Unstrung, February 16, 2006 - Hotspot Invaders

An article about funding Wi-Fi hotspots via advertising:

Offending users and network operators could be another roadblock for these revenue models. Ad-supported muni WiFi is a terrific idea, says Dana Spiegel, executive director of NYCwireless, which provides free WiFi in Manhattan—but “It’s critical that this advertising shouldn’t interfere with the use of the network.”

NYCwireless uses splash pages that appear when users log onto the network that contain a usage agreement plus an area for logos from supporting organizations. The ads—essentially just logos for the organizations that help fund the network—are confined to the splash page.

“The idea of artificially inserting ads into Websites that are viewed on the network is an appalling idea that has another name: adware,” says Spiegel. “NYCwireless would never endorse any program like that, and we feel it would create a bad experience for the people that use our networks.”