Opera: Partner promos in Mini browser with ad-blocking enabled were a 'mistake', now fixed

Yesterday, Opera launched a new version of its Mini browser for mobile devices on iOS, Android and Windows phones. Significantly, this latest version of the app features an integrated ad-blocker - a feature that was first introduced on Opera's desktop browser earlier this year.

The ad-blocking implementation is rather more basic on mobile than on the desktop, with a simple on/off switch to enable or disable the feature, and no ability for users to 'whitelist' certain sites - so if the feature is active, users should expect to see no ads at all while browsing the web.

But shortly after the new version of Opera Mini was released yesterday, we noticed that the app occasionally showed what appeared to be ads from Opera's partners at the top of various websites, even with the ad-blocker enabled, and several of our readers reported seeing the same.

We spoke with Opera to get clarification on what exactly was happening. The company told us that this wasn't intentional, but the result of an unintended 'server misconfiguration', which mistakenly prompted partner promotions to appear in the app.

Henrik Gustav Faller, Senior Communication Manager for Opera, explained to Neowin:

In Opera Mini, we can show a placement on top of websites, we use this to prompt users to upgrade to newer versions of our products. On some occasions, we also use this to cross-promote our products.

We have been testing some promotions with one of our partners and we have had a server misconfiguration of one of those promotions where we enabled in-app messages. By mistake, it was published externally to unintended users.

This promo was an accident, as we should not show such promotions to users on top of external websites. Once you made us aware of it today we disabled it.

We are very sorry about this, and we are thankful for your feedback so we could remove it immediately.

As he pointed out, shortly after Neowin brought the issue to Opera's attention, it was fixed - so users should no longer be seeing those partner promos appearing in the app. If you still see any of those promos popping up, please be sure to let us know in the comments, or send us a tip.

A bit of extra info

We also asked Faller about whether the company plans to add whitelisting functionality to Opera Mini on its mobile devices to bring it in line with its desktop browser. He said that this is something that Opera may consider for future releases.

Additionally, some Windows phone users were pleasantly surprised to see the new ad-blocking feature arrive for their devices, given that Opera said in April that it had "no major updates planned for the next few months" for Windows handsets, as it was focusing its development efforts on iOS and Android. Some wondered if the company might have had a change of heart since then, and if it could now be renewing its Windows phone dev efforts.

Not quite - Faller reiterated that Opera is "not actively developing on the Windows Phone platform". He explained that the company "had the resources to easily put this popular feature into the product this time around", but made it clear that Opera still does "not have teams committed to Windows Phone development right now".


Editor's note: If you use adblocking software, we would greatly appreciate it if you whitelisted Neowin if your browser allows you to do so. Advertising enables us to continue the Neowin community. Neowin also offers subscriptions which allow you to support our work and remove advertising without the need for extra software.

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