The product is marketed at consumers and will be made available free of charge, but take-up will result in direct gains for advertisers in line with Phorm's main revenue model.
Webwise Discover will allow visitors to any web site to automatically be served up content within that site based on their interests from across the web. Consumers will sign up to the Webwise Discover widget, which will act as a personalised content index on any page of a participating web publisher.
Mike Moore, Phorm's global commercial director, gave the example of a user who checks a newspaper web site for sports news, but who also browses sites relating to red wine. Once the user downloads the Phorm widget, the next time they visit the newspaper site, they will be served links to its red wine reviews.
However, users of Webwise Discover will also have to accept the underlying technology that links to Webwise, which is Phorm's flagship product aimed at advertisers.
Webwise serves users accurately targeted advertisements based on their browsing information. Because Webwise is linked to internet service providers (ISPs), it differs from other behavioural advertising companies as it tracks whatever users do on the web, rather than on just the one site.
This has led to consumer anxiety about Webwise, and the stalling of planned deployments on BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk.
Phorm now hopes that consumers, who once saw no benefits in selling their personal data for more relevant advertisements, may reconsider. According to a Phorm survey of 2,075 consumers, 81 per cent said they liked Webwise Discover, particularly because of its anti-phishing capabilities.
But Phorm's main difficulty lies in product deployment. Although Phorm has started testing Webwise Discover in South Korea under the ISP KT, consumers in the UK cannot use the product until ISPs start to roll out Webwise, and Phorm gains opt-in from publishers.
The latter development is unlikely to take long; Phorm announced at the launch of Webwise Discover that it was holding meetings with the national press and social networks at an event on Wednesday evening.
The former development is the question. Phorm chief executive Ken Ertugrul said that it can be answered only by the ISPs themselves.
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