Three, a major player in UK’s telecommunications and internet service providers, is about to be the first in the country to test out network backed ad-blocking on its mobile internet services. Starting 13th June and till 20th June, volunteering half a million users of the service will be trying out what could (hopefully) mark a trend of internet services across mobile networks. The company said it wants to give the customers “control, choice and greater transparency” over the content they consumed on the internet. This sparks yet another debate on the way we consider advertisements and the future of the internet as we know it.
For a major part, the entire internet is funded by advertisements. Every free website that generates or shares content, is backed by the strong financial support of advertisements. Naturally, everyone writing, designing, coding, managing, editing and even the web space itself deserves salaries just like anyone else, and this is blocked by everyone using ad blocking methods. On the other hand, the consumer deserves the right to decide what he/she wants to view or consume, and how that is presented to him/her. Ad blocking is not only the consumer’s right, but also a necessary. Web ads may consume as much as 80% of your cellular data (read more by clicking here), and may also hoist a load of malware, trackers, privacy intruders and cause your whole web surfing experience be annoying ads. Ad blockers are completely legal as well.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an advertising business organization that develops industry standards, conducts research, and provides legal support for the online advertising industry in the United States and in Europe expressed its apprehension on the same. It said the move is too “broad” and would harm business. Three said it was exploring ad-blocking on its network because:
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- advertisements count towards customers' mobile data charges, rather than advertisers shouldering the cost
- some advertisers "extract and exploit" customer information
- customers do not always receive relevant adverts and have their browsing experience "degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts"
The mobile network said the technology which is launched with the collaboration of an ad-blocking start-up Shine would block 95% of pop-ups and adverts on websites, but the pre-roll video adverts, sponsored articles and in-feed promotions on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook would not be blocked.
IAB insisted the focus should be on lighter, less intrusive advertisements that do not bother the average user, instead of a large scale block. This would adversely affect content in the long run, for example, your favorite website might charge you to be on a white list, or a subscription. This is already happening across multiple platforms – Forbes, Wired and several other big shot media companies already have ad blocker detection in them and do not run if your ad blocker is enabled. Of course, technical users can utilize ad blocker detection blockers – but the cat-and-mouse chase never really stops. Click to find out how ad blocking detectors could mean real trouble for the future of the internet.
Personally, I believe advertisements are the cancer that has plagued internet. On cripplingly slow internet services and at rates that make no logical sense, toppled with the fact that a truly unlimited internet plan without speed drops hardly is available in India via any service provider, I believe it’s my right to utilize the internet the way I desire, and extract as much usage from my data plan, so I always use multiple ad blockers to never waste my valuable limited data.
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