Why is Microsoft blocking ads in the Windows Phone 7 browser ?

Here’s something that I haven’t seen discussed yet but that’s been bothering me for a while now. Some of you may have noticed that since the Nodo update (or even the pre-NoDo patch) ads embedded in most websites are no longer displayed in the IE Mobile browser (I mentioned this in the Mango Preview). I first thought that there was probably a bug somewhere or that my device was stuck displaying the “Mobile Version” of the sites (in WP7 RTM selecting mobile version displays desktop webpages without the ads) but this finally wasn’t the case. This may not seem like a big problem but people have to remember that the vast majority of the websites on the net exists thanks to the ads displayed on their pages and this is why I’m wondering why Microsoft decided to suddenly force ad-blocking on Windows Phone 7 without telling anybody about it.

So why is Microsoft doing this? To speed things up a bit? IE Mobile on Windows Phone 7 currently isn’t the fastest web browser around and Microsoft may have decided block ads so that the pages are loaded faster. Unfortunately from my own experience this didn’t seem to help much and it unfortunately prevents reviewers from doing real side-by-side browser comparisons (like I did here where you can see ads perfectly displayed in IE Mobile) because WP7 is effectively displaying less content now.

But maybe there’s something else going on? I’ve noticed that Google’s AdSense ads are the ones primary affected (oddly enough some other ads can sometimes be displayed depending on the ad provider). Could this have something to do with Microsoft’s anti-trust complain against Google? I frankly don’t know and so far even IE9 Mobile in the Mango Beta has the same issue.

I would be great if Microsoft officially commented on this. Why not give the user the option to block ads or simply leave it like it was in the RTM (users could block ads simply by selecting Mobile Version in the browser settings). Thankfully for publisher this probably doesn’t really affect them much because WP7′s market share is relatively small at the moment but when things ramp up this may turn into a problem.

  • http://windowsphonereview.com WIndows Phone Review

    It is hit and miss for me – sometimes it shows the ads, sometimes it don’t. I also own 4-5 huge websites (including one windows phone site) and this is a huge concern for me as popularity of windows phone grows in the coming months.

  • http://twitter.com/efjay01 Ef Jay

    Cant say I would miss ads myself. But this is probably a bug, try going to wmpoweruser, ads are displayed in all their overpowering glory.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Just tried this and their Adsense ads are not showing up either. Seems like MS is specifically blocking Google’s JS code in the pages. All their other ads are not from Google (Google set a limit of maximum 3 banner per page)

  • http://twitter.com/domineus Malcolm Williams

    I wouldn’t mind less ads but I can see how that can be an issue with ad generated revenue. Some sites still work but I haven’t really noticed that much of a detriment. Good observation though!

  • http://twitter.com/domineus Malcolm Williams

    I wonder if it can be verified – I mean if its true…

  • Monkey D Black

    it’s not an issue, it’s a feature (too early?)

    but on the serious side though. through ads a lot of these marketing firms tracks phone usage to estimate how many phones are in the wild….now the fact that windows phone is blocking certain ads means that all those numbers we’ve been seeing about Microsoft loosing marketshare in the mobile space can’t really be substantiated. so in essence can I say that Microsoft might actually have way more devices in the wild than those marketing firms are seeing on their servers?

    I don’t like ads and their placements sometimes are way off…like it’s done on wmpu but I still like the site on a whole though.

  • Monkey D Black

    it’s not an issue, it’s a feature (too early?)

    but on the serious side though. through ads a lot of these marketing firms tracks phone usage to estimate how many phones are in the wild….now the fact that windows phone is blocking certain ads means that all those numbers we’ve been seeing about Microsoft loosing marketshare in the mobile space can’t really be substantiated. so in essence can I say that Microsoft might actually have way more devices in the wild than those marketing firms are seeing on their servers?

    I don’t like ads and their placements sometimes are way off…like it’s done on wmpu but I still like the site on a whole though.

  • http://twitter.com/hc5duke HJ Choi

    WP7 doesn’t have Flash yet, right? Those ads don’t show up for me either because I have flashblock installed.

  • http://www.mobiletechworld.com MobileTechWorld

    Most of the ads (at least outside of the US) are not Flash based and they don’t show up anymore in IE Mobile since NoDo. Something has changed somewhere…

  • Anonymous

    Blocking ads prevents user privacy being abused into a commodity

    Android users may use AdAway: http://code.google.com/p/ad-away

    The interweb was never designed with ads in mind.

  • Anonymous

    Applications are not required:

    FoolDNS