Google and others have had great success with online advertising, while the provision of the mere “pipes” of the internet has become an increasingly competitive, commoditised business. So, it is no surprise that some ISPs have felt they have missed out on the real success of the internet and are keen to join the party.
The holy grail of advertising is to be able to precisely tailor ads to a behavioural profile of their intended target. ISPs have one enormous advantage when it comes to profiling web-surfing habits: the one node of the internet that users cannot bypass is their way in, their ISP. Companies such as Phorm, NebuAd and FrontPorch have developed technologies to exploit this advantage and have tempted a number of ISPs to install their systems with the promise of a slice of the advertising action.