Just An Online Minute... United Virtualities Heats Up Information War
The company this morning proclaimed it has developed a new technology to bypass cookie deletions by consumers. The new method, dubbed the "persistent identification element," or PIE, is tagged to a user's browser and, boasts United Virtualities, is nearly indestructible: "PIEs cannot be deleted by any commercially available anti-spyware, mal-ware, or adware removal program."
Well, not yet, anyway.
But surely it's just a matter of time. Once consumers realize that their computers have been "tagged," it won't take long for them to demand removal. And anti-spyware/adware outfits will oblige -- as well they should.
Ad companies often claim that cookies or other "tags" that collect information pose no threat to privacy because they don't collect personally identifiable information. But some Web users will want to keep information to themselves regardless of whether it will be linked back to their name or address -- just as some consumers decline to provide their ZIP codes when making a brick-and-mortar purchase.
The incessant demand for information on the part of marketers transforms consumers from purchasers into unpaid focus group participants. Until marketers can offer buyers a reason to engage, consumers will resist. Instead of futile efforts to devise technology to overcome that resistance, advertisers would do better to figure out what it will take to convince consumers to voluntarily share information.