According to a report by the Financial Times (here – subscription required), several European operators are planning to rip mobile ads out of your phone. The claim is that it is payback time for Google! Google dominates media with $50.5bn of advertising revenues with mobile ads accounting for a significant and growing portion. The other big contender here is Facebook, who account for over a quarter of all spending on mobile ads.
The claim from vendors such as Shine, is that ad blocking is right of the consumer. Shine is an Israeli startup whose technology can not only remove mobile ads, but it can replace the ad with one controlled by the operators. Hmm, that benevolent and more like an interesting business case.
Operators have long tinkered with mobile ads trying to figure out who they can get a slice of the very lucrative advertising pie. A while back I blogged about the possible return from the idea of targeted advertising (here). Operators are generally sitting on a gold mine of customer analytics, but in most cases for regulatory reasons or fear of consumer back lash they have not successfully been able to monetize them. Many operators today a fiddling around with HTTP and Java injection methods to reclaim some mobile ads space.
While this issue may well seep into the Net Neutrality debate, it may come from an unexpected direction. That being, if all things are neutral, then why shouldn’t operators be allowed to do exactly what Google is doing? If you tell me it’s an issue of privacy, then for heaven’s sake stop Google and everyone else doing it.
Having said that, ripping mobile ads out of games or apps may have the adverse effect. Nobody who uses free ad-sponsored games or apps wants to start paying for it – this would undoubtedly cause a massive backlash.
There is the odd occasion when Google sounds creepily like a monopoly. For example, check out the response from a Google exec when the Australia government threaten to make them pay tax.
“I think it’s entirely fair we pay tax,” said one Google executive. “Just like it’s entirely fair that you may be forced to use Bing maps to try and get to a party this weekend. You think it’s bad that our profits are going offshore? Just wait until you’re trying to get to Jenny’s house by 7 and find yourself in an oil rig in the Gulf of Carpentaria”. (more here SBS)
Taking on Google at their own game, now that sounds pretty fair and neutral to me.
More Here… (Tekkie)