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IAB says Three’s Network-Level Ad-blocking will Kill Smaller Publishers

Vincent Flood  26 May, 2016

ThreeThe IAB says that Three, a mobile operator in the UK, could kill off smaller publishers who are dependent on ad revenue for survival.Three announced today that it is he trial will test the ability of network-level ad blocking technology during the week commencing 13th of June. Three UK will be contacting customers to ask them to agree to take part in the 24-hour trial.

Steve Chester, Director of Data & Industry Programmes, said, “We’re all committed to solving the ad blocking issue but disagree with Three’s approach that network-level ad blocking is the way to go. It’s a broad-brush approach that the largest media owners can probably survive but not the long-tail of smaller ones. In the long-term consumers will also lose out, as they’ll likely have to pay for services that are currently free because they’re supported by advertising.

“We’re engaging with Three on this topic, and remain convinced the best way to solve ad blocking is everyone getting behind the “L.E.A.N” ad standards initiative. This addresses the reasons why people block ads in the first place, and is about providing a lighter, less invasive ad experience, whilst providing consumers with choice.”

To implement the ad-blocking, Three are partnering with Shine, an ad-blocking company whose CMO was quoted as saying ‘we’ve got a great racket going’ at New Video Frontiers last year. And Li Ka-shing, the Hong Kong billionaire owner of CK Hutchison, the company behind Three, is an investor in Shine.

Three UK has revealed the first step in its plans to revolutionise the mobile advertising experience by trialling ad-blocking technology on its network next month.  

We believe the current mobile advertising model is broken* and our customers are becoming increasingly frustrated by irrelevant and intrusive adverts which use up their data allowance and can invade their privacy by tracking their behaviour without their knowledge or consent.

Three say they have three ‘principle goals’ in mobile advertising:

1.    That customers should not pay data charges to receive adverts. These costs should be borne by the advertiser. 

2.    That customers’ privacy and security must be fully protected. Some advertisers use mobile ads to extract and exploit data about customers without their knowledge or consent.

3.    That customers should be entitled to receive advertising that is relevant and interesting to them, and not to have their data experience in mobile degraded by excessive, intrusive, unwanted or irrelevant adverts.

Tom Malleschitz, Chief Marketing Officer, Three UK, said: “The current ad model is broken. It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance and can jeopardise their privacy. Something needs to change. We can only achieve change by working with all stakeholders in the advertising industry – customers, advertising networks and publishers – to create a new form of advertising that is better for all parties.”  

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