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Rogers forces own content onto users

Rogers forces own content onto users

Canadian ISP, Rogers, provides invasive messages onto your web pages.

Canadian ISP Rogers is currently trialling a worrying new 'service' to place its own content on third-party pages.

While we all know that everything we see and do on the Internet can, in theory, be seen in turn by our respective ISPs, we sit safe in the knowledge that the ISP just doesn't care: with the possible exception of an ongoing criminal investigation they have neither the time nor the inclination to sift through billions of packets every second looking for juicy tidbits.

This feeling of security is being threatened, however, by an unholy alliance between high-speed Internet access provider Rogers and in-browser advertising specialists PerfTech.

Currently the system is simple: by using the deep-packet inspection tools it already has (for looking for naughty BitTorrent traffic), Rogers is able to see when you visit such pages as the Google homepage and insert branded 'status messages' at the top. These messages are currently limited to benign information about your account such as how close you are to exceeding your data transfer allowance for the month. Although the messages may be benign, the mechanism certainly isn't.

It's all too easy to imagine a Rogers-PerfTech-Google alliance that would use this breach of the sanctity of in-transit data to place 'unobtrusive' text ads at the top of every single page you visit: something that worries page owners who rely on their own advertising revenue almost as much as it worries you.

In response to the bad feeling being broadcast around various news organisations as a result of this move (including, now, this one) their Vice-President of Communications, Taanta Gupta, issued a statement claiming to be “trying different things,” and “test[ing] customer response.”

Gupta also claimed the intrusive status messages were “useful information for the customer to have," but isn't that what advertisers (and, indeed, spammers) always say?

Are you pleased with being able to see such “useful information” at zero effort to yourself, or should ISPs take a more hands-off approach and just provide Internet service (if only there was an acronym to describe a neutral provider of Internet service...)? Vent your spleen in the forums.


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25 Comments

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bubsterboo 11th December 2007, 13:58 Quote

I hope this doesn't start a trend. To me this feels like the WD mybook thing. I hope i never have to use rogers for my ISP.
Blademrk 11th December 2007, 14:13 Quote
Forcefully integrating into the browser at the top of every page would be extremely annoying, and potentially damaging to revenue generated by ads for a given site...

That being said, I can see a bandwidth monitor at the ISP level being a handy tool if it told you how much you've used in the month, although it's something I'd rather see on the account page of the users ISP, (with the possibly of a vista sidebar gadget to interrogate and display it) as a lot of the time (especially if there are multiple computers/consoles & users in a household) you have no idea how much bandwidth you've actually used.
bubsterboo 11th December 2007, 14:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blademrk
Forcefully integrating into the browser at the top of every page would be extremely annoying, and potentially damaging to revenue generated by ads for a given site...

That being said, I can see a bandwidth monitor at the ISP level being a handy tool if it told you how much you've used in the month, although it's something I'd rather see on the account page of the users ISP, (with the possibly of a vista sidebar gadget to interrogate and display it) as a lot of the time (especially if there are multiple computers/consoles & users in a household) you have no idea how much bandwidth you've actually used.

If I want to view my bandwidth I can just go to my ISPs management page and log in. That's the way it should be.
Renze 11th December 2007, 14:25 Quote
This reminds me of the old dail-up days where you had to pay relative to your internet usage. Didn't like that one bit!

Personally I'm against the whole capped braodband thing. I have 2 pcs in my house, raising to 3pcs and a laptop after Xmas, all being connected to the internet for at least 4 hours a day. All those together would eat up at my limit and if my ISP followed Rogers' idea then we'd be spending a small fortune every month. Luckily enough my ISP doesn't cap my broadband, but I do have to go for the fastest package to make sure I get decent speeds when the other pcs are all on :(
Javerh 11th December 2007, 14:27 Quote
They can ad-bomb me all they want if I have the option to turn the ads off. Like in the picture there's a link "Click here if you don't want to receive this message in the future."
cjoyce1980 11th December 2007, 14:38 Quote
not useful, just another big brother thing
TGImages 11th December 2007, 15:11 Quote
Forcing additional content at the top of the page is taking up even more bandwidth. So, they're basically stealing from the allocation that their customers are paying for. I paid for 10GB, I surfed exactly 10GB of web sites but got hit for 10.5GB of usage when your forced ads put me over the limit! I can see the lawsuits now. :)
Da Dego 11th December 2007, 15:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TGImages
Forcing additional content at the top of the page is taking up even more bandwidth. So, they're basically stealing from the allocation that their customers are paying for. I paid for 10GB, I surfed exactly 10GB of web sites but got hit for 10.5GB of usage when your forced ads put me over the limit! I can see the lawsuits now. :)

Hmmm, I wonder if they make that "free" bandwidth. If not, I think you may have a point, TGImages.

Personally, the moment that this starts happening to me here in the States, I'll be looking to use a darknet service over in Sweden or something and SSH in. All they'll see are a bunch of AES256 encryption. Good luck, ISP. :P If you want to see what I'm browsing for THAT badly, more power to you.

What will be really special is when they use that "deep packet" technology to make "helpful" suggestions and browser-guided advertising. You'll have to be encrypted just to be able to browse the web in peace. :(
ou7blaze 11th December 2007, 16:12 Quote
This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. You pay for a service and that is to be provided internet access, simply that (sure it varies from company to company).

