NebuAd CEO Resigns as ISPs Abandon User Monitoring

September 03, 2008 12:11 PM
by Josh Katz
As NebuAd’s client base continues to dwindle, the CEO of the Internet monitoring service steps down.

30-Second Summary

Robert Dykes, the former CEO of NebuAd, will leave for the electronic payment company Verifone. NebuAd has been under the congressional radar for months now and it “has been bleeding clients,” according to Wired.

The largest Internet providers in the country have now all denied teaming up with NebuAd. A number of smaller companies have tested the monitoring service, however.

In June, Charter, the fourth-largest Internet service provider in the United States, put a hold on plans to track the online activities of customers and share the information with NebuAd, a firm that customizes online advertising to the audience. Ads that are more targeted—and therefore presumably more effective—can bring in greater revenue.

Then in early July, MediaPost reported that ISPs CenturyTel and Embarq, which have about 500,000 and 1.3 million customers respectively, also distanced themselves from NebuAd.

When it responded to congressional inquiries in mid-August, AT&T appeared enthusiastic to try the technology, however. Dorothy Attwood, the company’s senior vice president for public policy, said the monitoring “could prove quite valuable to consumers and could dramatically improve their online experiences, while at the same time protecting their privacy.”

Meanwhile a similar debate over Internet privacy has been taking place in Europe, where the ISP Phorm was also tracking sites that users view to mold customized advertising.

Headline Links: NebuAd’s troubles persist

NebuAd clientele changing; CEO resigns
Companies respond to congressional inquiries

Background: Companies distance themselves from NebuAd; Charter delays plans; Congress examines Charter ad campaign

Opinion & Analysis: Is opting out of NebuAd’s ‘sniffer’ enough?

Related Topics: Phorm and Facebook

Reference: Guide to Internet privacy


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines