Virgin Media Denies Walking Out On Phorm

Virgin Media has refuted claims that the telecommunications powerhouse will be leaving controversial behavioural ad targeting firm, Phorm for Audience Science.

Following a news report that first appeared in New Media Age about the deal between Virgin Media and Audience Science, a spokesperson told The Register that although there was an agreement between the two companies, NMA actually "misread" its significance.

Although Phorm and Audience Science are both behavioural targeting companies, the former uses its proprietary technology to finetune ISPs' own targeting algorithms. Audience Science About Us page tells however a very different story though.

The company, formerly known as Revenue science, "collects and measures people’s interests and intent through their Web behaviors—the sites they visit, the articles they read, the searches they make, and much more."

NMA also added that BT could also be looking for other advertising sources after failing to commit for a release date of its repackaged version of Phorm's deep packet inspection solution, otherwise known as Webwise.

ITPro reports that BT declined to comment while Virgin Media said that they were still working with Phorm. As for content providers, the other part of the equation, both Amazon and Wikipedia have opted out of Phorm's scheme.

A source at BT added that if other Top 20 websites in the UK, it could undermine Phorm's proposal and ultimately make it worthless.

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Our Comments

Phorm's future is still in limbo. Being a partner with Phorm is currently more of a liability than an asset which is certainly why Amazon and Wikipedia have decided to opt out and why BT and Virgin Media haven't yet signed on the dotted line. The fact that the European Commission criticised the UK government for allowing Phorm to operate came as a coup de grace.

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