back to article Phorm phading phast

Phorm shares continue to fall today, dropping another 11.5 per cent on top of the 25 per cent they fell yesterday, as another partner distanced itself from the technology. CarphoneWarehouse's ISP TalkTalk played down its links to the ad tech developer a day after BT's announcement that it was abandoning trials. Charles …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Kenny Millar

    Phank Goodness

    By bye Phorm, we all hate you ayway.

  2. playtime

    Bill Hicks has the way phorward


  3. Lupus

    Here's hoping Virgin tell 'em to phuck oph.

    Seriously, I'm perhaps one of the three people who *likes* (or at least doesn't loathe) Virgin Media; I'd rather not see them descend to such scum-sucking levels.

  4. Kane

    New Keyboard please

    "bizarro conspiraloon blog"

    Nuff said.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    Won't put up with this; unless it's done by their government to protect them from North Korea.

    Never underestimate the investors in Phorm or the directors ingenuity. I would have terminated my contract with BT had they gone live with it but they might have been able to persuade some government that ISPs could offer lower cost broadband in exchange for forced tailored advertising.

  6. N2

    When it happens...

    I would like to dance naked on the grave of Phorm,

    Urinating effusively, shouting mindlessly to the sky:

    "Profile this, you bastards"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative Investment Market

    Where you can trade in hot air and BS.... no wonder we had a banking crisis when there are such places as this for our idiot bankers to invest in.

  8. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Ha ha ha!

    Yesterday they said they didn't need to rely on any single ISP as a customer. Now it seems they only have a single ISP as a customer. It's rare that somebody's comments come back to bite them on the arse quite so quickly, but it's lovely when they do.

  9. Greg J Preece

    Happy Dancing Day!

    My DAO modifications worked first time!


    The hack I did to my keyboard mapping works!

    *Happy dance*

    Phorm are dying a slow and painful death!

    *Gets up on his desk and BOOGIES!*

  10. Dazed and Confused

    I'll believe they are dead when...

    When all the directors have been locked up and the key has been thrown away.

  11. David S


    Yeah, me too. Been getting about the best broadband service I can remember from VM for a while now, so I'd prefer not to have to leave them 'cos they're K*nt Etrughoul's only remaining friend...

    Hey ho. Maybe that's tomorrow's headline, eh?

    Ooh look! A new toy for Phorm to play with...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Hedge Fund

    Is there some sort of hedge fund that I can invest in very quickly, so as to gamble on the drop of share value of Phorm


  13. Dave Ross

    Kill it...

    kill it with fire!

  14. thomas k.
    Thumb Up

    Ah, the old "monkey see, monkey do"

    "We were only going to do it if BT did it and if the whole industry was doing it."

    Or would that be lemmings?

  15. Roger Garner
    Black Helicopters

    Bets please...

    Which to die totally first... SCO or Phorm?

    Fun watching them squirm around anyway... I love hearing PR people try and dig themselves out of a hole, hilarious for those of us living in the real world. Already waiting with baited breath what they'll come up with after BT and TalkTalk have scampered off into the distance...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bigger drop?

    Didn't it drop around 40% yesterday rather than the 25% mentioned in the article?

  17. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    You do it first......

    ***"We were only going to do it if BT did it and if the whole industry was doing it. We were not interested enough to do it on our own.”***

    Noooo, I don't suppose you would. Naughty *little* boys won't do something that will get them into trouble if the big kid has chickened out.

    I think that comment illustrates that the ISPs involved know that the legality of Phorm is (was) borderline at best.

  18. Al 14

    Shares are still overvalued....

    ... by 250p.

    Look Phorm, you were never a real company were you? Just a bunch of hackers and no-moral idiots with the opinion that making money is the be all and end all of everything regardless of how it's done. Just give up and try doing something truly useful instead!

  19. Adam Salisbury

    @ N2

    Genius, pure genius.........that is all

  20. Z 1

    Phuck off Phorm

    And don't come back.

  21. hi_robb

    Lets run a book

    How many days before Phorm goes down the tube in the UK.

    Everyone puts a fiver in and the person or people who get it right win the pot.

    The Reg staff can run it.

    I'm saying 30 days.

    p.s share price now 242p down 15% today

  22. Elmer Phud


    Once Virgin have quickly 'evaluated' the fading dust-trails of other ISP's there will be no surprises as they scamper off in to the sunset.

    Looks like the Phorm season is over

  23. Anonymous Coward


    It's great watching the demise of phorm, so utterly satisfying.

    Friday shares closed at 475p - todays shares have closed at less than half that at 233p. 2 days and it's lost half it's value.


    All we need now is for VM to jump ship and leave it to sink with the rats on board. As for the Hoon who left BT to go work for them....epic fail, bet your colleagues are having a good giggle over that.

