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The Internet Businesses The Almighty Buck

Marketers Back "Cookies Are Good For You" Campaign 408

Makarand writes "The increasing numbers of computer users who regularly delete cookies downloaded by their browsers is worrying online marketers and Web site publishers who feel that the changing consumer attitude towards cookies is harming cookie usefulness and unfairly lumping them with spyware and viruses. This industry group wants to persuade companies making antispyware programs to spare legitimate cookies while sweeping hard drives clean of unnecessary or harmful files. Some marketers think that providing consumers more information about cookies and how they're used might change their attitudes towards cookies. Others are already busy experimenting with newer approaches to serve up targeted ads even if a user has deleted his cookies."
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Marketers Back "Cookies Are Good For You" Campaign

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  • Also (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suso ( 153703 ) * on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:50AM (#12850870) Homepage Journal
    Brainlessly agreeing with what marketers say without seeking out more information is bad for you.

    Not that I'm against cookies, I'm just against stupidity.
    • Re:Also (Score:5, Insightful)

      by B'Trey ( 111263 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:04AM (#12850947)
      You're absolutely correct. But it's equally correct to brainlessly agree with what self proclaimed expert pundits say.

      Cookies aren't evil. They're legitimate tools that are quite useful. Like many other tools, they can be abused or misused for nefarious purposes.

      If you want to make your computer extremely safe, just unplug the network or phone cable or take out the wireless card. You're still vulnerable to local attacks, but you're absolutely safe from network attacks. Of course, this largely defeats the purpose of having the computer in the first place, but that's true to a lesser extent of other practices too.

      Security is often a tug of war between being safe and usefulness or ease of use. Blindly blocking capabilities because it might be unsafe, without understanding what the dangers are, is often effectively conducting a denial of service on yourself.

      • Doh! That should be "But it's equally bad to brainlessly agree with what self proclaimed expert pundits say."
      • Re:Also (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:55AM (#12851194) Homepage
        I design a lot of intranet based applications. And I *used* to use cookies a lot to keep user information. It was easy, convenient, and accurate. I never had problems.

        Then some whack job at my company started to tell everyone that cookies were 'dangerous' and they should block them. Of course then I started to get complaints that my systems no longer functioned. (I had it set up to notify the users what the problem was...not just throwing stupid errors.)

        It was a total pain to reconfigure the systems to deal with url/form variables everywhere, instead of just using cookies. And now a lot of the user-friendly functionality is gone. "Why doesn't it remember who I am?" "Because you turned off cookies..."

        Hundreds of hours of wasted time because one dork thought that cookies were spyware...and this is on an INTRANET site.

        I really wish they could understand what cookies really are...
        • Re:Also (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NickFortune ( 613926 )
          I really wish they could understand what cookies really are...

          They're a tool. Regrettably, they're a tool that has been widely abused by marketers. Remember the day when every ad placed a tracking cookie? When even the companies that had no ad to place had a clear gif that placed a cookie, just so they could know where you'd been?

          Remember how your hard drive would buzz as your bowser thrashed with all that tracking data? Remmber how long it ook over dial up?

          Don't blame your users, blame the corpor

    • Marketers mindset (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:49AM (#12851160)
      Just what is it about the people who have jobs in marketing that leads them to believe the public is something that they own? They seem to think that the 'market' is a giant ocean into which they are completely free to dip their nets or a giant forest through which they can just chop down the trees.

      The market, or the public spaces on the web, is more like a holy space or temple that they, as recognized sleazy sinners, should enter in fear and humility, desperate to seek forgiveness for their arrogance, greed, and repulsiveness.

      The idea that marketters should somehow be upset that ordinary web users would use software to keep them out of their computers is absurd. It's like rats complaining about homeowners putting up traps and poison to keep them out of the kitchen.

      Marketing software 'cookies' are like rat droppings. Finding them on your PC is a sign that you could have serious health problems in your system unless you start to take serious steps to get rid of the source of the problem.

      And, marketers who believe that they own you and your computer, is the source of the problem.
      • by NickFortune ( 613926 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @01:31PM (#12851723) Homepage Journal
        They make their living by manipulating the public. You work like that, you get to see people as something to be manipulate. As objects

        Worse in a way, it encourages the idea that everything in life is about public perception. It's not about the morality of the problem, it's about the publics perceived immorality.

        And yeah, some times a perfectly good company or individual gets stuck with a bad name. Most of the time though, its about getting people to stop hating the client so said client can carry on shafting all and sundry without the public throwin rocks at them in the street.

        You get people how think like that, then the cookie problem becomes "how can I make people think its ok for me to record their every web click, waster their online time and feed them intrusive advertising?" The question of wether something is actually ok is so far from their regular mindset, it never gets considered.

        I dunno, there are probably some nice marketers. On the other hand, "by their fruits shall ye know them" and all that...

        • The term "marketers" has kind of turned into a "bad word" on /. and for many people.. and that's a shame.

          The online industry, if you can lump it into one general industry, largely consists of individual affiliates who promote products for a company. It's a symbiotic relationship in that it allows people to make money on their web pages and it allows companies to find customers that they would not have necessarily been able to find on their own.

