The ad blocking phenomenon just took a turn for the worse – if you’re an advertiser – or better (perhaps) – if you’re a consumer – with Three Group’s decision to partner with Israeli ad blocker Shine to cut out display ads on mobiles and apps at the network level.
Unlike many ad blockers, Three customers in the UK and Italy will need to opt in to receive ads rather than opt out, as is the case with most current ad blockers. Three plans to roll out the system across its other European markets which include Austria, Denmark and Sweden. Around 30m Three subscribers will have ads blocked.
Three UK CMO Tom Malleschitz says: “Irrelevant and excessive mobile ads annoy customers and affect their overall network experience. We don’t believe customers should have to pay for data usage driven by mobile ads. The industry has to work together to give customers mobile ads they want and benefit from.”
Shine, which also has a relationship with Digicel in the Caribbean, says: “Shine gives consumers the choice to protect themselves from the abusive behavior of AdTech, including tracking, targeting, personal information usage and cellular data theft. This answers any speculation about the possibility of rolling out network-level Ad Blocking in Europe. It’s now a fact.”
Three has run a series of aggressive marketing campaigns in the UK through Wieden+Kennedy – essentially saying it cuts the bullshit out of mobile offers – and we can no doubt expect to see one on this theme. It will be interesting to see if rivals like EE and Vodafone follow suit.
The news will alarm the likes of Facebook and Google which are profiting mightily from the mobile ad boom, essentially at no cost to themselves. But when did Facebook and Google pay for anything?