French Internet provider blocks Internet advertising for all its users

Starting from January, 1st one of the country’s biggest Web providers, Free.fr, unilaterally blocked Internet Ads by default. Thus, 5.3 million subscribers of this Internet provider on the same day became unable to see Internet banners on websites, contextual ads from Adsense and other online Ads, thanks to which the existence of opened and free content in the Internet is possible.

Naturally, most of the users were pleasantly surprised by this populist innovation of the Internet provider. But this innovation has also caused large indignation among representatives of the Internet industry and online media who recommend to their readers to deactivate this option. Every user is able to turn the ads blocking by changing router’s settings.

People on forums write that Ads blocking is performed in accordance with so-called “blacklist”, which is constantly updated. The blacklist includes Google Adsense, NetAvenir, AdTech and many other ad networks.

Although such provider action at first may seem convenient and even helpful for users, in fact, blocking online advertisements by ISP is a rather irresponsible and really dangerous precedent. If to imagine that Internet providers start blocking the Ads there are hardly any free content and services left available. Because it is unclear what will be the reason for such companies as Google, Facebook and others of the kind to work and provide their free services. Even “Great Firewall” ofChinahasn’t ever censored Internet Ads.

UPD. Fleur Pellerin, the French digital minister, in her interview to Le Figaro has expressed her positive opinion regarding Free decision to block the online Ads. «Nowadays there are real problems concerning the distribution of expenses between content providers, especially among video content generators which require a lot of traffic, and communications providers, — said Fleur Pellerin. — InFrance andEurope we have to find a more consistent option of Internet giants’ integration into national ecosystems».

The French government was called for the meeting on Monday with participation of interested parties in order to find a compromise solution.

UPD2. Many people considered Free ISP and its owner Xavier Niel’s actions as a direct attack on Google. Although Xavier Niel refrained from the comments, in his former interviews he has complained about Free’s communication channels being overloaded with Youtube content and about «unwillingness of content and Internet providers to pay for the channel expansion».

Xavier Niel is an experienced and successful IT- entrepreneur who started his business in the days of the Minitel existence, a French forerunner of the internet. In the last quarter the income of his Iliad Company (which is the holder of Free Internet service provider, the newspaper Le Monde and Free mobile phone operator) reached 819 million euros.

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