  24. anonymous sms

    A Phorm Phan

    Well I thought it was a good idea based on sound market research of what the public wanted.


    I apologize for writing in thick crayon but that's all the nurse will allow me to have.

  25. MinionZero
    Big Brother

    Phorm is a warning not just now but for the future...

    Even if Phorm dies or is renamed or bought by someone else, DPI still now exists and someone out there clearly want to exploit it against everyone else. We need it clearly stated that DPI is already totally illegal and any company trying to implement DPI is instantly breaking the law and totally closed down and its directors thrown in jail. Nothing less. Fines are meaningless This is an attempt to achieve wholesale abuse of an entire population in a supposedly free country and this corruption must go to the very top. Who has been looking the other way? ... and why and what do they get out of turning a blind eye to Phorm? ... This is England, not China!

    What arrogant, self serving, greedy narcissistics are behind allowing Phorm to go unpunished this long? ... they need to be found and stopped. This abuse of technology has gone far enough. Even if Phorm dies the fact still remains that Phorm style companies have the same story as some of the worst self righteous, self serving, MPs. The call that we must use new technology when it becomes available. Phorm style companies and MPs need to learn that just because we now have ever more technology to abuse peoples privacy, that doesn't mean that's the right thing to keep on doing ever more.

    So there are still very serious questions to be answered about who has been allowing Phorm style companies to continue. Phorm is a truly shocking display of greed at the expense of everyone else, with utter contempt for personal freedom and privacy. There is no freedom in a world where a minority choose to spy 247 on everyone else, but then someone has been gaining to allow Phorm to get away with it this far.

    The principle that with great power comes great responsibility seems to be totally lost on MPs. Their take on it is with ever greater power comes ever greater power to control and manipulate others to exploit them ever more. There has to be a limit beyond which the abuse becomes intolerable for an entire population. At that point they trigger a revolution against them. With ever increasing technological progress, if we don't make a stand soon against continued abuses of technology, then we are running into a nightmare world where a minority abuse the majority for their own gain, without any way of pleading with the self righteous rulers to stop and treat others with compassion and empathy. The narcissistics in society will happily abuse technology as far as they can take it and so we need new laws to protect against their ever growing abuses of ever increasing power. The creation of Phorm is proof the narcissistics cannot be trusted to treat other human beings with empathy and so even if Phorm dies now, the technology is still continuing to improve. We need legal battle lines drawn up against the rampant and ever growing abuse of new technology as an ever more powerful tool to abuse others for their own gain.

    If we fail society is heading into a nightmare, ruled by an ever more powerful narcissistic power class, manipulating and controlling everyone for their own gain at the expense of everyone else and like all narcissistics unable to see themselves as wrong and so wrongfully assuming everyone against them is wrong. In which case we get no way to stop their abuses of power because they will not listen. Some fairness has to be put back into the system or this abuse of power is going to continue to get ever worse.

    The creation of Phorm is a warning not just now but for the future. This heartless greedy narcissistic minority have shown there is no limit to their intentions to abuse others for their own gain. They are without empathy and so we need new laws to stop them.

  26. Phil A
    Thumb Up

    We were only going to do it if BT did it

    Actually, a very valid comment from Charles Dunstone. The other side of the dastardly equation has often been forgotten, the advertisers Phorm needed to use OIX. Without BT, is there enough volume to make it worth advertisers considering placing adverts with OIX? Probably not...

    Phil A

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Phorm = morally illegal!!!

    Well, I am one of those sad gits that have DSL and cable.

    I use my servers on DSL plus as a backup for when cable goes down (happens around once a week for 10 -40 min.)

    I am generally very happy with virgin media, but if they are going phorm, I am going balistic, and willl take at least 18 consumer customers plus min. 10 business customers with me.

  28. N2

    @ Adam Salisbury - re N2


    Have a pint on me so theres a plentiful supply!

  29. The Metal Cod
    Dead Vulture

    Grave Dancing

    Reminds me of a Hammer House Of Horror episode where an old guy tap dances on the grave of his ex-wife and her fancy man (I think?). Maybe El Reg might want to run a competition for best on-grace dance or gesture for when Phorm do depart?

    I'll throw in my lot with a Windsurfer (a move from Puppetry Of The Penis). Wonder if the PP guys would create a move named after Kent? After all, they did for the Duke Of Edinburgh and David Blaine.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Oh yes!

    This is funnier than a naval bombardment on an orphanage.

    Schadenfraude at it's absolute purest.

    Come back Stratis, we hardly knew ye!

  31. Chris Hainey

    One word...


  32. John Sager

    @Hedge Fund

    You could try shorting Phorm shares, but I think you would need a friendly broker to help you do that. The interesting thing is, if there is enough shorting activity, it becomes self-fulfilling and the

    price drops as everyone loses confidence.

  33. John Smith 19 Gold badge



    We saw.

