RealTime IT News

NebuAd Out of the U.S., Back in the UK?

Controversial online ad firm NebuAd shuttered its U.S. operations almost a year ago, but new indications suggest that at least part of the company is alive in the UK under a new name, INSIGHTready.

The INSIGHTready Web site contains only a single page, an e-mail link and the slogan, "Powerful Solutions for the Advertising Industry." However, the insightready.co.uk Web site is listed in WHOIS as having been registered by NebuAd.

Other reports today claim that the firm is being staffed by former NebuAd employees.

INSIGHTready had not responded to an inquiry from InternetNews.com by press time.

It's not yet clear whether INSIGHTready will follow the course charted by NebuAd, which faced criticism in the States for its practice of using data -- culled from its ISP partners -- to serve ads based on Internet users' Web activity.

The company promised that the ads it delivered used data without compromising privacy, but consumer advocates disagreed, and some even said that what the company was doing could be illegal.

Others thought that if there was no law against what NebuAd did, there should be. The scandal continues to inspire proposed privacy legislation on Capitol Hill.

Today's reports also come amid signs that NebuAd may be going out of business here in the U.S. Court documents filed this week indicate that the company has since mid-2008 been working to fulfill its obligations to creditors as it winds down its business.

Companies with similar business models continue to survive, however. Phorm, with offices in London and New York, offers advertising to ISPs. Although it is in business, it has not been free of criticism. The company has felt the need to launch a site called Stop Phoul Play to combat what it calls a "smear campaign" orchestrated by "privacy pirates."

Phorm claims the top three ISPs in the UK as customers: BT, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk.