Mediacom Web Ad Injection Was Test Gone Awry: Source

Mediacom Communications last month inadvertently inserted ads for its phone service into broadband subscribers' homepages as part of testing a Web-notification technology, according to a source familiar with the project.

The operator about two weeks ago initiated a test of the in-browser notification technology from San Antonio, Texas-based PerfTech, according to the person. Mediacom is investigating the tool for potential future uses, such as alerting subscribers of late payments or to notify them that they're approaching monthly bandwidth-consumption limits if the operator adopts usage-based billing, the source added.

The Mediacom ad was supposed to pop up in a new window, according to the source: "They were testing it to see if it worked." The test was suspended after Mediacom realized the error.

Mediacom declined to comment.

PerfTech spokeswoman Kathy Donzis, while declining to comment on Mediacom's test, said in an e-mailed statement, "Our platform lets an ISP send a message without restricting subscribers' access to the Internet in any way, and is time-sensitive and reliable.... PerfTech is categorically not in the downstream at all; the requested web content streams directly from the source server to the subscriber's screen; it is not even possible for PerfTech to touch, alter, modify, or even observe any downstream content."

Mediacom's Web ad injection was originally reported last week by DSLReports.

PerfTech customers include cable operators WideOpenWest, Oregon's BendBroadband and Ohio's Buckeye CableSystem, according to the vendor's website.