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[Report] European Mobile Carriers Consider Targeting Google By Blocking Mobile Ads
Move would block online and app ads with the aim of getting Google and others to share in network infrastructure costs.
The Financial Times reported Thursday that several European mobile carriers plan to block advertising as a way to stand up to the likes of Google, Yahoo and AOL, but primarily Google.
The report cites anonymous sources from mobile carriers stating that they plan to activate ad blocking software from Shine, an Israeli-based firm, now installed in their data centers that can keep ads from displaying on the web and in apps, but not the types of in-stream ads used by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
The Financial Times says “An executive at a European mobile operator confirmed that it and several of its peers are planning to start blocking adverts this year.” It will reportedly launch as an opt-in service for users, but the executive also said the company is considering applying the ad blocking software network-wide.
The aim, according to the source, is “to specifically target Google, blocking advertising on its websites in attempt to force the company into giving up a cut of its revenues.”
Carriers want digital media companies to share in the infrastructure costs involved in building out and maintaining the high-speed networks that allow the media firms to profit from the advertising delivered to users. Mobile advertising spend is expected to hit $51 billion this year, globally, and more than double to $105 billion by 2019, according to UK-based Juniper Research. Research firm, eMarketer pegs this year’s global spend on mobile advertising even higher at $69 billion.
This idea, of course, raises the question of whether a drastic move like this, which the executive referred to as “the bomb”, would even be legal under net neutrality rules. While the European Commission filed antitrust charges against Google last month, the idea that it would allow mobile networks to block ads wholesale is hard to imagine.
The executive source added that the move might be gradual, “It would be feasible to block adverts on Google ‘just for an hour or a day’ to bring the company to the negotiating table”.
Not only are legal ramifications likely, if the networks move forward with “the bomb” strategy, there would certainly be backlash from both the media companies delivering the ads and the European publishers that rely on advertising revenue from their websites and apps.