Bandwidth usage of streaming video from in page ads uses up data bundle for those people with low data caps on their service – such as satellite based broadband

Oh joy. I keep falling over sites that autoplay videos, and some — I’m looking at you, Facebook — do not appear to have a simple option to switch off this, er..uh, ‘option’. Ignoring some of the real basics are the spurious claims that our bandwidth is being protected with such tricks as  video ceasing to play when the screen is scrolled down, or “it only works when you are connected to wifi”.

First, the video by playing has already consumed some of my precious bandwidth. You can’t just mine these bits at home, you know; data bits are a commodity that have to be bought and paid for. I will press the Play button if I want a video to play, otherwise autoplay is actually forcing me to (a) view something I probably don’t want to view, and (b) causing me to pay for the privilege of viewing that something I don’t want to view, which is on the whole, utter dross. And it is usually advertising dross at that, funded by “someone” to reach an unwilling and hence unresponsive audience. You, oh advertiser, may have money to chuck down the proverbial drain, but many of us out here who are paying to receive your video message do not!

Click Here, Lindsey

Second, what on earth has a wifi connection got to do with it all? Apart from moving the video dross onto a marginally cheaper option than mobile (i.e., by using my fibre, cable or landline-based broadband tariff instead), someone still needs to pay for the bits received. And for those on satellite dishes it makes no difference how video is configured to play, the consumer is going to be extremely cross to find their monthly data allowance munched through regardless of the pain this can cause to the unwillingly disconnected.

Finally, once again, it is not the provider or deliverer of the content paying for these precious bits. No, the one covering the freight for the autoplaying video advertising dross is the end-user (me), or perhaps an unwitting provider of bandwidth — a cybercafe or train station or airport or hotel or one of the other multitude of hotspots — that may as a result decide at some point to stop offering such service.

I will be adding Autoplay Angst to my version of the new digital manifesto being proposed by Tim Berners-Lee. I have a right to use my bandwidth as I choose and not to have it used for me (read: stolen). I demand Net Neutrality and Bit Protection for One!

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Published by Lindsey Annison

JFDI Internet marketer, author, Fibre To The Home and rural broadband campaigner, idea merchant

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  1. Trefor Davies
  2. Lindsey Annison

11 Comments

  1. Quite right Linds. Even if bandwidth is cheap and unlimited (eg B4RN) it’s still a pain in the proverbial to have the sound suddenly emanating from your laptop, especially if you are sat in a meeting not listening to the boring speaker. Nothing more embarrassing than when everyone realises you are reading the paper online:)

  2. Easily my biggest pet hate is when a website does this. Most of the time it’s adverts but sometimes news websites do it too, although for me it’s more about the annoyance and less about the bandwidth (unless I’m surfing via my mobile).

    On top of that any website worth its weight knows that one thing you don’t want to do is annoy your readership by interrupting their experience of consuming your content. I can think of one technology site and another smartphone page that I no longer visit because of auto-play videos.

  3. I find the ‘thisis…’ local news paper group have terrible websites and their ads were causing issues for my old PC – fans turning on and much thrashing around. They pushed me to install Adblock Plus to make them accessible to me!

    NB.
    When loading trefor.net things can get pretty slow for me.
    As PhilT points out here – Ghostery picks up LOADS of items. Are they all necessary? 🙂
    http://www.trefor.net/2014/02/06/diagnosing-very-slow-website-loading-problem

  4. I’m please to tell you that the new version of the site due to launch in the near future has only one plug in and loads like lightening

  5. Totally agree with this.

    I do sometimes watch stuff on the on demand services of the commercial broadcasters who of course inject advertising into the stream and this does get me annoyed a bit too (I have no issue with a static ad but several minutes of video advertising I’m paying for?)

  6. totally agree, and as well as being bandwidth theft it is really annoying. Also annoying are sites who don’t shrink their graphics down or do thumbnails for those still on dial up…

  7. Thanks for the comments. I have several more pet hates right now involving bandwidth abuse so I will gather together the samples and re-post them through Kory’s excellent editorial hands. Soon, ish, if I don;t get cut off again halfway through the month!

  8. I have to make an immediate apology here. I’ve just installed Google adsense on this blog and immediately I see videos being streamed by BT for their FTTC broadband. Amusing though the ad may be I don’t want it on my laptop. I don’t mind seeing it during “commercial breaks” on the TV but I don’t want it in my face on the computer.

  9. I shouldn’t think any self respecting person would allow adverts for FTTC on their site. I can’t see it now so you must have whipped it off quick to be spared the shame. Well done Tref. Lins would have been mortified if she had seen it on a post with her name on!

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