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Phorm moves beyond privacy - except when slating rivals

Emotive statements blow City Town Hall wide open

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Yet, Ertugrul is a giving kind of guy. In fact, he told the audience last night, he's going to help the quality and regional press keep the money rolling in even as the old models of publishing die out. Ertugrul told his listeners that nearly half the internet advertising spend in the UK goes to one company. He didn't say who, but he also mentioned that there is a certain “large search engine” which rides on the back of the news industry without giving much back in return. Good god, it's almost like a monopoly or something.

When Phorm rolls out, Ertugrul said, traditional publishers will have a sure fire way to exploit their quality content online. Meanwhile, he promised other content providers will get their slice of the advertising pie, whereas before they were just doing it for love. This, said Ertugrul, would mean that bloggers, social policy wonks, and presumably raving lunatics privacy activists would all get a slice.

“Most of the internet today is dark from a revenue standpoint,” said Ertugrul.

It's as if Phorm has gone and democratized the web, ensuring that everyone makes some money, and securing the flow of free content.

Except that there's only so much that advertisers can spend on net advertising. If the pot goes ever broader, perhaps the likes of the New York Times and Guardian might not be able to invest in quality journalism. We'd be stuck with, presumably, a lot of bloggers posting emotive statements.

So a year on, and what has Phorm achieved. It hasn't changed the world, and to be honest, it probably hasn't changed many minds. Except perhaps one. On the way out of the LSE, we overheard Lamont commenting on what a funny old world it was, and how “I never thought I'd be pleading to save the media.” ®

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