The End of Cookies: Good Internet Marketing?

Are Browser Cookies A Privacy Compromise Or The Best Part Of Internet Marketing?

Pretty much everyone has heard of cookies. They are those (nasty?) things that track you on the internet, right? It’s just a part of internet marketing, yes?

Well kind of. But they are also those nifty things that once you’ve logged in to a site mean that you don’t have to keep logging in. They are the cool things that mean you are less likely to see ads completely unrelated to who you are and what you like to buy.

A cookie is a small file that can help a website remember who you are – great for online shopping when you put something in your cart and then leave. When you come back, your stuff is still right there in your cart. It can also be used to track you across other web sites or even across all the sites you visit.

Privacy Concern or Just Internet Marketing?

And that is where the trouble lies. Privacy is becoming an ever-increasing concern for folks as they surf the web – it isn’t anyone else’s business what sites I visit.

Now browser developers (like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla, Safari, Brave, etc.) are ending their support for 3rd party cookies to help protect consumer privacy.

What does this mean exactly? No one is sure just yet. As tracking 3rd party cookies goes away, you can be pretty sure advertisers will find new ways to target their market appropriately. And Google certainly won’t lose out as they will still be able to track searches on their search engine and track users who use the ubiquitous Google Analytics tracking for websites.

Does this mean that your privacy is better protected? Not necessarily. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in targeting and delivering ads simply moves the protections to a different level. But this is a step intended to protect consumers.

How it will all play out is yet to be determined but if you are not sure if your site will be affected, contact us.

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Online Privacy vs. Convenience and Communication

The latest trend in social media is “Location Aware” services whether it be Twitter, Facebook or the latest up and coming site, Foursquare. I’m an avid user of Foursquare, checking in mostly at public locations like restaurants, coffee shops and taverns but also at our office and even on my deck (one of my favorite places to be).

Seems pretty cool to let people know where you are, doesn’t it? Sometimes you might be bragging, “Waiting for roller coaster at DisneyWorld” and sometimes a bit more mundane, “Coffee at Starbucks with Tom”. But even letting your circle know that you’re talking to Tom might be a signal that the project is on, that the relationship has been solidified or even that you and Tom are an item again.

Emarketer’s report on Privacy and Geolocation shows that men and young people are much more likely to use location based media. It is a trade off. To have the convenience of sharing with friends (so they can join you or envy you or make decisions about where to go for the evening) you have to give up some privacy.

I read a very interesting article today in the Guardian on Foursquare and Cyberstalking. What can I say but understand the risks as you engage in location based media? You can also check out SafetyWeb.com, a site dedicated to helping parents keep their kids safe online. This is a fee for service site but they focus on keeping people safe and, for example, offered the tip of checking in on location-based social media AS YOU ARE LEAVING instead of when you arrive.

In any case, be aware that when you share your location, more than just your friends might be watching.

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