Phorm still can't agree on launch date

No launch date announced for Phorm
No launch date announced for Phorm

Despite a meet-up of Phorm executives this week at the London School of Economics, there's still no solid date for the controversial online ad software to be released.

Phorm has been involved in lengthy trials with BT, while Virgin Media and Carphone Warehouse have expressed an interest in the technology, but have not committed to a trial or launch.

The trials involve tracking what users view on the internet, through keywords, taking that anonymous data and feeding it to advertisers who tailor adverts to the interests of the web user.

This 'tracking' of data has proved controversial, with a recent trial with BT even investigated by the police, who eventually deemed Phorm's legal.

Very happy

Despite the public's fears, Phorm chief executive Kent Ertugrul told BBC News "We have been supported or endorsed by all of the leading stakeholders.

"Ofcom, the Information Commissioner's Office, the Home Office, leading privacy advocates like Simon Davies, the advertising industry and publishers have all backed our service.

"We are very, very happy with where we are one year on."

While the Phorm execs are happy, they aren't ready to announce a launch date for the service, with Ertugrul explaining: "These things take a great deal of time… you can be assured that when we do announce something, it'll be ready."

The executives did say that a 2009/2010 launch date was still on the cards, which gives Phorm a bit of time to satiate critics of the service who are concerned about online privacy.

Ertugrul agreed that some were critical of Phorm but believes they are now in the minority. "There are some people who believe that consumers shouldn't be given a choice; they believe the choice is theirs," he noted.

"They claim to speak for a silent majority. They create a cycle of news, by filing a complaint themselves and then reporting on it themselves."

Via BBC and Paid Content

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.