AdGuard Blog: Ads in Telegram messenger: weird, ugly, inevitable

Gandalf_The_Grey

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Apr 24, 2016
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Ads in Telegram messenger: weird, ugly, inevitable
The security-oriented messenger Telegram has announced an ad platform last autumn. Businesses are to be able to buy posts in public channels with more than 1K subscribers. No external links in ads — only links to other channels. No ads in personal messages. No behavioral targeting, only contextual. No personal information harvested and used. The announcement was received favorably: people hoped that Telegram would make ads great again, targeted strictly by content and not by users' behavior.

But those users who were among the small testing group and saw and interacted with the actual ads — they were critical and disappointed. What have they been so displeased with? Aren't we already used to ads after all?
Mistakes were made
Same ads by several dozens different advertisers appeared in all channels with a 1000+ audience.
The ad message is supposed to be the last (the most recent) message in a channel — and it is.
It's not clear how the ads are moderated.
The content of ads is irrelevant most of the time.
Ignorance is no excuse.
A promise was broken.

It's all about money
And Telegram does need revenue.
What about ad blocking?
The testing of the ad platform has quieted down, we do not know when it's launched officially. But now that money is what Telegram needs in the first place, it's not hard to assume that ads will come in full scale sooner or later. And our job here is to research our opportunities on working with them – and block them all, if possible.

Currently we cannot intercept Telegram's messenger traffic: it is a protected messenger after all. We could block ads within Telegram's web version at web.telegram.org, but there are no ads there (yet). So you can just use the web client for now if you want to avoid those ads at all costs. But we have to add that we are working on blocking ads in Telegram's Android app as well — cannot promise anything just yet, but it's very possible that we will succeed.
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