Jan 23 AT 2:37 PM Dustin Earley 45 Comments

Notification bar ads become a nightmarish reality for KDDI users

kddi ads

Back in early August of 2011, we brought you a story about how SlingLabs was looking to help developers put ads in your notification bar. The negative response to that story was off the charts. While we can understand developers need to make money from their apps, and ads are a convenient way to do that, we don’t have to like the idea of them showing up in our sacred notification bar. But if that was the case, we could simply uninstall the app, and forget it ever happened. Unfortunately, some KDDI au customers aren’t so lucky.

Much like with American carriers, Japanese carrier KDDI bundles apps and software with their Android phones that cannot be uninstalled. One such piece of software is the au one Market. Up until now, there was no reason to hate the alternative to the Android Market. But thanks to a recent update, users are dying to get rid of it.

After its latest update, the au one Market will send ads as push notifications, alert messages and all. The fact that KDDI is forcing these kind of ads on users is terrible, especially since there’s no way to make them stop. Hopefully, this is not the beginning of a frightening trend.

While this is one of the first times we’ve ever heard about a carrier forcing something like this on their users, it might not be the last. Can you imagine Sprint or Verizon constantly notifying you of their latest Nascar or American Idol app available only in their special carrier branded app store? I can, and it sends shivers down my spine. There’s no indication of this happening in the US anytime soon, but just know that Android users in other parts of the world are already facing one of their worst nightmares. One notification at a time.

Source: Engadget

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • spazby

    This should be outlawed

    • ArticulateFool

      I bet they start charging a monthly fee to stop the ads…

      This is very sad and will just give more ammo to Android’s competitors.

    • userx


    • LukeT32

      Root and flash a new rom.

    • Anthony

      Sprint already does this on my evo 3d …. I need to root and flash a new rom

  • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

    Holy crap, that is absolutely ridiculous! The day my carrier does this to me is the day I switch carriers without waiting. That is totally and utterly unacceptable! Forget the “most reliable network” if they spam me on my phone all the time.

    That’s just complete nonsense!

    • zerosix

      In general, I agree with you. It’s unacceptable.
      But what if your carrier gives you a $200 discount for an ad-featured device?

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        Um, NOPE.

      • http://www.jaxidian.org/update/ jaxidian

        Don’t get me wrong, some people would like it. No way I’d get one, though – just not my style. I buy the paid versions of apps to get rid of ads. I just hate seeing ads on my phone!

      • delinear

        Take the discount and root the phone as soon as it’s out of the box ;o)

        • Olliedcy

          I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the vendor would then know that the pushed ad is rejected along with a note that you have rooted “their” phone and take some sort of action to stop you. Especially since their TOS would certainly cover what action they can take since you are blocking ads you “agreed” to when you signed up and recieced their discounted phone.

      • http://theinternet-allofit.blogspot.com Jorge Branco

        That’s really interesting. It works with kindles so I’m sure there’s a market for phones too

  • David Gomez

    that really sucks, I would switch carriers if they did that to me

  • OnIn2

    I’d vote with my feet and money by going to a new carrier or switching totally off Android (if it was to become a standard feature).

    Zero tolerance for that. Zero.

  • Jack Thakar

    This is absolutely horrible. If Verizon did this to me, I would switch as soon as I got the chance just for the principle, even if I could work around it with a custom rom.

  • George

    Honestly the clients are at fault the most here – why not switch to another carrier. This BS carrier in whatever country its in will notice a decline in subscriptions and think about changing their policy.

    It’s all in your hands.

    • delinear

      What if they signed up to a 2 year contract and this garbage was added later? It’s not always the users fault.

  • Oskar Wismierski

    Soon we will have ads everywhere .. even on our foreheads..

    • Hue Three of Five

      and in our dreams!

      • delinear

        Leela: Didn’t you have ads in the 20th century?

        Fry: Well, sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio. And in magazines and movies and at ball games and on buses and milk cartons and T-shirts and written in the sky. But not in dreams. No, sir-ee!

  • WarDrake

    First SOPA now This??? what the heck is wrong with people in this world…
    some people just need a pat on the back… with a chair…

  • http://pixelswim.com Steve Heinrich

    This is obviously horribly wrong. If you are going to use ads in Android it should be like watching TV… you expect to see commercials when the TV is on, but not after it’s turned off. Not using app = no ads.

    I downloaded an Android app a couple of years ago and the developer decided to put the ads in the notification area popping up at different intervals throughout the day. It wasn’t long before users pounced and the dev released an apology in the app description and put the ads back inside the app itself.

  • R.S

    It’s bad enough dealing with what seems like daily notifications of pre-installed apps (that I don’t use our want) needing to be updated. There is no way I would put up with ads built into my notification bar.