It's pretty obvious where this is going with most businesses these days. Trying to generate as much revenue as possible, whilst that's fine in my eyes what they're doing here is not. They've crossed the fine line of providing a service and paying the bills. Infact what they're doing now is providing a service and paying the bills fine they've decided to be greedy (as usual ) and are affecting the quality of their service.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubsterboo
If I want to view my bandwidth I can just go to my ISPs management page and log in. That's the way it should be.

Exactly. This is just another excuse to put something up/advertise and if anyone questions it "oh but it has it's uses such as ... showing your balance in your account and ... shoving you with more ads" (as if the internet isn't full of obtrusive popups already).


Sometimes I read the usual news about big companies trying to make as much money as possible and I wish that us consumers could start something similar to what employees would call a strike.
Redbeaver 11th December 2007, 16:16 Quote
i have rogers business setup on one of the branches at work... firewalls n stuff is in place, but as soon as i see one of this message in a browser, im dropping Rogers. worst case scenario, i'll move to Bell.
ou7blaze 11th December 2007, 16:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
i have rogers business setup on one of the branches at work... firewalls n stuff is in place, but as soon as i see one of this message in a browser, im dropping Rogers. worst case scenario, i'll move to Bell.

Worst case scenario. Buy a Wi-Fi setup and there you go :P
devdevil85 11th December 2007, 16:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
i'll move to Bell.
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/16/0017258&tid=95
GoodBytes 11th December 2007, 17:03 Quote
I'm with Videotron :)
Cheaper then Bell, better then Bell, descent service, very fast (personally going at advertised speed (7Mbps), and usually over board 8Mbps on xmas day), and always connected modem.
chrisb2e9 11th December 2007, 18:12 Quote
I would love the option to see my usage on my cell phone for if i am using the net. that would of saved me a rather high bill last year. but if its used to send ads at me, Id just rather they didn't.
cyrilthefish 11th December 2007, 18:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisb2e9
I would love the option to see my usage on my cell phone for if i am using the net.
T-Mobile does that for me on their website, just looked it up: 30MB data in the past month*.

*I wonder how much this'll increase now i've just got a 3G/HSDPA capable PDA phone instead of my old GPRS one?
Redbeaver 11th December 2007, 22:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by devdevil85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
i'll move to Bell.
http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/16/0017258&tid=95
whats that gotta do with Bell?
notatoad 11th December 2007, 22:23 Quote
god i hate ISP's. i'm on telus now, they have been pretty cool so far but i've heard some horror stories. i've just got to keep my usage low enough that i stay off their "closely monitored" list.

@devdevil - bell canada != bell usa. no relation to AT&T.
GoodBytes 11th December 2007, 22:35 Quote
I have the phone with bell... here is a horror story for you guys
One morning out of no wear, I have a Bell technician come on my door of my apt, and says he is here for Internet installation and ExpressView (digital TV crap using a stupid dish), and a nice bill mentioning that I have somehow subscribe to ALL of Bell services with ALL extras, all that with a 3 YEAR CONTRACT.

Obviously I did not let him in, and beside my apt building is old and the phones jacks doesn't support DSL, and we don't have the right to put a dish anywhere. It was a nice fight. Luckily I know a reporter (friend) from CBC, and I told him about my story and said he will call them and see what will happen.
Well 24hours later, I receive a personal call from Bell with their apologies and with "we thought you would be interested on all of that" (don't ask!, I don't' know what is their problem to tell me what I want... but anyway) and free phone service for 2 years (expect long distance call) and with free caller ID.
outlawaol 12th December 2007, 06:49 Quote
With everything going to the net these days, I dont see this type of intrusive ad pushing useful at all. Dont we get it enough from virtually everywhere else? Anyone remember 2142 and the lovely sheet of paper that was hidden in it with a no choice option?

If companies really want revenue, they should start making decent products that people really want. And actual quality products. Nothing moves more merchandise then word of mouth. (Hence why bit tech here gets goodies from all the manufacturers, good reviews + genuine care = sales and vis-versa for products that suck, hopefully pushing the manufacturers to creating better products.)

:)
Godboy_g 12th December 2007, 13:53 Quote
Wow, this make me glad I no longer use Rogers as my internet provider. Now if only I my telco would bring that TV service they've been promising. Then I could be completely Rogers free!!
RedDethX 12th December 2007, 16:52 Quote
Already use Bell, go me!
Andy Mc 12th December 2007, 18:06 Quote
This reminds me of something an old employer did. I used to work for a consumer ISP in the UK and they decided it would be a good idea to change all the holding pages for domains registered with them from their normal "this domain has been registered by <ISP> for one of our customers" to a rarther tasteless page absolutely rammed with Yahoo adds (i dont think they could have physically put more adds on the page even if they tried).


Suffice to say once I found out all the parked domains I had with them had their DNS deleted, I wouldn't have minded if the revenue generated from my domains 'free' holding page was split 50/50 with me, but as you can guess...it wasn't.
Redbeaver 12th December 2007, 18:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supertoad

@devdevil - bell canada != bell usa. no relation to AT&T.

yup. in Canada, AT&T = Rogers. we call it 'Rogers AT&T'....... (and it owns Fido now, which i use for my cell :( and its been goin downhill ever since... stupid Rogers)
pendragon 12th December 2007, 19:35 Quote
ewww, this does NOT sound good! I hope it doesn't become commonplace
Sparrowhawk 12th December 2007, 20:25 Quote
See, if Rogers had good speed, no caps, and no annoyances like this, they'd arguably be making more money by having more subscribers. Why companies do this, (even if you can "opt-out" what a crock) is beyond me. Shooting yourself in the foot.
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