Shine, the Israeli ad blocking company, ran this ad in the Financial Times today. A bold move!
Shine is the company that provides ad blocking software preventing ads from downloading on mobile devices. They maintain that it is the consumers’ right to choose what they want to see on their phones.
Following the link in the ad one arrives at these quotes from senior people in the digital ad industry:
“We need to be worried.” Sridhar Ramaswamy, VP Ads & Commerce, Google
“We messed up.” Scott Cunningham, SVP Technology & Ad Operations, IAB
“Ad blocking represents consumer outrage.” Bob Liodice, CEO, ANA
To date Shine has signed deals in Jamaica (with Digicel) and is expecting to launch new initiatives in the States and Europe, one of which is claimed to involve 40 million subscribers.
“Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year,” said Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer of Shine.
While there appears to be an ethical dimension to this fracas the real issue probably has its roots in money. Network providers are not comfortable that advertisers are able to use their networks for the distribution of commercial messages for free. Note that Google is the world’s largest ad company with $60bn per year earned through search, YouTube and others. Much of this revenue is earned through mobile.
The other side of the money issue is that subscribers foot the bill for data download meaning that they are paying to receive messages that they are not free to refuse.
Google argues that many of the services they provide to adoring users are funded through ads, thus exonerating them from blame. Examples include everything from apps through to Google maps.
There is a legal dimension too. Many cellular networks are required to treat all data flows equally. If Shine chooses to specifically target Google, which appears to be a key objective, networks may be contravening the law if they co-operate.
This is an interesting saga. There is serious money behind Shine emanating from Asia. Any escalation could be significant.
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