LONDON: The rapid growth of mobile advertising could be significantly slowed by new software being installed by mobile operators which will allow subscribers to block advertising.
Shine, an Israeli start-up, has developed software that prevents advertising from loading in web pages and in apps, although it does not affect news feed-type ads in social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
"Tens of millions of mobile subscribers around the world will be opting in to ad blocking by the end of the year," said Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer of Shine.
"If this scales, it could have a devastating impact on the online advertising industry."
The Financial Times reported that at least one European wireless carrier has already installed the blocking software in its data centres and plans to turn it on sometime this year.
An executive at the unnamed carrier explained that customers would be able to opt in to an advertising-free service. There are several benefits to them, including faster loading of web pages, a reduced risk of malware being introduced and greater privacy as user data is not collected.
But he added that a more drastic approach could see the operator automatically block advertising to all subscribers. The executive suggested that by blocking ads on Google's sites, for example, maybe for an hour or two a day, it could force the internet giant into negotiations about giving up some of its revenues.
The FT noted the frustration felt by mobile operators that digital media companies have been able to profit from new high-speed networks without having to invest in the necessary infrastructure. Google's response was that many of the services people used were funded by ads.
Not surprisingly, Shine's McCarthy had a different take. "Online advertising is out of control and it's polluting the user experience," he said, arguing that eliminating intrusive adverts is a "consumer right".
Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff