Wednesday, September 03, 2008

ISP's becoming reluctant to deliver ads based on subscriber surfing

CNN reports that ISP’s are slowing down or deferring their business plans for “ISP-based” advertising that would be based on sniffing the surfing patterns of users.

The whole situation is a mixed bag for consumers. On the one hand, ad revenue to ISP’s could mean lower broadband or wireless rates for consumers, and possibly less temptation to interfere with content along the lines of violating “net neutrality” concepts.

On the other hand, consumers fear the possibility of personal information, or the remote possibility that they could be misidentified by law enforcement, particularly if hackers somehow got involved.

A company called NebuAd was to facilitate the tracking. NebuAd would be able to profile a consumer based on surfing patterns, and provide subject-matter-specific ads on almost any topic (golf, cooking, gardening, movies, etc.) A similar company in Britain is called Phorm. Both companies claim that they have sophisticated security mechanisms to to the sampling safely.

The CNN story, dated September 1, is here.

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