Are you happy for somebody to wrap advertising round your mobile site – and sell it?

If you operate a web site, are you happy for ISP’s around the world to edit the content of your sites and add banner advertising to your pages – without telling you or getting your agreement? 

Several mobile operators have started to place “transcoders” or “filters” that intercept and replace web (HTTP) traffic going to their phones. 

The effects are sometimes relatively benign – for example reducing the sizes of images for faster download.  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/06/vodafone_mobile_internet/comments/

Sometimes it is a more damaging – some carriers masking the handset type from mobile websites – preventing website owners providing a good experience to users.   http://wurfl.sourceforge.net/vodafonerant/

Telia in Sweden recently went to the next level, and has provoked a firestorm among web site owners site developers in Sweden.  They are using thei rweb transcoder to wrap advertising sites that are visited through their network.

   http://mobtech.se/index.php/blog/6-blog/739-transcoding-novarra   

Imagine the uproar if Verizon started filtering out ads on their fixed broadband network and adding banner ads to web pages!  In the mobile world, where things are not so easy to see and mobile carriers are generally not called to account, this can happen by stealth. 

I expect that there is enough resistance to this idea, and sufficient competitive pressure between operators to stifle these misguided initiatives, but with 18 or 24 month contracts the norm for mobile data services, the users generally have to put up with what they are given in the mobile world.

Anybody seen this outside Sweden yet? 

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2 Responses

  1. interestingly the guys behind the mighty surfwap.com portal do this with http://www.wapelite.com – all sites they pass traffic to have a wrapper around them with an ad at the top.

  2. Vodafone Spain was doing it as well. There are some blogs in Bango about it.

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