Yesterday’s announcement that BT were dropping plans to implement Phorm’s Webwise “product” went down well chez Jamie and with lots of other good folk who have worked hard in the campaigns against DPI based advertising and against Phorm in particular.
Again, as in so many spheres of life, there have been excellent pieces of analysis and those lacking in Clue and understanding. On the side of Excellence comes Barry Collins at PC Pro. Here’s a snippet:
Make no mistake: BT’s decision to drop Phorm is a cataclysmic blow for the advertising firm (as reflected by the sharp drop in its share price this morning). In one stroke, it’s lost the UK’s single biggest ISP and its closest ally.
Phorm’s three UK ISP partners – BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk – have been playing a cowardly game of chicken over the past 18 months. The service has attracted so much negative publicity that all three have sat on the fence, hoping that one of the others would be brave enough to roll out the service, so they could judge just how much of a PR disaster it would be.
On the side of Completely Lacking Clue are Guy Phillipson and Nick Stringer of the Internet Advertising Bureau.
In its recent Digital Britain report, the government welcomed behavioural advertising as a business model to help monetise content on the internet. The report said: “The principles behind the current [data protection] legislation are sufficient to protect any violations of data protection law through behavioural advertising” and supported self-regulatory initiatives.
It highlighted the IAB’s good practice principles for behavioural advertising, which aim to give consumers greater transparency, choice and education. Phorm has signed up to these and, when active, will present users with a clear notice about the product and ask them if they want to use it.
“Utter cobblers!” as my late grandfather used to say.
Gentlemen of the IAB, you seem to have missed out much of what has gone on in matters Phorm related. That or you are completely ignoring it in the hope that it and people like me will go away. Which they won’t.
The very reason the UK “government” is facing legal action from the EU is because of its complete failure to enforce the law against BT and Phorm in the first place! When you have a government unwilling to enforce a law protecting peoples’s data rights then any self-regulatory scheme is pointless.
By advocating Phorm’s business model and methods (if you advocate Phorm then you advocate both) you are showing that you lack the understanding that others have as well possibly something in the ethical department. Do your guidelines include unwarranted smear campaigns against people legitimately campaigning against you? Do your guidelines include refusing to publish legal opinion when challenged to do so?
By associating yourselves with Phorm you do yourselves and your industry no credit.
Need I remind you what Bill Hicks said about marketing and advertising? You don’t know? Oh, all right then. Click here to watch Bill Hicks opine on this subject. Be aware there is a language advisory.
Back to Phorm’s share price. The Register has an interesting piece on this subject:
Phorm shares continue to fall today, dropping another 11.5 per cent on top of the 25 per cent they fell yesterday, as another partner distanced itself from the technology.
CarphoneWarehouse’s ISP TalkTalk played down its links to the ad tech developer a day after BT’s announcement that it was abandoning trials.
Charles Dunstone, boss of CPW, told the Times: “We were only going to do it if BT did it and if the whole industry was doing it. We were not interested enough to do it on our own.”
Looks like TalkTalk is about to walkwalk away from Phorm. Barry Collins’ point about CPW having enough on its hands with the Tiscali integration is spot on. That should be their prime concern – ensuring good service for their new customer base.
Looking around, I was pointed to This Is Money’s view of things:
Phorm’s controversial technology, a WebWise tracking system which monitors what you look at on the web and targets advertising, has faced fierce opposition. It is difficult to have faith in a business without income. Start-ups can only survive on a good idea for so long. Sell.
As for the Phorm share price? It rallied a little after hitting 270p yesterday afternoon. Today Phorm’s shares closed at 233p: