Updated: Behavioural Ad Net Phorm Takes A Battering In The City

Update: Never recovering from big morning sell-offs, PHRM closed at 1942.50 points – down a whopping 31.84 percent on the day and 44.5 percent away from February’s initial cheer about the launch.

Original post: It hasn’t even launched in earnest yet, but, as the UK is lashed by a severe storm today, so Phorm‘s share price is taking a pounding. PHRM already opened seven percent down from Friday’s closing price this morning – and continued to drop to 22.8 percent lower, before stabilising at 2325 points (18.4 percent down) by lunchtime. That’s still one third down from its 3505 points high just three weeks ago, when BT (NYSE: BT), Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) agreed to hand over data on their customers’ browsing habits to Phorm so it can draw up super-detailed user profiles advertisers will use to serve up ads on partner content destinations.

Despite the clear Big Brother concerns, few privacy advocates have publicly slated Phorm. Indeed, the outfit claims a handful of independent agencies and audits have given the stamp of approval. The company is currently engaged in a PR exercise that sees CEO Kent Ertugrul doing interviews and webchats to openly explain the concept to news media and bloggers. But the exposure is doing nothing for the company’s AIM listing, which began trading in May when the company rebranded from “121 Media” after its previous product, PeopleOnPage, was slated as “spyware“. Instead, like today’s storm, it seems only to be dredging up mud.