Phorm published their financial results today. As PaidContent asks, “Who said the dot.com days ever ended?”
Cutting spending down to £1.1 million per month? That’s a hell of a lot of money. But when you don’t actually have a revenue generating product (test all you like, “Webwise” hasn’t gone live yet), haven’t openly and honestly engaged with internet users but have descended to pathetic smear campaigns and legal bullying to try and silence critics and are facing one hell of a backlash which has prompted the European Commission to get involved then I guess you’ve got a lot on your plate.
Down to £1.1 million per month. I could do a lot of far more positive things with just £1.1 million period rather than invade peoples’ privacy, claiming it is “interest based advertising”, “behavioural targeting” or any other spun name for this invasion of privacy.
The Register makes more sense of this set of financial results for those of us who prefer not to have to deal with spin and bluster. Here’s a quote from that report:
In his statement to investors, chairman and CEO Kent Ertugrul said Phorm’s problems in the UK had prompted its push into Korea. It is currently running a trial with Korea Telecom.
Phorm’s problems in the UK and EU (now the European Commission is aware of Phorm, its intentions and activities) are entirely of their own making and I have no sympathy whatsoever for Phorm, its CEO or anyone working for or associated with Phorm.
Having realised the so-called “privacy pirates” (a monicker I explore here) are making their voices (that’s plural there Kent) heard, Phorm have decided to try their luck somewhere else, somewhere where privacy laws might not be as good as the EU. And how do we know that there are lots of people making their voices heard? (Regular readers may well know what’s coming)
Because the European Commission have said so Kent, that’s why. Let me remind you:
Mr Rudolf Strohmeier stated that in all his years working at the Commission there had only been 1 or 2 other issues which had generated such a high volume of written complaints from the public so they were taking the matter very seriously, which is why they initiated infringement action against the UK Government last month.
There may be readers who are new to the Phorm issue and wondering what it’s all about. Here’s a guide which will prove very helpful reading.
So whilst Phorm are losing lots of money, Yomego MD Steve Richards says “It’s time to forget behavioural targeting”
It’s interesting stuff.
But there is a bigger problem, especially from an EU perspective. European law on data privacy is amongst the most stringent in the world and all members have to have laws that match the EU directives.
If not already killed off by the Phorm trial, the 2002 European Privacy Acts will almost certainly be the end of behavioural targeting before it starts
And my favourite part:
Why, as a web user, would anyone choose to give advertisers all of their details for nothing?
And why would I choose to have my browsing experience interrupted by advertising at all? I am more likely to be switched off a brand that pursues me like this causing untold damage to that brand’s reputation.
Ultimately, passive, lazy advertising does not work in the social media space – indeed, it can do more harm than good and no amount of behavioural targeting will make the difference in a world that is shaped and reshaped by the consumer on an almost daily basis.
Think on that, pro-Phormers.