    We laughed.

    We know.

    We're in it for the money.

    Of course Kent still deserves disembowling.

  34. Robert E A Harvey

    A serious comment

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Go on VM, I double dare You

    I dare you VM to sit on the fence for much longer or even take on board the nasty Phorm.

    Go on you cowards, be brave and see how much money you can burn when you see the effect on the business, or lack of it, if you adopt this ill conceived DPI snooping.

    Where is your backbone? One way or another you have to soon get off the fence. We are all watching.

  36. James 55


    " I would like to dance naked on the grave of Phorm,

    Urinating effusively, shouting mindlessly to the sky:

    "Profile this, you bastards"


    That is the best comment I have ever read.

  37. Chris Matchett

    All aboard the Phorm train!

    choo choo!

  38. Tom 35

    They could rase some cash by...

    Selling Phorm Toilet paper and urinal pucks...

  39. Kanhef

    Could have been a good service

    had it been opt-in, with no secret trials and no association with previous spyware outfits. Seriously. Consider the hypothetical pitch: "If you choose to use this service, we'll watch which websites you visit, and use that information to display ads specifically tailored to your interests." Add a reasonable* privacy policy, maybe a way to pre-bias the data (e.g., I'm licentious, gimme the porn right away), and the 80+% of people who don't use FireFox and AdBlock will think it's great. Since it's opt-in, a little bit of cleverness will avoid examining anyone else's data. For example, a browser helper or something gives the server your current IP address and randomly-chosen unique ID number; only packets to or from registered IP addresses on port 80 are inspected. A 'heartbeat' ping or such would avoid collecting data from stale dynamic IPs. NAT might be a problem, but thinking about it for more than two minutes will probably find a solution.

    *'Reasonable' including things such as not collecting personally identifiable information (signing up could require just an email address, no names); not sharing raw data with third parties, only aggregate or analyzed statistics; and other clauses found in the privacy policies of respectable institutions.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Oi! Virgin Media!

    Do the right thing and kick these bastards so far into outer space we can't hear them scream, even with a radio telescope.

    When they're dead and buried, I shall dig a small hole on top of their grave, and crap in it.

    When I've filled the hole in, I shall light a fire on top, and dance around it... joined by everybody I know.

    Please don't join them in that grave... you will if you persist in the folly of supporting them...

  41. SynnerCal

    Still slightly confused...

    ... Have BT actually come out and said Phork Off? If they did then I missed the announcement.

    @Lupus (et al). VM have consistently said they're 'evaluating' this hellish brew, but has anyone seen anything emerge from this evaluation - surveys, plans, etc? Heck, if BT are now pulling back (and I left BT on the strength of their Phorming) and CPW are publicly saying 'no', then Virgin would have to be extremely "courageous" (in the sense of the word used in "Yes, Prime Minister") to proceed with it.

    So I guess what's needed now is a push by Virgin customers to make damned sure that VM bosses realise that a contract with Phorm is nowt more than a commercial suicide note. Here's my tip - when you phone customer services for something else, mention Phorm, and make sure it's very obvious that you think it's a bad idea. The last CS person I spoke to not only knew about Phorm but volunteered the information that they'd been asked about it before, and "people seem to really hate it". A phrase to gladden the heart of the righteous! ;)

    I've just renewed and extended my VM services but, like most here, they'll be getting cancellations of at least the broadband if they do go ahead with Phorm. However, personally I think this is most unlikely and Phorm - the bastard offspring of a snake oil seller and a communist secret policeperson - will die a slow, lingering, and totally justified death.

    (Beer icon in honour of the glass that I'll raise when the doors are finally closed at Phorm).

  42. Damien Thorn
    Paris Hilton

    tora tora tora

    Lord Norman Lamont must be thinking he has to get a job with someone who isnt hated by most of the world :P

    With the US, UK, EU off of the likely places phorm will work, it does not look good for the company.

    Paris because at least when shes fucked she doesnt deny it.

  43. Rod MacLean

    @Hedge fund

    John Sager wrote: "You could try shorting Phorm shares, but I think you would need a friendly broker to help you do that. The interesting thing is, if there is enough shorting activity, it becomes self-fulfilling and the price drops as everyone loses confidence."

    I thought they had an anonymous backer that could lend them several million any time they wanted it? If that's the case then even short-selling might not be enough to make the mystery backer lose confidence.

    It's good that they're dead but can someone please take the stinky corpse and bury it? I don't really think that there is much of a chance that Virgin Media are going to go along with Phorm. If they do then I'll be telling them exactly what I think of them and moving to a new ISP.

  44. John Bayly

    The funniest things is the bid/ask split

    Bid - Ask: 210 - 650

    Now that's a company in its death throes.

