Charter (CHTR) To Customers: We're Watching You And Cashing In

NYT Bits scribe Saul Hansell (SAI 100 #29) confirms an earlier report that Charter Communications, the No. 4 cable company, has started warning its cable modem subscribers that it will start tracking all of the Web sites they visit. Charter (CHTR) will sell the data to a firm called NebuAd, which will use subscribers’ browsing history to target which ads they’ll see. Charter will test the system in four markets within a month and will then decide whether or not to roll it out to its nearly 3 million Internet subscribers, Hansell reports.

What’s the point? Charter portrays the move as an “enhancement” with which its subscribers would see better-customised ads. But in reality, it’s all about more money. NebuAd is willing to pay Internet providers “several dollars per subscriber per month,” Hansell reports.

The reality: While this may seem a bit creepy, it’s probably where the Web is headed. The data is being harvested anonymously. And Charter, to its credit, sent subscribers a relatively cleanly worded letter explaining the technology and how they could opt out. Other ISPs, like Embarq (EQ) and Wide Open West, wouldn’t discuss the targeting system with Hansell.

See Also:
So This is behavioural Targeting? Spooky
Google Softening On behavioural Targeting?
A National “Do Not Target” List Won’t Save behavioural Targeting. But We Know How To Do It

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