Phorm set to launch ad service next year

LONDON - Phorm, the behavioural targeting technology company, expects to launch its ad service in the first half of next year after a successful trial with BT.

Phorm: to launch ad service in 2009
Phorm: to launch ad service in 2009

Phorm is behind technology that analyses web users' behaviour in a bid to serve up more relevant advertising. The company has been criticised because of fears that its technology will allow internet companies to spy on users.

However, it has taken great pains to explain that privacy is one of its major concerns and that because of the way its targeting works, no identifying information is retained on web users.

Today (December 15), Phorm said that the BT trial, which began on 30 September, achieved its primary objective of testing all the elements necessary for a larger deployment, including the serving of small volumes of targeted advertising.

The company added that once a joint analysis of the results had been completed and any changes required for expansion implemented, BT has said it expects to move towards deployment of the Phorm platform.

Phorm is also being trialled by Virgin Media and TalkTalk. Should these two ISPs agree to deploy Phorm, the service would then potentially cover most UK broadband subscribers.

Phorm chief executive Kent Ertugrul said: We have met with most of the main players in the advertising sector and they welcome the potential commercial value of the service. We have not set a date for a full launch, as this depends on several factors such as the ISPs, but we are looking at a launch in the near term. This is a first half of 2009 initiative.

Earlier this month, Phorm announced that its non-executive chairman Steven Heyer, chief operating officer Virasb Vahidi and two other board members had stepped down, following differences of opinion with Ertugrul.

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