ISP Mediacom Criticized for Inserting its Own Ads Into Other Sites

By Beecher Tuttle March 04, 2011

Regional cable operator and ISP Mediacom Communications has come under intense consumer and media scrutiny for reportedly inserting advertisements for its own services on the top of websites that its subscribers commonly visit.

According to DSLReports.com, Mediacom has been using deep packet inspection and Javascript technology to implant advertisements for its own home phone service into traditionally ad-free websites like those operated by Google and Apple. This type of technology is often utilized to warn users that they are about to exceed their data cap, but it seems that Mediacom has been using it for other purposes.

"Mediacom is literally intercepting website data and injecting their own code into websites in order to deliver ads where they weren't intended," wrote Karl Bode of DSLReports.com.

He added that the strategy isn't innovative or new, "however few ISPs have had the nerve to employ this technology for their own ads, given the inevitable backlash from consumers, ad networks, lawyers and potentially regulators."

Reports of seeing the Mediacom phone service ads on other websites are not substantial, making some speculate whether the service provider is testing the new model. If so, the tests are not going all that well.

New York-based Mediacom, which boasts more than 800,000 Internet subscribers, has continually declined to offer comment to any news source that has reported on the alleged marketing ploy. However, a company representative responded to a complaining subscriber on the Mediacom's Web forum, stating that the issue has been "escalated to the corporate office and we are still investigating," according to the Associated Press.

The Free Press denounced Mediacom's practice earlier this week, calling the company's actions "egregious" and yet another example of a cable company interfering with its subscribers’ use of the Internet." In a statement, Free Press Policy Counsel Aparna Sridhar urged Mediacom to end the alleged advertising campaign and urged the Federal Communications Commission to look into the incident.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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