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Digicel blocks ads from Google and Yahoo in PNG

It is sad news for individuals and companies in Papua New Guinea  who rely on internet advertisement to market and sell their products and service online, that Digicel a mobile phone company has suddenly started blocked off Google, facebook  Yahoo ads and other social media online advertisement. It is understood that Digicel will soon implement the ad-blocking program in other Pacific countries that are using its network.

So what is this blockage mean?
This means that all advertisements from Google, Facebook and other social media platforms are blocked on the Digicel network.  For instance, suppose that  you  promote  a product  through  the facebook sponsored page and you target Papua New Guinea audience to sell your product, someone visiting facebook from Papua New Guinea through Digicel network  will not see your sponsored page and your product because Digicel blocks it. Likewise for Google and Yahoo ads. At the moment Digicel has blocked off google  and yahoo ads only and will soon implement the blockage on other social media like facebook and yahoo.

Why the blockage
The reasons why Digicel blocked off the ads from the internet giants like google, facebook, and yahoos are because of competition. Many business houses, Institutions, Government Departments and individuals are spending money  on the use of internet to market their products and services instead of the Digicels Media network like TV Wan and Pacific Media (Loop PNG and other media owned by Digicel).

About 90% of internet usage in Papua New Guinea is through Digicel broadband and Mobile network. The company boasts of having the largest and better network in Papua New Guinea.  Thousands of Papua New Guineans and business houses rely on the mobile phone company internet service to promote their services and products. Digicel sees that many advertisers are not using their services and are resorting to using the internet to market their products thus not generating enough revenue for the company. Thus the blockage by Digicel on the online advertisement companies is to get all the PNG bases advertisers to use their network.

Consequence of  Digicels blockage of Online Advertisement on PNG Economy

i.                     Loss of Revenue

The increase in use of mobiles phones particularly from Digicel in Papua New Guinea has prompted many individuals, organizations and companies to advertise their services and products online.  For example, the Tourism authority in PNG promotes tourism destinations in Papua New Guinea through the internet using marketing  tool like google advertisement and facebook sponsored advertisements.
Many people around the world see these advertisements and promotions and collect more information  before visiting Papua New Guinea.  Other companies like Air Niugini promote and advertises cheapest fares online through facebook or google advertisement. People who have internet access on their mobile phone easily see those ads become aware of those cheap flights. However, Digicel has blocked off these advertisements from appearing on the mobile phones. This denies the company from making a profit as well as the people from seeing those promotions.  All Digicel wants is companies to use their advertisement medium like TV Wan, PNG Loop and other media companies owned by Digicel so they can make more profit.

ii.                  Blockage stops Foreign currency from entering PNG

Given the increase of use of internet in the country, many Papua New Guineans are now into generating money online. Many websites and blogs in the country are running online advertisements from Google, Yahoo, Outburn, infolinks and many advertisement networks. These companies pay publishers who implement their advertisement campaign in PNG. As a result foreign money comes into the country that increase our foreign reserves.  However, the Blockage by Digicel means that those foreign companies will not run their advertisements campaign in the country and will not pay website and blog owners who run the advertisements.  For example, skerah.com is owned by Papua New Guineans. This website promotes Tourism in PNG and also run third party advertisements from Google, Yahoo, Facebook. This website owner will not receive any foreign currency  if visitors to the website is through Digicel internet network.  Thus the blockage denies a Papua New Guinean from earning foreign currency as advertisement publishers.

iii.                Monopoly

The increase in use of mobile phone and internet in the country has good impact on businesses from generating good revenue through online advertisement recently. Many business houses and individuals are promoting their products online through the internet.  Digicel PNG who has the upper hand in internet dominance in the country realizes the potential of making money through advertisement. As such,  the company has set of several advertisement mediums. These include Television Stations ( TV Wan, TV Wan Action, TV Wan Rugby, TV Wan Life) and   Pacific Media that runs online news portal (PNG Loop, Pacific Loop, Vanuatuloop,etc). What Digicel wants is all Papua New Guinean Businesses, individuals, Churches and other private organizations to use their medium of advertisements only and not other medium of advertisements like the online advertisements which it blocked off. This is in fact a total monopoly given the country’s 90 % of the internet is through their broadband and mobile network.

Appeal: What the Government must do

The Papua New Guinea Government must intervene in this self-serving and greedy approach taken by Digicel in blocking off online advertisement.  More businesses are unable to promote their businesses online when  Digicel who controls 90 % of the internet usage in the country are blocking off those online advertisements.  The government must  intervene now to allow Digicel  from removing the blockage it implemented on online advertisements. The government cannot sit back and allow Digicel to bring down this country.

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