Half Baked

The recent campaign by the AT&T-backed Future of Privacy Forum teaching consumers how to delete cookies has search marketers yawning. “The ‘delete cookie movement’ has been going on for about six years,” says Aaron Goldman, vice president of marketing and strategic partnerships for Resolution Media. “And I think the cookie deletion rate is less than 10 percent.”

“I don’t think an initiative to scare consumers away from cookies will get that far,” adds Eric Enge, president of Stone Temple Consulting. “I think the drive to obtain the functionality that is offered by relatively simple cookieing is just too strong. People aren’t going to want to give that up. The benefits outweigh the risks.”

Goldman feels it’s simply a tactic to make AT&T look like the hero. “It’s another shot over the fence between the search engines and ISPs. Now AT&T will be able to go on record and say ‘We’re the privacy advocates’; so when they try to charge Google a fee to use their pipes, they can get on their soapbox. I think it’s just posturing frankly.”

“A certain amount of vigilance is certainly a healthy thing,” Enge continues. “But I would be surprised if the practice of cookieing and collecting non-personally identifiable data changes any time soon.”

Even if it did, Goldman says marketers already have a workaround — companies are experimenting with ways to embed cookies. And if advertisers couldn’t use cookies to improve the customer experience, trust me, he says, “they’d find another way.

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