Phorm Uses Your ISP to Track Your Web Surfing Habits

A controversial company in Britain is out to see everything you’re doing online. And they are going straight to the source to find out – your ISP. They are about to partner with Britian’s top ISPs (BT, Virgin and Talk Talk) to track every single action you take and use it to show you ads.

The company, called Phorm, says they have access to the surfing habits of 70 percent of British households who have broadband. Next they hope to sign telephone and cable companies to get information about their customer’s search habits.

I don’t know how to describe Phorm’s style of communication, but it’s unique and has a practically secretive feel to it while appearing to be completely open (just watch these videos from CEO Kent Ertugrul).

Linky Goodness, March 20

Happy vernal equinox. It is now officially spring. You’re all permitted to be happy again!

FCC Wireless Auction Results: Not Google

The long-awaited FCC wireless spectrum auction is over and the winner is declared—and it’s not Google. The auction raised a record $19.59 billion dollars, with the spectrum rights going to Verizon and AT&T, among others—but not Google.

AT&T won rights to almost 300 licenses in the “B” block of the spectrum, while Verizon will be granted the coveted “C” block nationwide. AT&T spent a total of $6.64 billion while Verizon spent $9.63 billion for the “C” block and 25 licenses in the “A” block.

Did I mention that Google got not one single license?

However, I’m thinking that overall Google will still take this as a victory. While they ultimately did not win any spectrum licenses, Google did succeed in getting the FCC to stipulate that the new spectrum would have openness requirements. We long thought that getting those requirements was the real reason behind Google’s plans for the wireless bid, both in their own interest and those of the consumer.

comScore Announces Decline of Google’s Global Share; Then Hides in a Hole

After the fallout from comScore’s recent claims about Google’s paid search traffic–which led to a Wall Street panic–the company’s recent report reeks of insecurity.

The company has released numbers that suggest Google’s global market share slipped from 63/1% to 62.8%, but refuses to reveal the name of the analyst who did the research.

The data from comScore showed Google’s dominance of the worldwide market for Web search dipping to 62.8 percent in February from 63.1 percent the month before, according to an analyst, who declined to be named.

Huh? Where’s the transparency? What does it say about the confidence in its own numbers, when comScore’s too scared to reveal the author of the report? What is comScore afraid of? What’s next? “comScore reports Google’s market share drops but refuses to say by how much.” Crazy!

Bear Stearns a Lesson in Rumor Monitoring

By now, you’ve heard about the phenomenal crash of investment bank Bear Stearns–a multi-billion dollar valuation now worth just $236 million.

What’s interesting is how the rumors of the company’s demise quickly escalated the week before the eventual collapse. I spoke with TheStreet.com’s Elizabeth Blackwell about the importance of companies monitoring the web for the increase in online chatter and rumors.

“The worst thing a company can do is stick its head in the sand and say they’ll release information when they’re ready,” he says. “The market makes that decision for you.”

One of Bears’ key mistakes may have been to ignore the rumors for too long. By the time the CEO appeared on TV, it was too little, too late.

Blogs and Internet Retail

According to Jupiter Research, only 2.6% of online shoppers use blogs for research before making purchases. Of course, that makes some internet retailers wonder if blogs should be part of their marketing strategy.

In my opinion, this study does not provide the answer to that question. It merely indicates that people do not research products on blogs. I have no doubt that this is true. It seems obvious that if shoppers want to research, they are going to go to highly authoritative sites. However, that does not mean that blogs do not offer marketing opportunities, and I know for a fact that blogs do generate sales.

Here are three benefits to blog postings:

Linky Goodness, March 19

Ah, today is the day that we should rue: on this date in 1918, the US Congress first approved daylight saving time. (It was repealed after WWI ended, reinstated only during WWII, and finally established in 1966.) Now that we’ve had our history lesson for the day, how about some current events?