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Earnings: Phorm Needs Quick Custom To Offset Delays And Costs

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That trial couldn’t come quick enough. Controversial behavioural ad targeter Phorm’s half-year losses grew from $16.3 million (£9.04 million) to $24.7 million (£13.7 million) in the first half of this year.

BT’s trial of the service starts today after a delay of several months, with TalkTalk and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) waiting in the wings for same – but trials are only trials, Phorm is still saying only that it “anticipates” the other two to come on board in due course and it’s still not naming names for other ISPs around the world it says are interested. It would wish to be closer to getting some actual custom at this point.

Despite raising £32 million through a new equity issue in March, Phorm still only has £24.9 million in the bank. Where’s the money gone? In to technology infrastructure and engineers, who have been hired to accelerate the slow integration process with ISP networks. There seem to be several technical problems, though Phorm said the TalkTalk and Virgin trials are being held up by preparations at the ISP end.

CEO Kent Ertugrul acknowledged Phorm has “significant challenges” and said the next phase must involve “prudent budgeting and allocation of capital and manpower”. He admitted: “Although considerable time has passed between the announcement of the launch of Webwise/OIX in February and the commencement of the BT (NYSE: BT) consumer trial, we have been working hard to create the right conditions for a successful trial. The OIX is not a small project. Indeed, we believe that it has the potential to create a new model by correcting a number of structural inefficiencies that lie at the heart of online advertising.”

Already, the company is looking at applying the Phorm technology to “applications beyond advertising”. Perhaps it should walk before it runs.

2 Responses to “Earnings: Phorm Needs Quick Custom To Offset Delays And Costs”

  1. Anywhere but BT

    I've had "SPYWARE" on & off on my connection for Two Years, after helping others to understand what is happening when they even connect to the internet: I will be leaving & I've never returned to a dodgy company yet!

  2. It's funny you know, but of all the people I know with enough technical to actually understand the inner workings of Phorm and Webwise, there isn't one who is anywhere near enthusiastic about this.

    The only ones who do seem to be happy are those who are content with the marketing technospeak issued by with the PR and which even I can pick large holes in.

    Just remember: Deep Packet Inspection lays bare all your data.

    All of it.

    We have promises that stuff we don't want looking at will be disregarded.

    And from whence do these promises come?

    A company whose roots are in the most insidious betrayal of trust on the INternet, in the deployment by stealth of what Internet security professional classed as malware and rootkits and a company who categorically denied that one's data was being intercepted and that web pages were being spoofed in thie initial trials.

    And that's all we have. Their word.

    Which is worth what?

    The "security features" are pretty well a duplicate of what even basic Internet users already enjoy and appear to be a smokescreen.

    Then we have the selective editing of Wikipaedia articles to remove elements critical of Phorm.

    We have the complaints from users of BT forums that their critical comments have been deleted.

    We have further comments that members of certain BT owned or influenced forums who have links to antiphorm websites in their signatures have had posts removed.

    Sorry, but after following the history of this sorry tale there's now no way I could ever trust either BT or Phorm.