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    Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking

    This is a discussion on Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking - ISPreview UK Mobile operator EE has threatened to become one ...

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      Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking

      Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking - ISPreview UK
      Mobile operator EE has threatened to become one of the first Internet access providers to introduce a controversial network-level blocking system against website adverts, which has sparked a debate about the quality of advertising and raised questions over how far ISPs should intrude online.

      At present all of the major UK mobile operators and fixed line providers already offer similar Parental Control features, which allows their subscribers to block websites that feature adult Internet content (porn, gambling etc.). Related systems tend to attract all sorts of concerns with regards to censorship, incorrect blocks and so forth.

      In a similar way most website browsers also offer ad blocking features, either as a standard option or via a free add-on / extension, although such features are often harder to find on mobile browsers than their desktop counterparts. However EEís CEO, Olaf Swantee, told the Telegraph that he wants to change all that.

      Olaf Swantee said:

      ďWe think itís important that, over time, customers start to be offered more choice and control over the level and intensity of ads on mobile.
      For EE, this is not about ad blocking, but about starting an important debate around customer choice, controls and the level of ads customers receive.

      This is an important debate that needs to happen soon. Thatís why weíve kicked off a strategic review internally to start considering our plans
      .
      Not all ads are bad. When a business gets it right, itís appreciated and sparks a connection. But when itís intrusive or crass it can drive people crazy.ď
      Swantee certainly makes a perfectly valid point about overly intrusive advertising and no doubt many of you will have visited websites that almost seem to flood your screen with horrible auto-play videos, audio, pop-ups and a variety of other annoyances. Excessive advertising is thus not only annoying, but it can also gobble your data allowance.

      On the other hand advertising is also the bread and butter that makes it possible to produce most of the online worlds ďfreeĒ content, such as this very website and millions of others, that you can read without having to pay a fee to access. But such a model would struggle if Internet providers began to aggressively block adverts of their own accord.

      Equally it would be technically very difficult to accurately micro-manage advertising on websites from a network-level environment, plus thereís a big question mark over whether any network operator should be going as far as EE seems inclined to do.

      A lot of ISPs like to claim that they are only ďmere conduitsĒ of information, which can be a useful and truthful defence when one of their customers shares illegal content or commits a cyber-crime, but increasingly some ISPs are also controlling what we can and cannot see online and thus that position may slowly come under threat through mission creep.

      In this instance EE seems to be seeking to enforce good behaviour from advertisers, rather than block them altogether, which is noble but may be fraught with difficulty. Any attempt to impose such restricts could run into a barrage of regulatory and legal problems, depending upon its implementation. Lest we not forget Europeís new Net Neutrality rules (here and here).

      On the other hand an optional blocking system, which only targets the most intrusive of adverts, certainly does have its merits (this seems to be what EE are considering). But who then decides which adverts are intrusive and how would such a system be managed (assuming it could even work)? Automated ad blocking can also affect other systems on a website too, they donít always function as intended.

      Ultimately any provider that adopted such a service would no doubt be very attractive to subscribers, but they could also use that position to hold advertisers to ransom by forcing them to pay up if they want their adverts to remain visible. The big ad giants of course also have a lot of influence, with Google owning a huge lump of online content and being linked to the Android operating system behind many Smartphones.


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      Re: Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking

      I find auto-video play the most annoying. Suddenly the general silence of my study is disturbed by some annoying claptrap I have zero interest in.
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      Re: Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking

      Agreed. Often I'll visit a news site, for example, and they'll be some annoying audio being played.

      Often too news site are shoving their own ads in front of videos relating to articles. I've often just closed the page rather than watch the video and searched for the original video on YouTube.

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      Re: Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking

      but they could also use that position to hold advertisers to ransom by forcing them to pay up if they want their adverts to remain visible.
      I think that is the crux of the matter. ISPs, EE in this case, are annoyed that anyone can use their service to advertise without putting anything into their pockets. Banning adverts at a network level would make some sites inaccessible.

      I agree that there is nothing more annoying than to suddenly have a video or voice over blaring out when you are peacefully surfing. The first thing I look for is the mute button.

      TomD


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      Re: Mobile Giant EE Moots Risky Network-Level Website Ad Blocking

      It's a bit like the compressed audio they use on the adverts. You've got the level just right and bang! They should be banned from doing it, will not happen though.

      A good advert does not need to be loud and have crap music/soundtrack to it.

      Adverts that stick in my mind are like this one, clever.



      and the best Christmas add ever...

      Last edited by marjohn56; 25-11-15 at 04:51 PM.
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