Agency advice for NebuAd

Controversial American online advertising company to launch services in the UK.

A controversial US online advertising company has turned to agency support to launch its services in the UK.

NebuAd analyses the websites people visit, so that it can deliver online advertising based on their interests.

It means that the ads people encounter on the web can change according to previous websites they have visited.

A key element of Parker, Wayne & Kent's brief is to dispel the 'myths' about NebuAd and reassure people that their privacy will be respected.

The company has called in Parker, Wayne & Kent to reach out to advertisers, internet service providers (ISPs) and publishers.

This summer, the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications and the internet began investigating the privacy implications of NebuAd.

Paul Goad, NebuAd's UK managing director, said: 'People have entirely legitimate concerns about their online privacy and what happens with their data. We want to contribute to this debate.'

NebuAd is a similar product to Phorm, which already operates in the UK. Phorm came under fire after revelations that BT had been conducting trials of the system without the consent of users.

Earlier this year, Phorm hired Freud, Citigate Dewe Rogerson and ex-House of Commons media adviser John Stonborough in a last-ditch attempt to save its reputation (PRWeek, 20 March).

Phorm announced this week that BT would begin a new trial of the service using an 'opt-in' system for users.

NebuAd is in talks with Ofcom, the Home Office and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to establish a consensus for what is acceptable in terms of internet tracking.

Goad said NebuAd was waiting to ensure everyone understood the technology before securing ISP clients.

Daljit Bhurji, MD of social media specialist Diffusion PR, said despite the benefits of targeted advertising technology, people still believed it was invasive. 'Some people think it is a case of the cure being worse than the disease,' he said.

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