MTNL Reportedly Getting Ready to Make Money From Ads It Injects on Third-Party Websites

MTNL Reportedly Getting Ready to Make Money From Ads It Injects on Third-Party Websites

As if randomly injecting its ads on websites visited by unsuspecting MTNL broadband users wasn't bad enough, it seems the state-owned telco and Internet service provider (ISP) is now getting ready to open up this 'feature' to anyone willing to pay the right sum.

Medianama claims to have learnt about MTNL's plans from a media agency handling the campaign on behalf of the company, which also added that MTNL plans to charge advertisers Rs. 150 per 1,000 impressions of such ads. In a small consolation for end users, it seems pop up ads will be capped at five impressions per device per day.

Just to make it clear to our readers, MTNL isn't displaying ads on its website, it is injecting code on websites MTNL broadband users visit to display ads of its own. For example, the screenshot above captured by one our staff members who is an MTNL subscriber in Mumbai shows MTNL injecting its code on top of the NDTV Gadgets website. So far MTNL has been using these ads to advertise its services, but now it seems ready to make some serious money from the same. Everyone knows MTNL is ailing, but this surely cannot be an acceptable way of making additional income.

This code injection by MTNL gets past adblockers since MTNL's scripts appear as regular code, and not something that raises a flag against known identifiers. The ads also appear inside apps like Twitter that have an embedded Web browser and anything else that has a Web view.

While injecting ads may seem harmless, users usually have no way of know it's being done by the ISP and may end up blaming the website they visit. Ads may also be starting point and if injecting arbitrary javascript code becomes acceptable, ISPs can do things that are far worse.

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Further reading: ISPs, India, Internet, MTNL
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