Oh, I just love seeing marketing people squirm and sweat. I love reading about how their sales are slumping because people aren’t shopping enough, or how technology is failing to invade our lives quite as much as they would like it. It makes me smile with a warm & fuzzy feeling, knowing that somewhere out there, advertising
douchebags salesmen are losing sleep over next month’s disappointing numbers. In fact, it sorta turns me on a little. Ahem.
ANYWAY, I just saw this story about how the Web cookie is crumbling, and apparently the admen are beginning to freak out. Thanks to people deleting cookies more often, these people not able to track peoples’ shopping and surfing habits nearly as effectively as they used to.
A recent study by international research advisory organization JupiterResearch has found that nearly 60 per cent of American Internet users have deleted cookies from their primary computers, with 39 per cent doing so on a monthly basis. According to the report, as more and more people block or delete cookies, it could cause the long-term measurement of consumer Web surfing behaviour to be “severely compromised.”
“The effect that this will have on on-line marketers is fairly substantial,” says Eric Peterson, a senior analyst with JupiterResearch and author of the report. “People doing affiliate marketing [revenue sharing between site publishers and advertisers], those with long lead times between marketing response and actual purchases, and any site that depends on cookies to identify users over multiple sessions is affected by this problem.”
He also goes on to say, “The more people that delete cookies, and the more frequently that cookies are deleted, the more it will adversely affect campaign performance.” Oh joy!
Now, I’m not one of those people who claims that cookies are entirely evil. They have great potential for evil when used by marketing
invertebrates folks who like to track your every move, but the trick is to simply be smart about how you use them. F’rinstance, I save cookies for certain sites that I visit on a regular basis (Gmail, Amazon, TypePad, etc.). This saves me from having to log in every single time I visit. However, the rest of the cookies my PC picks up while I’m browsing during the day are wiped out when I reboot every morning, and the cookies on my office PC are cleared out at the end of each day. It’s simple to do, and it keeps them from following me around too much.
Of course, now they’re scrambling to find new ways to watch our behavior like the good lab rats they perceive us to be. One of the new technologies “restores original cookies and places Macromedia Flash MX files on users’ computers that can’t be as easily deleted.”
Oh, we’ll see about that.