Hey website builders – stop stealing my expensive bandwidth! Video autoplay is a terrible idea (I’m looking at you, ESPN.com). And according to AdWeek, it might be coming to your Facebook walls.
Auto-play video a terrible user experience. It’s annoying. It bothers co-workers. It feels a little like a hacker has taken over your computer and made it do things you don’t want it to do. It’s stealing from advertisers by generating less-than-credible click counts. But most important, it’s STEALING from consumers. It should be banned the way unsolicited telemarketing calls were initially banned from cell phones — because most consumers used to pay for cell phone minutes.
Like many consumers, I am an avid user of broadband wireless. My cell phone is a hotspot, and I work on the road often. Like all “tethered” users, my bundle of data has a hard limit, and the overage fees are high. Video gobbles up my data plan. Auto-play video will really gobble up my data plan. This is why I am afraid to click on TheWorldWideLeaderInSports.com when I am on my broadband. I’m paying for those ads.
AdWeek says Facebook is testing auto-play video ads. The temptation might be too great for the service, which boasts of “Super Bowl sized” audiences. Well, unless Facebook is prepared to pay consumers’ wireless bills, it better rethink the idea. They could cost wireless broadband audiences dearly, and they might even seriously eat into smartphone users’ caps, too.