Autoplay video ads steal bandwidth from users; Facebook should drop the idea (as should others)

FacebooklogoHey 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.

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About Bob Sullivan 1381 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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