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French ISP Free Blocks All Web Advertising

A French Internet service provider (ISP) with more than 5 million subscribers has taken the unusual step of blocking most web advertising. ISP Free is now blocking most advertisements to subscribers (Français) through an opt-out system; if Free subscribers wish to see web advertising, they will be required to change their router's settings. Free, one of the country's most popular ISPs, gained popularity by offering customers an integrated DSL modem/router/digital video recorder in a single set-top box. French website Numerama reports there is no whitelist (Français) for advertisers to bypass the ad blocker.

The decision to block web advertising appears to be part of an ongoing tug-of-war between Free and Google. According to GigaOm's Robert Andrews and Stacey Higginbotham, French regulators are investigating the company for intentionally slowing YouTube video streaming speeds. French legislators, spurred on by European media organizations seeking new revenue streams, have proposed a law requiring Google to pay for content. Free's homepage currently sports a banner ad for the company's own services.

[Image: Wikimedia user Weweje]

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  • NosorryI

    I don't understand the idea of advertising in the first place. Does advertising increase the selling rate ? Seriously, I've seen a thousand of billions of advertising ever since I use the internet, and I don't think none of them ever made me want to buy the product.
    One of these day, some people will realize that advertising a product and selling it are two very different thing. And maybe, they'll stop spending millions of cash in this useless stuff.

  • Blacklimo

    Ads primarily work at a sub-conscious level, so don't assume they don't work on you.

  • Xela Qlito

    NO Free Lunch. Ever. If you get something for free (Google, FastCompany, etc) someone is paying, usually an advertiser. You are a "Free ISP" user want to read FastCo for free? Then you'll have to pay a subscription. "But nobody pays subscriptions and FastCo would have to shut down!" Well, thank Kristin Johanssen and Jason Tepoorten (among others) who bought into the "isn't ad-blocking great" Kool Aid.

  • Thomas VAILLIER

    They seems to only want to
    block Google ads. Free and Google have had issues for a long time about
    'who pays for bandwidth'. Google doesn't want to pay, so Free blocks
    their revenues.


    Advertisers will find a way around it...  Nice attempt, and I wouldn't mind not seeing web ads.