The ad-blocking wars have been going on for a while now, but it’s about to get even more heated as mobile carrier Three wants to introduce ad-blocking at network level around Europe.
It was nine months ago when reports first started talking about European operators trying to spread online ad-blockers en masse. The Italian and British branches of Three have partnered with Shine, an Israeli company to install ad-blocking software that could be enforced across an entire network.
That way, millions of subscribers will successfully avoid the hassle of ads – all by default. If these two initial operations prove to be efficient, Three wants to introduce the technology to its other markets around the world.
It’s not doubt the measure will be more than welcomed by customers; however, such a drastic action against online advertising is bound to create friction with publishers who need to advertise in order to keep their content up.
More and more users turn to ad-blocking apps to prevent ads and annoying pop-ups, and Adblock Plus seems to be one of the most popular tools. It makes sense that individual users would wish to block ads, but why is Three looking to cut the ads at the source for the entire mobile network?
Apparently, Three isn’t looking to completely eliminate mobile advertising – which would be counterintuitive – but to return some of the control in the hands of customers, giving them “choice and greater transparency over what they receive.”
And the idea behind this partnership actually makes sense; Three argues that customers should not have to pay data fees for receiving ads; instead, the advertiser itself should cover this cost, especially since many ads turn out to be irrelevant, intrusive, or downright excessive.
Details about how exactly Three plans to achieve these goals are still a little fuzzy, but the overall intention seems to be to take a share of the advertising pie. How? By controlling which ads get delivered to users, and which don’t.
Think of it as a similar scheme as the one used by Adblock Plus, which has a whitelist system in place for advertisers who pay to have their ads delivered in spite of the blocks.
Even if we don’t have all the elements of Three’s partnership, it’s clear that the mobile carrier will benefit financially on way or another, despite claiming to have its users’ best interest at heart.
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