The Independent reports today that shareholders in Phorm
were left reeling after shares in the online ad targeting specialist more than halved… Its remaining investors were checking out of the stock – it sank more than 57 per cent, or 8.88p, to 6.62p
Is Phorm phinally phacing its phinish? I do hope so.
The Independent report describes Phorm as
A one-time tech wonderstock once touted as a British Google… Phorm rose to fame in 2008 when it signed deals with BT, Talk Talk and Virgin Media to install its advertising system that can track internet searches.
Phorm were, in my view, nothing more than law breaking, privacy invading shysters who deserved all the bad publicity they got. The Independent’s description of Phorm’s RIPA breaking tech as “an advertising system that can track internet searches” is misleading at best. Here’s the New York Times writing about Phorm in 2008 (my emphasis):
“As you browse, we’re able to categorize all of your Internet actions,” said Virasb Vahidi, the chief operating officer of Phorm. “We actually can see the entire Internet.”
When the story broke amidst denials of secrecy and illegal actions by BT (who were testing Phorm’s tech) there were a few people who thought this was illegal. And said so. Some of the tech and internet communities heard and got involved. The mainstream media were painfully slow to give any serious coverage to this story.
Phorm had plenty of opportunities to openly and honestly engage with the tech and internet communities. What we got was misinformation and complete lack of transparency, refusal to provide legal opinion of the validity of its product, attempts to bully anti Phorm campaigners and an aggresive, unpleasant PR campaign which deservedly backfired.
Given Phorm’s past conduct in the UK it bemuses me that people and companies still invest their money with them. Somehow they always seem to hang on. Phorm refuses to accept that their tech has no place in a democratic and informed internet. Maybe now they will just give up and die.
If you’re new to the Phorm story, please read some of my writings on it starting here.