On Wednesday, the mobile operation Digicel, which is based in the Caribbean, announced that it has begun blocking web ads in its network. It appears that Digicel is targeting internet giants such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google, according to the Irish Times. This means that people who use Digicel may not see advertisements on Digicel’s network, unless the ad-serving platforms have entered into essentially what is a revenue-sharing agreement.
In the eyes of Denis O’Brien, the founder of Digicel, he believes that web giants like Google and Facebook are able to generate revenue via Digicel’s infrastructure. Digicel’s CEO thinks this is unfair.
As for how Digicel is managing to block advertisements from being served to its customers, it has partnered up with Shine Technologies. Shine is a an ad-control company based in Israel. Digicel and Shine Technologies are working together to block ads that are served from Internet giants, when customers if Digicel are using the Internet. Digicel operates in 31 markets, but as of right now, Digicel is blocking ads to customers in Jamaica.
Digicel said Google, Facebook, Yahoo and companies like them should enter into revenue sharing agreements. Digicel said that this would go toward network investing. O’Brien said
“Currently, these companies do not pay to make use of the network and the services they provide on it suck up bandwidth to make money for themselves through advertising while putting no money in.”
Digicel also argues that ads can eat up customers’ data plan allowance. In matter of fact, the company says that as much as 10 percent can be used as a result of ads. As a result of this, Digicel believes that companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google, are not properly compensating Digicel for using its bandwidth, according to Business Insider.
In the past, Shine estimated that ads can hog up as much as 50 percent of a data plan.
Also, Digicel is going to automatically switch the system on. This means that Digicel doesn’t plan on using marketing to promote ad blocking, and Digicel’s customers won’t have to do anything in order to have the ad blocking system turned on.
O’Brien said that this whole ad-blocking thing is about giving Digicel’s customers a great experience. He added that it is also about reaching out to the unconnected and providing them with access to broadband, which will allow them to benefit from the various opportunities that it offers. O’Brien pointed out that when it comes to pushing around the idea of broadband for all, companies such as Facebook, Yahoo and Google take a lot of credit, but they don’t cough up any cash.
As for Shine’s stance on ad blocking, it is pretty much aligned with Digicel’s stance. Shine believes that ad blocking is a consumer right, and they don’t seem bothered about the potential money that publishers may lose as a result of ads being blocked to consumers who use Digicel.
The chief marketing officer of Shine is Roi Carthy. Carthy said that if a consumer decides to use ad blocking, then it is their right to do so. He added that nobody in the business world has a God-given right to exist. He acknowledged that there will be causalities, but he rest assured that he wouldn’t be losing sleep knowing that inventory ad networks will go away.
Digicel is the first customer that Shine has publicly announced, but from what it sounds like, Digicel won’t be its last customer. Depending on how Digicel’s plan goes, other carriers may jump aboard and start using Shine to block ads from being shown to their customers, unless web giants were willing to pay for the privilege.