Google’s push toward viewable-only ads may not mean one jot of difference to advertisers in the Caribbean and South Pacific unless the tech giant agrees to pay up.
Mobile carrier Digicel announced Wednesday that its network will soon block online advertising unless companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo agree to pay ad delivery fees.
The operator, which has approximately 13.6 million subscribers, said it has teamed up with Israeli company Shine Technologies to utilize their mobile ad control technology at the network level. Though mobile users will have the option to opt out of ad blocking, the setting will soon become the default. The technology will initially roll out in Jamaica before expanding to other markets in the Caribbean and South Pacific in the coming months, the company said.
According to Digicel chairman Denis O’Brien, the move comes as part of the carrier’s attempt to fight back against large tech companies who “take a lot of credit when it comes to pushing the idea of broadband for all” but contribute little or no money to the effort.
“This is about giving customers the best experience and about getting access to broadband to the unconnected and allowing them to benefit from the opportunities it affords,” O’Brien said. “Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook…. unashamedly trade off the efforts and investments of network operators like Digicel to make money for themselves. That’s unacceptable, and we as a network operator, are taking a stand against them to force them to put their hands in their pockets and play a real role in improving the opportunities for economic empowerment for the global population.”
In addition to the potential financial benefits of the strategy, O’Brien said the move will free up more data for subscribers. Ads currently account for as much as 10 percent of a customer’s data allowance, the company said.
Shine CEO Ron Porat said he hopes the carrier’s decision to block ads will spark a larger discussion on the future of digital advertising.
“Shine is dedicated to putting a stop to the abusive behavior of mobile advertising toward the network operator and the consumer,” Porat said in a statement. “We believe it is now time for everyone in the digital advertising ecosystem to look to the future and start having a conversation about how better and sustainable digital advertising can be created to foster stronger, mutually beneficial relationships that are based on transparency and trust.”