Industry & Business

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel is taking on Google, Facebook, and Yahoo

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel is taking on Google, Facebook, and Yahoo

Denis O’Brien’s Digicel is taking on Google, Facebook, and Yahoo
October 01
08:38 2015

DIGICEL IS TAKING on the likes of Google, Facebook, and Yahoo as it becomes the first operator to block ads across its networks.

The telecommunications company, chaired by Denis O’Brien, argues that ads on mobile web and on apps is using up as much as 10% of customers’ data plans.

Ad blocking has been thrust into the headlines recently after the latest update of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS 9, has ad-blocking capabilities built-in.

While fewer ads means faster load times and less data usage, it also means someone is being deprived of revenue.

This revenue is what O’Brien has highlighted.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook talk a great game and take a lot of credit when it comes to pushing the idea of broadband for all – but they put no money in,” he claimed.

In a statement, he called this “unacceptable”, and wants to “force them to put their hands into their pockets” to help improve telecommunication infrastructure by sharing some of their profits.

Business Insider explains how it will work:

If a company like Google, for example, wanted to a serve an ad to a customer on the Digicel network, Google would have to sign up to a code of conduct and share some of the associated ad revenue it from ads served with Digicel. If Google chose not to, then the ad would be blocked by Shine’s technology.

Digicel plans to roll the service out first in Jamaica before continuing to networks in the Caribbean and South Pacific.

It will be using the Israeli mobile ad blocking company Shine to implement the changes.

When Apple opened up access to ad blocking software in its recent iOS 9 update, the apps became hugely popular.

However, the creator of one of the most popular – Peace – pulled his app soon after it was launched.

“Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have,” Macro Arment wrote in a blog post.

Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit.

“Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt.”

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