Cable company inserts ads as subscribers surf

Mar 03, 2011 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer
In this screen shot provided by Matt Thomas, a Mediacom Communications Corp. Internet ad for home phone service is displayed on the Apple.com website.(AP Photo/Matt Thomas) NO SALES

(AP) -- Mediacom Communications Corp., a cable company with more than 800,000 Internet subscribers, has tried something other U.S. Internet service providers have shied away from: It has inserted its own ads into Web pages as its subscribers surfed.

Ads for Mediacom's home phone service have shown up on the normally ad-free home pages of .com and Apple.com, according to subscribers.

There are only a few reports of the ads showing up, starting last week, and many Mediacom subscribers on Web forums said they had not seen any. That leaves the possibility that the ads were part of a test run rather than a full-fledged rollout.

The company won't say. Spokesman Thomas Larsen said the company's senior vice president of technology was unavailable for comment. On the company's Web forum, a complaining subscriber is told by a Mediacom representative that the issue has been "escalated to the corporate office and we are still investigating."

Mediacom, which is based in Middletown, N.Y., has subscribers in scattered areas, mainly in the Midwest and Southeast.

Matt Thomas, a Mediacom subscriber in Baldwin County, Ala., said he first saw an ad a week ago, on Apple.com. At first, he thought his computer might have been infected with some virus-like software that inserts ads. Then he realized it was coming from his , the .

"I'm a designer and a creative director for a Web development company, so the idea of an ISP injecting ads onto a Web page is horrifying to me as a designer," Thomas said. "Especially with something like Apple.com, which never has ads on it. It's kind of like they're putting ads on HBO or Showtime, in my eyes."

He saw a button to decline ads in the future and clicked it. He hasn't seen one since. Because the company is silent, it's not known if it's planning to offer some sort of incentive to customers who agree to see ads.

Thomas and other users first reported their experiences on Broadbandreports.com.

PerfTech Inc., a company in San Antonio, Texas, sells a system that allows cable companies to insert messages in Web pages seen by subscribers. Besides serving ads, the system can alert subscribers to emergencies or let them know if they're approaching their data consumption limits, according to PerfTech's website. It says five of North America's top cable companies, unnamed, are customers. PerfTech officials were in a meeting and not immediately available to comment.

Rogers Communications, a Canadian , inserts notices into to warn subscribers that they're approaching their monthly data limits.

Explore further: Scientists twist radio beams to send data: Transmissions reach speeds of 32 gigabits per second

5 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mediacom, Sinclair averts TV blackout in 11 states

Jan 07, 2010

(AP) -- Sinclair Broadcasting Group's television stations will remain on the lineups of Mediacom Communications Corp.'s cable TV systems after the two companies announced a new fee agreement Thursday to avert a blackout.

Time Warner Cable 3Q net income rises

Nov 04, 2010

(AP) -- Time Warner Cable Inc., the country's second-largest cable company, lost more cable-TV subscribers in the latest quarter than it ever has before, keeping the question alive of whether Internet video ...

Cable TV companies mull impact of online video

Apr 01, 2009

(AP) -- Cable TV operators have treaded gingerly with online video. The companies want to meet consumer demand for watching shows on the Internet. But they don't want cable TV to lose its place as the home's main entertainment ...

Recommended for you

Cutting congestion on the data network highway

Sep 12, 2014

Perhaps no other consumer-driven technology has made such incredible advances in such a relatively short space of time as the mobile phone. Today's smartphones are used to stream videos, access social media ...

T-Mobile to sell phones that call, text on Wi-Fi (Update)

Sep 10, 2014

T-Mobile will sell more than 100 smartphone models with a built-in feature that taps into Wi-Fi networks to make phone calls and send texts when customers can't connect to the wireless carrier's cellular network.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

T3chWarrior
5 / 5 (1) Mar 03, 2011
yeah and all 404's are redirected to their own search page and when asking them if they do that they flat out deny it. should be fined by the fcc, treated like any other spammer, or worse because they are an isp.