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NebuAd CEO quits

Captain declines to go down with ship

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The founder of NebuAd, the company best described as the US version of Phorm, has quit as its CEO.

With a Valley background at stalwarts such as Juniper Networks and Symantec, Bob Dykes was seen as lending the firm industry credibility. Public resistance and regulatory scrutiny in the US and UK have now put the future of the nascent ISP-level adware business in serious doubt, and he's taken a job as chief beancounter at VeriFone, which makes card payment terminals.

He'll be replaced at the NebuAd helm by his co-founder Kira Makagon, but continue in the chairman's role.

NebuAd had recruited about half a dozen small US ISP partners to tests of its technology earlier this year before the storm over Phorm blew across the Atlantic. Dykes then suffered an uncomfortable grilling by the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, when he equivocated over the vexed question of opt-in versus opt-out.

All of NebuAd's ISP partners have now switched off its systems or canceled further tests, a move that this weekend prompted the AP to wonder out loud what hope the firm now has. Unlike Phorm, NebuAd is privately funded, and it would be a brave investor who would sink more money into it now in the hope of waiting out the controversy.

Last month NebuAd parted company with its PR firm and several employees.

According to GigaOm, a company statement said: "NebuAd is also broadening its market via more conventional media channels and means. Accordingly, NebuAd's current President, Kira Makagon who has been responsible for NebuAd's advertising systems and media revenue, will assume the role of CEO to drive adoption of the platform across more traditional channels."

Currently non-existent, its market couldn't get any narrower. The outlook seems increasingly bleak for ISP-level adware. ®

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