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Mobile giant Three to block online advertising

And so the roll out begins...

     
9:29 am on Feb 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just announced, Three has signed up with Shine Technologies to block mobile ads at the network level in the UK and Italy, and then roll out to Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden.

<< In a statement announcing the deal, Three claimed it did not want to eliminate mobile advertising, rather it wanted to “give customers more control, choice and greater transparency over what they receive.” >>

Three has just under 9m subscribers in the UK but is owned by Hutchinson, which has 87m subscribers globally. Hutchinson is also in the process of buying O2 in the UK.

There are articles in all the UK papers this morning.
10:25 am on Feb 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Not just Three according to this EE are in talks as well:

[engadget.com...]

Genuine question ... Is this legal?
10:39 am on Feb 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I thought I'd delve further and it's principally YouTube viewing bandwidth that's causing much/all of this controversy and there I was thinking it was those horrible newspaper sites plastered with garbage ads being served from all over the place that was the issue.
10:46 am on Feb 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the heads up, SmalIP

This is a significant move, especially when the takeover of O2 happens.

It's a worrying trend, whichever type of publisher you are, because it breaks down the idea of ad-supported Internet content.

Three is poised to become the first major European mobile operator to block online advertising on its network, signalling a clash with digital publishers and advertising companies.

It is understood that Three, which runs operators in half a dozen European countries including the UK, will next week announce a deal with Shine, a controversial Israeli technology company that specialises in blocking mobile advertising. Mobile giant Three to block online advertising [telegraph.co.uk]
10:51 am on Feb 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The technology has not been rolled out. At present (if I've read the reports correctly) this is a proposal which does have technology behind it.

I'm not surprised this is happening. g and other advertising networks have failed to keep their channels/offerings clean and that gave rise to ad blockers and a growing consensus among ISPs that perhaps they need to get involved as well.

Ad fraud and malvertising is a very real loss/cost motive by users, isps and (FINALLY) advertising networks to do all they can to reduce the threat vector.
12:08 pm on Feb 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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That's right, it's going to be tested first, and rolled out later. What's interesting to note is that the HK investor in the telecoms company is also an investor in the blocking technology.
11:19 am on Feb 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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So instead of blasting the problem advertisers or blasting the ad serving company for serving problem ads they blast the website owner and give them no options at all, brilliant. Funny how that works, the party doing the heavy lifting for the smallest piece of the pie gets the stinky end of the deal.

If they become too successful with this I wouldn't be surprised if entire websites become blocked to these companies by the website owners. Without content the mobile company is nothing.
2:08 pm on Feb 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I agree JS as soon as this rolls out I'll be blocking those networks with a message, I am sure if enough did it saying XYZ network is blocked due to, well that is going to get them a lot of calls to their complaints department.

I wrote something on my own little blog about Shine last year, real parasites...the mobile carriers want to blackmail sites into giving a cut or what you will see the carriers place their own ads but remove the publishers. I think the later is highly likely. You can imagine them putting a little preroll or such.

The carriers are greedy or they are not charging their customers enough and sold them 4g etc not expecting it to be so heavily used or overpaid for the gov licenses.
2:37 pm on Feb 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Carriers are already blocking sites that are deemed inappropriate for the user based on a settings in a content filter that is setup by default. T-Mobile does it in US. I cant access several Tech blogs/sites that I visit, not on my Smart Phone, and I am too lazy to login to MyAccount to change the setting, so I just move on to a next site. And when I get home I never remember to change the setting. I actually tried contacting the site owners to alert them of the issue earlier last year. Silence on their end too.
8:42 pm on Feb 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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A temporary solution for Google / Facebook could be simple - when user visits their site from 'Three' network they could start a 1GB upload file in the background so that the mobile plan is throttled quickly; then let the 'Three' try to block Google / Facebook and see what happens..
3:02 am on Feb 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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To date, ad blocking has entailed a user-directed manipulation of the data that arrives on the client device. Apple and Samsung raised the stakes by helping users and developers to do this. But Three’s action is significantly different: it’s network-level blocking. Hutch is treating advertising like malware, or spam. Since Three owner CK Hutchison is an investor in Shine, which creates the network-level blocking tech, it’s reasonable to infer that the move is long-term and strategic.

Hutch explained today that it’s implementing ad blocking because “customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts. These should be costs borne by the advertiser.” It added that “some advertisers use mobile ads to extract and exploit data about customers without their knowledge or consent”, and the overall experience is degraded by “excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant” advertising.

Emphasis MINE ...
ADpocalypse NOW: Three raises the stakes
[theregister.co.uk...]
We may be getting more information on the intended direction ....
5:26 pm on Feb 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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So instead of blasting the problem advertisers or blasting the ad serving company for serving problem ads they blast the website owner and give them no options at all, brilliant

Thus you have hit upon the minds of the corporate world, as well as how our respective governments think.

Always confussed [sic], and deluded. To them it is entirely logical.
11:23 pm on Feb 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have played with Shine ad blocking before. They used DNS level filtering to remove all connections to known ad servers. It is very similar to what OpenDNS was doing.
12:09 am on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The solution is simple, just block all of Three's customers and leave them stating at the following:

NO ADS.
NO CONTENT.
WE DON'T WORK FOR FREE.
CONTACT YOUR MOBILE SERVICE PROVIDER TO ACCESS THIS SITE.

That's how you fire back, easy thing to add to any site to test for the IP ranges and route them to this simple page.
7:34 am on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This is why we need net neutrality. Carriers should not be able to decide to arbitrarily block stuff. When users do it, I am inclined to blame intrusive ads, when carriers to it, it is a problem.
7:45 am on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When carriers get pummeled by unhappy customers who see their monthly data caps get busted month after month, they might have to get involved. Advertising is not site content users seek for information, entertainment or products on the web, and found in the serps. Nor is the intrusive tracking and scripting that goes along with that search. Implied or not, the user wants content, not larger phone bills for NON content. (And malvertising and other uglies out there)
10:41 am on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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customers who see their monthly data caps get busted month after month


Just who are all these people?

On these forum boards I have seen one "remote" US user complain about this.

I'm in the UK, I consider myself a regular heavy user but not a YouTuber, I rarely get to 50% of my data allowance and all of my friends are in the same situation.

Is this a US centric issue for people living in remote areas, is it a specific type of user, is it an age group of users?

Hopefully it's not people with $5/month plans expecting the impossible?

Honestly, I do not know anyone with this problem.
11:21 am on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My personal home system is DSL 6mb/s 150gb monthly with two other family members with computers as well. That 150 does not go very far and I'm not willing to pay another $36 a month to add 100gb to the cap when I can block the ads for free (on all systems) and stay in my limit. Houston, Texas, which is NOT a remote part of the US. While not a mobile, the principal is the same. Two friends with heavy cell use have also run into these limits. One pays the overage, the other put blockers on and stays the same rate.

I would say the majority here at WW are not typical users and probably have the biggest and best for anything. I do at work, but not at home, hence, I can see some of the things which have been brought up.
1:38 pm on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My personal home system is DSL 6mb/s 150gb monthly with two other family members with computers as well.


What's your basic cost and does this include phone calls and line rental?

Is this peak and off peak or is it one flat rate for 24 hours a month?
6:12 pm on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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24/7 $55/m for the internet.
7:32 pm on Feb 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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A key factor in this is the advertisers and ad systems getting blocked. The ads are there to help publishers pay for their operations. The ads themselves are not bandwidth hogs, so that's a weak argument, imho.

The cumulative ads across a network soon adds up, of course.
 

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