Earlier this week I noted
that Charter has started selling user browsing activity to NebuAD, a behavioral advertising firm I profiled in February
. NebuAD takes that data and delivers (through traditional ad networks) ads tailored to your browsing habits. While the opt-out system still has major issues, Charter's doing some things right (and some things very wrong). Unlike Embarq or Wide Open West
, Charter actually e-mailed customers to inform them of the new system instead of burying it in their terms of service. Also unlike other companies
, they're apparently willing to talk about the system.
CNET's Declan McCullagh e-mails me to note he's conducted an interview
with Charter's Ted Schremp, senior vice president of product management and strategy. Interestingly, while NebuAD CEO Bob Dykes told me
the NebuAD system uses deep packet inspection technology, Schremp tells CNET it does not. When asked why consumers don't see lower prices if their browsing history is generating additional revenue, Schremp had this to say:
(Customers) appreciate the notion that ads that are being served are attuned to their interests or potential interests. We view it the same way as offering faster Internet speeds. This is no different. It's about taking the latest technology and applying it as a way to be useful to our customers.
Just so we're clear: Charter is taking your browsing activity data and selling it to a third party for profit. They're then suggesting that doing so is an "enhanced online experience" (the phrase used in their e-mail to customers) on par with offering you faster connection speeds. Does insulting customer intelligence cost extra?