View Full Version : Providers testing ways to use the goldmine of data

04-08-2008, 11:58 AM
ISPs throughout the United States and UK are using deep packet inspection to track surfers’ online activities – search queries, web sites visited, and information entered, among other things – in order to sell gleamed data to advertisers interested in better targeting their advertisements.

The practice, largely swept under the rug “for fear of [a] customer revolt,” says one unnamed executive, currently targets about 10 percent of all internet customers in the United States. Front Porch, a U.S. advertiser that buys data from ISPs’ deep packet programs, says that it has detailed web-use data for more than 100,000 customers.

None of the advertising firms involved would name whom they are buying data from, instead telling the Washington Post that “it’s up to the providers to announce how they deal with customer data.”

A number of ISPs, however, have already altered their customer service agreements: Embarq, the fourth largest provider of data services in the United States, calls it a “preference advertising service,” and providers Wide Open West and Knology have openly disclosed the fact that they are working with advertising firm NebuAd.