NebuAd Relaunches in the U.K. as Insight Ready

ISP-level behavioral targeting firm NebuAd, which has now ceased operations, appears to be re-launching its business in the U.K. as “Insight Ready.”

Tony Evans, an ex-commercial director at NebuAd confirmed to ClickZ today that he is currently working with the new company on a consultancy basis, and that NebuAd’s U.K. Managing Director, Paul Goad, is currently the Managing Director of Insight Ready. Goad himeslf was unreachable at the time of publishing.

Phone numbers for NebuAd’s U.K. offices, which closed last year, now divert to the new company. An Insight Ready employee said today that NebuAd no longer existed, and the difference between the two firms was that NebuAd intended to use ISP data, whereas Insight Ready does not.

ISP-behavioral targeting rival Phorm has received criticism for similar actions, having renamed its company from 121 Media.

At this stage, it’s not clear if, or how, assets may have been transferred between NebuAd and Insight Ready.

The firm’s Web site currently displays a simple holding page with the title “Powerful Solutions for the Online Advertising Industry.” A Whois domain registry check for the confirms “nebuAD” as the registrant, and the corresponding .com domain was registered by a U.K.-based company called Insight Ready Limited.

Following setbacks with its ISP targeting technology in the U.S., NebuAd told ClickZ in September it was exploring behavioral advertising solutions using more traditional methods, such as those employed by Revenue Science and Specific Media. However, according to court documents filed in relation to a lawsuit brought against the firm in November, “NebuAd has been winding down its affairs since late summer 2008.” The domain name was registered in August, suggesting perhaps that a re-brand or new company has been planned for a while.

Interestingly, the domain appears to have been registered on November 12th 2008, just two days after the suit against NebuAd was filed. That suit, which includes some of the company’s ISP partners CenturyTel, WOW, CableOne, Embarq, Knology, and Bresnan Communications, remains unresolved. It argues the defendants violated two federal laws (the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) as well as two California laws (the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the Computer Crime Law) when trials of NebuAd’s technology were conducted with U.S. conusmers.

In the U.K., fierce debate continues to surround the prospect of ISP-level targeting. Despite the fact U.K. regulators are satisfied the technology can be implemented legally, privacy advocates continue to object on both legal and moral grounds. In addition, the EU has now launched legal proceedings against the U.K. government in reference to trials of Phorm’s technology carried out by BT in 2007, without consent from its customers.

Phorm CEO, Kent Ertugrul, maintains that the U.S. market is of great interest to his company, and that Phorm can learn from the issues raised by NebuAd’s activities there.

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