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ISP Crams Its Own Ads All Over Your Capped Internet Connection; Banners Block Your View

Bad clutter.

Bad clutter.

How would you like it if a banner ad was inserted on the bottom of every web page, on top of content you are trying to read and eating away at your usage allowance?

Customers of CMA Communications can tell you, because their web browsing experience now includes advertising messages injected by the cable company to earn more revenue.

CMA, which operates rural cable systems in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Nevada, provides up to 7/1Mbps service with a usage cap of 250GB they borrowed from Comcast.

Zachary Henkel discovered the rude intrusion last month when he navigated to Apple’s website and discovered an intrusive banner ad for H&R Block.

Tired from the day’s events and travel, I had planned to quickly look up the specifications of a Mac Mini, respond to a few emails and then get some sleep. But as Apple.com rendered in my browser, I realized I was in for a long night. What I saw was something that would make both designers and computer programmers wince with great displeasure. At the bottom of the carefully designed white and grey webpage, appeared a bright neon green banner advertisement proclaiming: “File For Free Online, H&R Block”. I quickly deduced that either Apple had entered in to the worst cross-promotional deal ever, or my computer was infected with some type of malware. Unfortunately, I would soon discover there was a third possibility, something much worse.

[…] It was apparent at this point, that my parent’s ISP, CMA Communications, had started injecting advertisements into websites requested by their customers. I felt dissatisfied to say the least. […] You might not be surprised to know that CMA Communications won’t confirm or deny that they are injecting advertisements into their customer’s web traffic.

Customers of CMA Communications see this when they visit apple.com

Customers of CMA Communications see this when they visit apple.com.

CMA Communications is using JavaScript code injection that overlays third-party advertisements on top of various websites, opening the door to subscriber irritation and some obvious conflicts. In fact, visitors to CMA’s own website could find themselves staring at advertising for CenturyLink, AT&T, or a satellite competitor, unless CMA specifically opts its own website out of the third-party ads.

Amazon.com features an ad with Flo from Progressive Insurance, LinkedIn links to a Verizon 4G phone ad, and Bing’s home page pitches AT&T phones. Henkel wants customers to complain, but the affected websites may be in the best place to stop the ad injections by threatening lawsuits against the cable company.

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  • Roger: I read about this once. I think it was in the book 1984....
  • Roger: On top of that, you know the cable companies are going to price the individual stations in such a way that ten or fifteen of them will be the same pri...
  • Oddest Artist: Agreed. Nearly all deals from programmers (and broadcasters) require equal distribution and/or carriage of their services. Providers are bound contrac...
  • Doug: Good luck with that. Forcing a cable company to sell channels a-la-carte will need the consent of the content owner (i.e. - Big Media). And the cont...
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