  45. Tony Paulazzo
    Big Brother


    BT have said, they're not not using it because of privacy concerns but due to broadband upgrades and TV stuff, but I don't get that, I thought rolling out Webwise was just pure profit, especially considering they must have spent money upgrading their servers to work with Webwise already. VM said, "Over the last 18 months, Virgin Media has conducted a comprehensive technical and legal assessment of Phorm's technology and ...consumers' attitudes towards interest-based advertising..." so have any VM customers here been asked whether they want deep packet inspection for relevant advertising?

    Ah, phuck it, yay! well done BT, even if the reasons given completely ignore your customers worries about privacy and integrity, you've at least done the right thing for the wrong reasons.

  46. Vanir
    Big Brother

    I will leave Virgin Media

    if they go ahead with Phorm or any such similar company. I did not know that VM had an 'understanding' with Phorm.

    I left BT partly because of their dalliance with Phorm.

    I fail to grasp why this interception technology has been allowed to go ahead without definitive legal and political restraint.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    When I cancelled my VM account last week giving the reson for cancelling as due to their dealings with Phorm I was first put on hold and then told that VM are categorically not going to implement Phorm. I pointed out the page about their dealings with Phorm on their own website, and said until it was official I was cancelling anyway. Here's hoping VM join the others in abandoning this insideous technology.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    The smug grin must be fading...

    ...on phormista number one's face even as I type. There's a particularly fine strain of guilty pleasure to revelling in another human being's pain when you just know, they really, really fucking deserve even last bit of it. Sadly they won't be the last, but someone is going to have large brass ones before they try the old "they're all thick so give 'em flannel" approach - no amount of formula grinning and optimistic spin gave this particular turd a shine to outweigh it's horrific stench.

    To anyone working at phorm who should read this: up yours - make better choices next time, and reflect on your current ones in the break between CV mailing.

    @MinionZero, Couldn't have said it better, but I would have sworn a lot more.

  49. James Pickett

    Deep joy

    I thought they were phucked when Normal Lamont joined them.

    Now, what refreshment shall I have with my lunch..?

  50. Eirik Hektoen

    The problem with Phorm

    isn't the targetted advertising - I would actually prefer to see ads that are relevant to my interests.

    The problem is that they want to achieve this by eavesdropping on private communication without consent.

  51. Andy Watt
    Thumb Up

    £2 and dropping...

    Pretty soon we'll be able to club together and buy them out? How about a whip-round, start a shell company and gain a majority share? :) I'd burn £50 just to see them fired from their own company before all IPR is burned, shredded and magnetically destroyed!

    DIE PHORM DIE - god, it's like trying to flyspray a frickin' hornet, it's still squirming!

    Somebody get the Dyson! Then we can suck it up and watch its' last squirms!

  52. Geoff Mackenzie

    Cheerio Phorm :-)

    Looks like this situation is really heading in the right direction now.

  53. Eponymous Cowherd

    Re: £2 and dropping...

    Its like watching someone pull the legs off a wasp. You know its cruel, but its strangely satisfying and enjoyable.

  54. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Oh no!

    Their share price hit a low of £1.92 this morning, then seemed to stabilize at £2. Then suddenly in the space of 4 minutes it's up 7% on that figure. What's caused that? Don't tell me some ISP has made and announcement in support of them!

  55. Hugh Jorgen

    @ Kanhef

    Slight flaw in your plan....

    I'm on here for the pR0n, not just any pR0n, but the free stuff. Now why the hell would I want targeted advertising directing me to sites where I'd have to pay for my pR0n??? they think I need help finding it? Um, ok, forget that, yes I do...but not for the content, I find it hard to type with both hands busy.....

    Mine's the one with the handy 10 pack of man size tissues stuck in each pocket......

  56. Jon Green

    @ John Bayly

    Sorry, John, you were quoting the wrong stock. You want PHRM:

    Currently bid:ask 200:215, ticker 201.87, down 40.63 (16.75%) on the day.

    Still not exactly the picture of equitacious health, mind.

    (Icon directed at Phorm, BTW, not you!)

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The original Phorm sales pitch used the phrase 'targeted advertising' which at some point became 'behavioural advertising' and has now suddenly morphed into the euphemistic 'interest based advertising'.

    Where I come from a turd is a turd and no amount of marketing spiel can render it otherwise. It is 'DATA THEFT ADVERTISING' and it is still endorsed by a government near you.

  58. MidnightVoice
    Big Brother


    You forget the plight of the non-OIX website owner under Phorm - whose website, and hard work in creating it, is plundered willy-nilly for the benefit of OIX advertisers, to the great detriment of the website plundered.

    Even if the user who is browsing opts in, Phorm would only ever be equitable if the website owner was asked if he/she wanted to opt in also, and would be left alone, unprofiled, if not.

    Something that Phorm could never pheasibly do.

    I really couldn't be happier that now they are going to have to phuck off and die. Hooray!

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like