Charter Communications Realizes People Don't Like Having Ads Injected Into Websites

from the a-slight-miscalculation dept

Last month, cable broadband provider Charter Communications said it was going to test the clickstream tracking/behavioral ad injection service NebuAd, claiming (hilariously) that snooping on you as you surf in order to present ads to you enhances your web surfing experience. It turns out that many Charter customers did not agree -- and they weren't made any happier when independent research into NebuAd's system discovered many, many problems with it, including the fact that you couldn't really opt-out. Also, Congress got involved, asking Charter to explain itself. That's never a good sign.

Charter has now agreed to back off plans to implement this clickstream tracking. However, the most hilarious part is Charter's explanation of why it went forward with this plan in the first place: Focus groups apparently indicated that "most broadband consumers would look upon this service favorably." Well, when you describe it as "enhancing" the broadband experience, rather than spying on your every action to present you with more targeted ads, people might say that. In the future, though, it may help to be a bit more straightforward with focus groups.
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Filed Under: clickstream tracking, isps
Companies: charter communications, nebuad

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 25 Jun 2008 @ 12:50am


    What's so different about NebuAd from Google's contextual ads, anyhow?

    Google's contextual ads are based on what you're surfing on that page alone. No additional data about what else you surfed is included. So, if you're on a page about golf, you're likely to see golf ads, but it has no idea you were also just shopping for a car on a totally different site.

    That's not the case with NebuAd. With NebuAd, all of your surfing history is used by your ISP to target ads at you. So you may see car offers on the golf page, because it knows you recently surfed a totally different site about cars.

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