can follow your activities across their services, and they can often see many of your other activities on the web. Because they know so much about your activities and bevahior, Facebook and Google can provide advertisers with the most effective, targeted advertising, which becomes the advertiser’s first choice.

Many of the websites you visit are struggling because their advertising revenues no longer match the money they need to pay for the creation of their content. Most of us visit the free websites of newspapers, magazines, television stations, or other online sites and don’t sign in. By enjoying the content on these free sites without signing in, we make it very difficult for these websites to successfully compete in offering targeted advertising with companies like Facebook and Google who always know who you are.

You may be surprised by the idea that the newspapers, magazines, or television stations you trust that offer websites you enjoy for free could go out of business. Most of us are familiar with how web shopping destroyed some of the most successful brick and mortar stores, like Sears and Toys “R” Us. Now, many of our favorite online websites face the possibility of similar extinction. The surprising thing is this very real threat to survival exists because sites like Google and Facebook are better at offering targeting advertising, not because their content is better. It is because most users sign in. And let’s face it, a lot of their content is from the same free sites that now face extinction.

What does BritePool do for me?

The web is a confusing place, and BritePool works to create a safer, better experience. BritePool is a free service that provides you with information and recommended tools to protect your online privacy, the ability to choose preferences for the ads you want to see, rewards for participating, control over many of the ads you see (the ability to opt-out), and information about how online advertising works. For example, Google and Facebook offer a range of tools for managing your privacy in using these services. These tools can be confusing and hard to find. BritePool provides member with up-to-date, simple instructions for managing your privacy on Google and Facebook.

Also, BritePool is a way of ensuring the free websites you trust and enjoy survive and remain free to visit. To do this, members must sign in to join BritePool. By signing in, the publisher is certain of your identity and can charge advertisers a higher fee to show you an ad. This provides more revenue to create more content to show viewers. It is why BritePool says, “sign in to support your favorite websites.”

How do I earn rewards, and what can I do with them?

BritePool is asking you to sign in to our program to help free, advertising-supported websites thrive. It seems only fair to give those who participate something in return. When you sign up for BritePool, you earn points. Each month you remain a member of BritePool, you earn more points. Once you are logged in, you’ll see a list on our website of other ways you earn points. As a new service, we are still creating the benefits we will provide for BritePool points.

Why does anyone want my data? And what data? What do online advertisers know about me?

Advertisers pay websites to show advertisements to people who come to their site. In a perfect world, ads are only seen by people who are interested in the products or services these sites feature. To determine what interests you and the ads they show you, websites may track the pages you visit on their site and the ads you click. Often, websites add information from other sources to better decide if you are likely to be interested in specific advertisiements. All of this information is “your data,” which responsible websites only use to provide you with as relevant advertising as possible.

How does tracking for advertisers work on the Internet?

Until now, the primary means of providing most website advertisers with information about your behavior on the web is the use of a technology called “cookies.” This technology was developed for Internet browsers (such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Explorer) early in the history of the web. Websites you visit can place a cookie on your browser which tracks a trail of crumbs that reports to these sites your activities across the Internet.

However, cookies are very inaccurate, since they are associated with your browser for each of your devices and not you. If you use many devices with different browsers, each browser collects its own batch of cookies. The cookies give advertisers insights into the type of content that interest the user of the browser but that doesn’t mean cookies know who you are.

In contrast, by asking you to sign in, Facebook and Google know who you are, and therefore rely far less on inaccurate cookies for targeting data. All of this is an added explanation of why sites like Facebook and Google which provide targeted advertising threaten the survival of the free websites you enjoy. They know who you are, and they can build an accurate profile for advertisers of your activities. They almost always win in competing for advertising dollars because targeted advertising works so much better.

Cookies are inefficient. They are also disappearing, largely because of their misuse and the privacy concerns they create. That’s a good thing for your privacy. But it won’t hurt Facebook and Google, who don’t need cookies for targeted advertising. It will hurt free ad-supported websites. In a world without cookies, the advertising revenue your favorite free sites need to survive will plummet. And, ultimately, free, ad-supported sites will disappear.

How is targeted advertising with BritePool different?

In a world without cookies, BritePool helps to save the free ad-supported sites you visit and enjoy. After you join, we ask you to choose the types of ads you would like to see. We ensure this limited amount of information is used in a responsible way, and because it reflects what you tell us, we work to put you in control.

Does BritePool help prevent my information from being stolen?

BritePool members receive easy-to-follow advice and specific recommendations on ways to manage their online privacy. As part of this advice, we show you easy ways to prevent the “hacking” of your personal information. We want to make it simple and easy for you to feel secure online.

How much does it cost to join BritePool?

Nothing. It’s completely free.