Report: Mobile carriers in Europe planning to block ads

Mobile networks in Europe are reportedly planning to block online ads in an effort to hit Google where it hurts: its wallet. But if the report by the Financial Times is true, it’s not just Google that would be affected. If the practice spreads, the Web as we know it would be upended.

Of course, many of the people raising questions — including yours truly — about this potentially huge news work in an ad-supported industry. But the effects would be widespread. Let us count the ways.

The average online user might cheer this news. No more having to install ad blockers, if you do that kind of thing.

Shine is the Israeli company that makes the technology the mobile networks are reportedly going to use to block ads.

“Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year,” Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer of Shine, told the Financial Times.

But it’s simple: No ad revenue could mean no free content.

Related to above: It could stifle innovation. How would companies make money? Would everything have to be subscription-based?

Carthy told the BBC that companies would just have to get more creative. (For example, the blocking wouldn’t affect in-feed ads like the ones you see in your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Would all ads have to turn into advertorial ones?)

There’s the question of the free flow of information. Mobile networks would have control over the content its customers see online. That might not sit right with regulators. Net neutrality and all that, you know.

Also, this could be a way for mobile operators to grab a piece of Google’s big share of the pie.  Network providers have long complained that Internet companies strain their networks and don’t pay their fair share. They might try to force Google (and others) to pay to unblock ads. Sounds like something that regulators might be concerned about, too.


Photo from Associated Press


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