Begun, The Mobile Ad-Blocking Wars Have

There’s a coming war between telecoms companies and the advertising industry, and it’s all to do with the increasing bloatware of online advertising. You don’t have to look far to find the evidence.

Apple guru DaringFireball recently wrote:

“It’s not just the download size, long initial page load time, and the ads that cover valuable screen real estate as fixed elements. The fact that these JavaScript trackers hit the network for a full-minute after the page has completely loaded is downright criminal. Advertising should have minimal effect on page load times and device battery life. Advertising should be respectful of the user’s time, attention, and battery life. The industry has gluttonously gone the other way.”

Rob Leathern, ormer CEO of Optimal, wrote:

“Many publishers simply must have a sense that something nasty is going on — when their users complain about slow page loads on mobile web — but they either don’t have the tech savvy and/or more likely, they won’t ask questions about how their site could possibly be monetizing as well as it is when simple math indicates that their users aren’t watching that many video streams. Many simply turn a blind eye… Is it any wonder desktop ad blocking has been on the rise, and many iOS users are excited at the prospect of using content blocking in iOS9 to get rid of mobile ads? The industry has only itself to blame.”

Today Israeli/US startup Shine, which has raised $3.3M to date and targets mobile carriers with its ad-blocking product, has gone on an advertising offensive, taking out large adverts in the Financial Times to address this ad-blocking issue. CMO Roi Carthy, who is also a managing partner at told me “We’re calling out the GSMA to act on Zero Rating ads. Consumers shouldn’t be subsidizing ad tech’s billion dollar businesses.”

This is just the latest salvo in what is going to become an increasingly bitter war.

Ad blocking on mobile has been possible for a while. Services like Adblock Plus and TrustGo allow users to control the amount of advertising they see on apps. And right there are well over 144 million active ad blocker users around the world according to PageFair and Adobe. For mobile carriers ads can be a headache, since the standard app or website can ping an antenna up to 50 times a minute in a process called background signaling. This bandwidth costs real money.

What has to happen of course is that publishers, if they want to keep their ad-driven model, need to start reigning this insanity back in. With media consumption on the mobile sky-rocketing, its the only option they’ve got. The alternative is more ad-blocking and, obviously, the increase in valuations of startups that provide this to carriers.