It was barely a week ago that KDDI, Japan’s second-largest wireless carrier, started to push advertisements as notifications onto Android devices that had its custom “AU One Market” installed. It triggered a wave of bad press and, naturally, outrage on social networks. Following this backlash, KDDI has now decided to stop sending notification ads.
While some third-party apps use similar techniques to display advertisements as notifications, those can be easily uninstalled, as opposed to pre-loaded applications. To KDDI’s defense, it has to be pointed out that the initial license agreement provided an, albeit not exactly obvious, option to opt-out of notification ads. There was also a settings option to disable them, in case you overlooked it in the license agreement. Furthermore, KDDI says that they only advertised their own services in the notification shade – presumably, no outside advertisements were displayed.
The main culprit here, it seems, lies with communication (or lack thereof). If these ads meant no spam SMS messages, or lower prices, users may have accepted them, especially if given an easy way to opt-out. For the time being, however, there won’t be too many carriers daring to mess with your Android notifications, we’d guess.