Into the trenches: “Free adblocker is specifically targeting Google”

Why did French ISP Free implement a default adblocker in its recent firmware update? According to RudeBaguette, the answer may be found in an ongoing feud between Free and Google.

It seems that Free is “specifically targeting Google”, says RB, namely:

Google Adsense (their in-site ad network), YouTube videos, and even Google Analytics, according to some. Obviously, this is a poorly thought out decision, and an even worse execution.

It also appears that Free’s adblocker is not quite so effective in blocking the ads at the Le Monde website (which is half owned by Xavier Niel, the majority shareholder of Free).

While sites like LeFigaro reported their ads were affected, it was not surprising to find out that LeMonde, half-owned by Free owner Xavier Niel, was still serving ads at 100% to users.

It’s apparently not the first time that Xavier Niel’s telecom is taking the fight to Google: this summer, Free Mobile users noticed that they experienced extremely slow loading of YouTube videos on their smartphones. Free Mobile acknowledged as much to French blog PCinpact, and basically said that anyone who had trouble should just head over to Dailymotion.

Free is apparently involved in negotiations with Google about the bandwidth it will allocate for YouTube, and obviously thought it would be nice to have an ace up its sleeve. To be continued without a doubt.

via Why did Free roll out an opt-out ad block? War with Google. • RB. Photo: Maarten van Damme, Flickr.

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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