Building technology that empowers consumer control and advertiser sales

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In our second #Power100 feature, see how Gener8 went from a Dragons Den startup to driving impressive results for brands via its privacy-centric web browser.

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Gener8 founder Sam Jones came to national attention in the UK following his appearance on the popular BBC show Dragons’ Den. After impressing the Dragons with a slick pitch for the innovative internet browser that gives users control of their personal data, four out of five vied to finance the company. But, as he explained, success was by no means guaranteed. “You never know what's going to happen when you walk out of those lift doors…I was so relieved when the Dragons instantly got what I was telling them about Gener8, and what we’re doing with our mission.”  

That mission is to create technology that empowers people to control and earn from their own data, instead of it being opaquely monetized by the world’s biggest tech giants. It says something about the growing awareness of the value of personal data that Gener8 was such a successful pitch.  

In his previous role as brand manager at Red Bull, where he was responsible for around a third of the company’s global ad budget, Jones recognized a distinct lack of knowledge around how consumers’ online behaviour was tracked and monetized without informed consent. 

That awareness has improved immeasurably today – with local data regulations like GDPR and CCPA gradually seeping into public consciousness – but Jones considers the landscape to still be something of a Wild West. Companies continue to make it incredibly difficult for individuals to control how their data is used. “If you use the world’s largest search engine and you want to stop them from tracking you, it takes 17 clicks.” Publisher sites can be equally guilty in their quest for ad revenue. “Go to the UK’s most popular news site, and it takes just one click to allow them to drop a cookie that then shares your information with 1,436 different companies.”  

Anticipating growing consumer demand for choice around how personal data is used and who earns from it, Gener8 is well positioned to thrive. Users are given a choice between two modes when using the browser: privacy or rewards. Choosing privacy mode blocks all companies from tracking you online. While rewards mode means you share your data with Gener8 in exchange for points that can be redeemed in the form of products, promotions or even charity donations, all via the Gener8 marketplace. 

Working with brands via Awin, Gener8 can offer users highly relevant and valuable products and deals – and this is key to making rewards mode so compelling. “If I stop a 25-year-old on the street and tell him he can have £7.99 this month,” says Jones, “then he won’t really care. But if I tell him he can have a month of Netflix for free, then all of a sudden he's really excited. The monetary cost is the same, but the perceived value is very high.”  

Over 90% of Gener8’s nearly 500,000 users opt into rewards mode currently, so these partnerships are clearly working. And with a newly-launched product called Gener8 Genie providing users with coupon codes as they shop online and the browser witnessing an enormous amount of organic growth and adoption, Gener8 looks well set to continue its mission of empowering individuals to take control of their data. 

Listen to Sam Jones on the Awin Talks podcast as he chats to Rob and Kevin about the inception and evolution of Gener8. 

Gener8 is one of the #Power100 partners featured in the ‘Enabling ethical ecommerce’ chapter of our new Awin Report - an industry first publication profiling 100 of the most exciting partnerships on our global platform across every market and sector. Register here for your free copy.  

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