BT’s Phorm Trial Starting Tomorrow

A month or two after it was due to commence, BT’s (NYSE: BT) trial of the controversial on-net behavioural ad targeter Phorm will finally start Tuesday morning. Earlier this month, Phorm conceded prepping the trial had “taken longer than originally anticipated”, but this morning it told the market its service will be offered to BT broadband subscribers as “BT Webwise” “over a number of weeks”…

“Following successful completion of this trial and an appropriate period of analysis and planning, it is currently expected that Phorm’s platform will be rolled out across BT’s network.” Trials with Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) are in the pipeline and the company says it’s in talks with other ISPs. The trial can’t come quick enough – without any customer base, losses tripled to $32.8 million in 2007 and Phorm raised £32 million through issuing new equity.

Phorm works by analysing every website and categorising visits in a client-side cookie, which is then interrogated by partner publishers to serve up relevant ads based on browsing history. The UK government ruled Phorm legal this month and police have abandoned their investigations; still, The Register bangs the drum.