Phorm: Online by the End of the Year?

clickz_ukandeu.gifKent Ertugrul, CEO of ISP-level behavioral targeting outfit Phorm, expects U.K. service provider, BT, to fully deploy his firm’s technology across its network by the end of the year. In an interview with Dow Jones yesterday, Ertugrul reportedly said, “We’re not able to comment on specific timings but our work with BT is the most advanced. It’ll most definitely be online by the end of the year.”

Speaking with me today however, a BT spokesperson was unable to confirm this, stating simply, “It’s our expectation to move towards deployment. BT has made no announcement about timings.”

BT recently concluded live trials of the technology with a number of its customers. Although Phorm has since released investor updates outlining the ISP’s intentions to fully deploy the platform, BT itself has refrained from committing itself to it.

Likewise, Virgin Media, with which Phorm also announced a partnership last year, has suggested it’s now a case of if rather than when it will implement the system. Speaking with me last November, a Virgin Media spokesperson said, “Whilst we are still investigating the use of Phorm’s technology under our existing agreement with the company, due to the complexities of the proposition we do not have any timescales on when, or if, we will progress to trial or full launch.”

In light of the controversy that has surrounded Phorm’s practices, its not surprising that ISPs are treading carefully. However, given the fact that Phorm has been operating for at least a year with no identifiable revenue stream, it’s difficult to tell if BT really is as committed to the technology as it says, or if Phorm is struggling to keep its investors happy.

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