  • Bryan Stoner

    If it cuts the costs of the unit, much like how Amazon sells the kindle, then how can this be a problem? Are they personalized for the user much like Admob? If it’s about stuff I actually care about, like the latest game or phone, then hell yea.

    True if they are this pervasive it can be a problem. I think if they really want to do this they should at least forget the alert notification. I don’t want an ad to remind me that I’m forever alone.

    • delinear

      The problem is when it’s pre-installed and can’t be uninstalled. I’m fine with ads when I have the choice to bin the app if it gets annoying with them, but take away my choice and that’s not acceptable.

  • Hue Three of Five

    This would make me cancel contract and switch carriers no matter what the cost. If this ever happened in the US I bet Verizon would be the first to implement this.

  • SigInTheHead

    I’ve just developed my first app (not quite ready for the market yet) and have been trying to work out how to make the most from the advertising API, but without being too intrusive or annoying.

    This is just taking it too far.

    Can’t believe i didn’t think of this :P

  • Lyude

    My lord. Let’s hope these poor victims start moving over to Cyanogen (if it’s possible on phones with KDDI). I know if this happened on my carrier, I’d switch instantly, even if it was possible to remove it via third-party firmware. I wouldn’t even want to associate with a company that did that, and of course I’m not going to give them any money ever again ever.

  • tim

    If they discounted the phone I would deal with the ads cause I know cyanogen would mod it for me

  • Triplanetary

    Things like this make me glad for rooting. I’ll never have to worry about obnoxious advertising vectors like this, or Carrier IQ, or carrier-installed crapware.

    But I’m not a total jerk. I’m still opposed to this on principle, because not everybody has the know-how or desire to root their phone. And those people deserve a good experience with their phone too.

  • Trinhbo

    Wow, I’d be so PO’d if carriers started sending push ads to my phone. The whole point of notifications is that the user gets notified when something (hopefully) important happens. An ad from some money-grabbing company does not fit this category. What sucks is if this trend continues, this issue will become yet another bullet point for the iSheep to mock Android users with.

  • jsweetser2

    This is horrible, and one more reason i’m glad i live in the good old US of A. If this were to happen though, being the crafty folks we are, i’m sure developers would find ways to circumvent it in the OS as soon as it landed (assuming the carrier was forcing the issue, not the developers).

  • Hall Lo

    That would really suck, I kinda feel bad for the users… Did Apple pay KDDI to do this?

  • Nathan D.

    We all know if this become wide spread there will be hell on fire on the internet to get this removed, most likely make that company life a living hell in order to get this removed. Well that’s what i think anyways.

  • http://youtube.com/user/jawckamoe Marcus

    This is madness! I can’t believe a carrier would do something like that! I think I would like, die if the four major US carriers did that. Haha

  • cb2000a

    Root! That’s the first thing I do with my phones. Then get rid of the crap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=600719141 JIrayut Rotjanacheewa

    I get the ads notification almost everyday, and it was so annoying. it’s said like” you win a Ipad 2 and claim your prize” OMG!!

  • Gekko

    Galaxy Nexus is available in Japan, no?

  • Ari32

    This is why there needs to be more stock Android phones. Bloatware is becoming ridiculous. If this becomes a normal thing for all smart phones, I’ll be getting myself a Jitterbug.

  • tarwinia

    I would actually prefer this. Now before I’m tarred and feathered let me explain. My carrier sends me as many as 15 ads via text per day. Normally it’s only between two and five (today it was only one). But hearing the text sound and having it only be an ad is annoying as hell. I have an HTC Sense 3.0 phone which means I can see how many e-mails and texts I have waiting from the lock screen. If the ads I get were only in the notification bar then I could see from the lock screen that the blinking LED wasn’t something important (e-mail, text, calendar event).

    I don’t change carriers because the others aren’t so hot either and I have been grandfathered into a great pre-paid plan and all the current pre-paid and post-paid plans suck in comparison.

    So if they are carrier generated ads the for me it’d be the lesser of two evils, if it was an app generated ad then I’d be pissed (as I have been in the past) since as has been mentioned, an app has no right to spam me if it’s not running. The network on the other hand is debateable as I am always on their service. (Although I would KILL to stop receiving their stupid ads for their simplistic services like love tips, horoscopes, sports updates,etc.)

  • yankeesusa

    If this ever happened here in the us and rooted users couldn’t stop this then I would leave android behind and go with windows os. Last resort would be ios. In the end I think the backlash of this would be so big that if it ever happened their would be a way to cancel it or companies would revert back.All I know is that if it does happen I would stop using android immediately.