Monday, 6 July 2009

Your targeting is Off!

"The farce is strong in this one."

So Phorm could be getting the push - businesswise - with British Telecom's decision to ditch their part in Phorm's Webwise product. I would suggest that since they were the major partner in the entire project - if not holding Phorm's purse strings, at least holding their wrists - pulling out at this stage means it's unlikely that either Virgin or TalkTalk will take up the baton in the UK.

As being the type of person who considers web advertising as a necessary evil, actually having my browser awash with badly targeted ads as it is (Google ads anyone?) is enough already!

The "personal privacy" brigade have got it slightly wrong - these people are interested in your browsing habits, not you in particular. What they're really interested in is the big advertiser's budgets and how much they can screw out of these people.

Think on this, how can these companies prove that it's Phorm's software actually boosting their sales as against any other fluctuations in the market? They can't. All that can be proved is that a certain group of people visit these particular sites at anyone time. However, having something sitting in the back-office part of your ISP's system, trying to second-guess what you are looking for is not a good idea, for several good reasons.

One, if your are as mercenary a browser as I am, I'm not interested in the same old thing, day after day. I want my browsing experience to be fresh every time: all that Webwise will do is make my experience stale and uninteresting.

Two, how are the ISPs and Phorm going to ensure that the data they collect/intercept is secure? Let's be honest, there's a lot of hackers out there that would find it very easy to put hooks in this software to harvest the personal details of the ISP's customers, especially when these people are making on-line transactions of any sort, encrypted or otherwise. When you register with a site of anything, it's your browser that holds the passwords. Unless the site uses Secure Server authentication, that password is sent in plain text.

Phorm? No thank you. It'll just turn into a phisher's paradise.

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