Phorm: U.S. Market of Great Interest

ISP-based behavioural targeting company Phorm still plans to branch out into the U.S., and other international markets, according to comments in the firm’s interim results report, released today.

In a statement included in the report, CEO Kent Ertugrul writes, “We believe Phorm’s technology is global and is relevant to any market around the world that has a meaningful broadband user base.” He goes on to describe expansion into non-U.K. markets as a “key strategic priority” for the company, and adds that it is continuing to “engage with a number of major ISP’s in selected markets internationally.”

ISP-based behavioral targeting practices such as Phorm’s have been exposed to a substantial amount of scrutiny from both U.S. government bodies and privacy advocates alike. Rival firm NebuAd has been forced to abandon its trials with U.S. ISP’s as a result, and just last week ISP representatives testified at a Senate Committee hearing on “Broadband Providers and Consumer Privacy.”

In reference to these difficulties, Ertugrul suggests, “Our experience in the U.K. prepares us well to address concerns that have been raised in the U.S. and to engage accordingly.”

He goes on to point out, however, that although the U.S market is “of great interest,” the firm currently has no trials planned there.

Meanwhile in the U.K., BT will begin trials of Phorm’s technology with 10,000 of its customers today. Financially, it looks as if the tests have arrived just in time, with the firm reporting operating losses of $25.6 million for the six month period ending June 30th, 2008, up from $16.4 million for the same period in 2007.

Ertugrul maintains that although preparations for the trials have taken “longer than anticipated,” interest internationally from advertisers, publishers and ISP’s has remained positive.

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