Canadian cable and telecom giant Rogers Communications has begun testing new technology on its high-speed internet service that inserts Rogers-centric messages and advertisements on third-party websites. While that in itself is enough to piss off the likes of Google, who pride themselves on a clutter-free homepage, the fact that the messages carry the name of Rogers’ co-branded high-speed internet service with Yahoo, is even more upsetting to the search giant.
The People For Internet Responsibility (PFIR) first unveiled the testing of the new technology, and on their blog PFIR posted a screenshot depicting the degradation of the Google homepage with a Yahoo-lovin’ message notifying a user that he was approaching his monthly data limit. The name of Google’s archenemy, Yahoo, shows up twice on the page.
Rogers’ recently confirmed their underhanded move to The Toronto Star, but defended the practice. Rogers argues that it’s a lot like a wireless provider sending messages to a customer’s cell phone. Although I would argue that it is not quite the same thing, as a message to one’s phone would go into a text message inbox, and not take away from the viewing area on your phone’s screen.
Google, in the meantime, is hopping mad over the revelations, and argue that Rogers has violated the concept of net neutrality. A spokesman for Google said:
“We are concerned about these reports. As a general principle, we believe that maintaining the Internet as a neutral platform means that carriers shouldn’t be able to interfere with web content without users’ permission. We are in the process of contacting the relevant parties to bring this to a quick resolution.”
Rogers is not only defacing Google.com, but any other website a user may visit, vandalizing the painstakingly thought out and planned website designs with obtrusive messages that could be better handed out through a simple e-mail alert. As a website owner myself, I would be peeved to know that a company I have nothing to do with could alter visitors’ experiences at my site.