By Gift Mawire
- Econet says it acts to preserve subscriber data
- Users and business start-ups that reap large revenue from online advertising have genuine concerns
- Advertising gives the internet two options to read the websites’s online content free or pay for a subscription
An announcement by Econet Wireless Group last week that it has signed an ad blocking agreement with an Israeli tech firm for all its networks provoked fury and dismay .
Online users and businesses united in condemnation of the deal that will see the introduction network level ad blocking on Econet’s mobile networks across Africa , saying this is going to affect a lot of startup websites who are being solely built to rely on ads as a means of financing their operations.
Other internet users argued that ads were more than just an irritation as they could compromise user privacy and security.
Econet Zimbabwe CEO Douglas Mboweni said ” We are delighted that we have taken the lead in ensuring that customers have control of unsolicited ads. This will lead to quicker loading and cleaner looking web pages free from advertisements, lower resource waste in terms of bandwidth and memory. This goes a long way in solving the issue of bill shock resulting from unsolicited adverts. In addition there are privacy benefits gained through the exclusion of the tracking and profiling systems of ad delivery platforms.”
Ads are unsolicited traffic, ad-blocking is the process of removing or eliminating this unsolicited traffic.
“Ad-blockers cannot work if a website serves both ads and content from a single computer server and shields both using techniques such as encryption, hence ad blocking software cannot block the ads without also blocking the content”, says Mr Robson Guya, an IT expert based in South Africa.