In today’s Internet, the constant use of ads has become a bone of contention between publishers, YouTube creators and the general consumer base. On the one hand, it’s hard to offer content to people for free without using ads to make some sort of money, and on the other, users have become so used to receiving content like this for free, that they don’t want to pay for it. It’s clear that the ad industry is changing, and perhaps not for the better, but there’s one network across the pond that tried, and seemingly failed, to make a difference. Three, one of the “big four” networks in the United Kingdom, pledged to block all mobile ads on their network for a single day back in June, and while the firm went ahead with the plan, it seems they have got the attention of big, bad Google for all the wrong reasons.
Tom Malleschitz, CMO of Three, said during an event in London this week that “We don’t believe ad blocking is the solution. We are one of the biggest advertisers in the country and I know if I have annoyed you with my ad, I lose money. It is more about creating something that is inspiring and relevant”. This change of tune comes despite the 86 percent approval with the blocking of ads from customers, and it appears as though threats from websites and services that would block traffic from Three’s network had spooked the network a little bit. Malleschitz spoke of Google in particular, saying that the Internet giant was interested in their stores, and revealed that their announcement of working with ad blocking firm Shine, flat out “pissed off” not only Google, but the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom.
The approach to ads that Three has now appears to be more rational, and something that the whole industry would do well to adopt; that customers shouldn’t pay for the data used by ads, and that the ads in question should be relevant and not jarring in any way. All of this sounds great, but given the ad industry’s reluctance to change their approach, and site’s like ourselves relying on ad revenue, it’s unlikely anything will change until someone like Google leads the way in a big, big change.