          Obviously there are a lot of companies out there who are looki
  • by khrtt ( 701691 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:51AM (#12850872)
    That's what my mom used to say... wait... no..
  • Well, if you can "serve up targeted ads even if a user has deleted his cookies," then the whole cookie thing is pretty much moot. You don't even need the cookies in the first place.
  • by coop0030 ( 263345 ) * on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:52AM (#12850880) Homepage
    C is for cookie, it's good enough for me; oh cookie cookie cookie starts with C.
  • by hawkeyeMI ( 412577 ) <brock@brocktic[ ]om ['e.c' in gap]> on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:53AM (#12850884) Homepage
    I wonder if I'm one of the people worrying them. I have cookies off by default, and only turn them on for sites that really need them by whitelisting.

    Those that I don't want to use a cookie for but have to, I allow to set one but only for the session.

    Firefox has been helpful in this, but I would like an easier method of whitelisting cookies than having to go through two layers of preference panels. And no, having it ask me every time a site wants to set a cookie is not the solution.
    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:00AM (#12850928)

      > I wonder if I'm one of the people worrying them. I have cookies off by default, and only turn them on for sites that really need them by whitelisting. Those that I don't want to use a cookie for but have to, I allow to set one but only for the session.

      I don't even do that. With rare exceptions, if a site will not render without a cookie, I just close the tab and visit one of the billion other web pages on offer.

      (I say this in hope that marketing types will be reading it.)

    • The Permit Cookies [mozilla.org] extension sounds like what you need. It lets you allow a site's cookies via a hotkey (ALT + C by default). The version from Firefox's Extension site seems to require an older Firefox. Clicking through to the author's homepage [gorgias.de] gets you to a version that works in Firefox 1.0.4.
    • It's fine to browse with cookies off by default, IF you know what you are doing. Unfortunately, most people aren't computer-savvy enough to do this. I run a site that has user logins; like Slashdot and thousands of others we use cookies to keep track of this. At least a few times a week we get emails from people saying "your site is broken, when I log in it says I'm not logged in on the next page!" Those people have cookies turned off (or blocked by some utility).

      In most cases, just blocking third-party co
    • How do you shop online, then? Or is that a tin-foil hat subject for you, too?
      • How do you shop online, then? Or is that a tin-foil hat subject for you, too?

        How do you shop online if you cannot read? ;-) He said he whitelists in the first sentence. In case you are unfamiliar with the technique you whitelist (allow) the store's domain so that the store's cookies work but all the marketing cookies refer to other domains and are therefore disallowed.
  • I hate Hollywood. They like to spout of on things they know nothing about. Take this high profile individual who granted an interview to the BBC to say that cookies are bad [bbc.co.uk]!
  • Thanks for reminding me.

    gets a chocolate chip cookie
    sits back at computer, clearing out the ad cookies

  • cookieisms (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:55AM (#12850898)
    The fact that people get assaulted with a barrage of cookie requests everytime they visit a website makes for a bit of an annoying visit. Ever try telling Firefox to ask before accepting a cookie? What the hell do I need so many cookies for when I visit "your" website? Also, with all the recent headlines about consumer information being mishandled makes people all the more wary. Capitalism cares nothing about privacy, only money.
    • i use cookies to remember the stylesheet[*] for a user, but if they dont accept cookies it gracefully falls back to the default (my favourite) stylesheet.

      cookies can be used for good

      [*]especially good for people with bad eyesight
    • Re:cookieisms (Score:3, Insightful)

      Capitalism cares nothing about privacy, only money.

      Money is fungible, thus it has the mostly unique ability to be a proxy for anyone's interests.

      In this case, "capitalism" DOES care about privacy because marketer's lack of caring has started to affect their bottom line. Their loss of money is the "privacy issue's" way of hitting them over the head in a capitalist economy.

      But, like any "good" capitalist, they are trying to solve their problems with privacy by the cheapest means possible. Instead of act
  • by DikSeaCup ( 767041 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:55AM (#12850904) Homepage
    Would want a site to leave something identifying me on my hard drive if it isn't a site like slashdot or Geocaching.com where I simply just want to be logged into my customized site. Statistics? No! I don't want you tracking *my* behavior that way - use the log file like everyone else.

    There are sites out there requiring a cookie to get past ads - you know I always give up at that point. I have never needed to see something under those cases.

    So honestly - one of you cookie advocates give me a good reason to accept your cookie just because I want to visit a page on your site.

    • Huge difference between session cookies and persistent cookies. Session cookies end when I close my browser. I have no problems with these. They are often very useful when the website doesn't want to deal with storage on their end.

      Persistent cookies... I nuke on a regular basis. I may switch on the automagic nuke ant end of browser session... but I have one or two sites (like slashdot) where I'd like to keep them...

    • Affiliate programs need a unique way to identify web browsers and visitors to the site over a period of sometimes weeks. Yes, its easy for someone to click on an advert and then be tracked from their point of entry, but when thye leave and come back a few times over the coming weeks before actually spending money, the original affiliate doesn't get credited with the sale unless the visitor can be somehow linked to them over time. This means cookies. If you remove the ability to credit affiliates with a sale

    • Here's one example (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Saturday June 18, 2005 @12:28PM (#12851383) Homepage
      Its commonly done in travel sites to maintain statefulness between page renders.

      Statefulness matters because unlike store inventory, there's not really the concept of a shopping cart. You want to travel between point A->B, but your choices from page to page will depend entirely on what happens with inventory completely separate from the web site itself (I realize in re-reading this paragraph that this is almost incomprehensible, but still...).

      Are there workarounds? Yes, but they're ugly, complicated, and unreliable, and require huge application servers, particularly when you have people coming from a mega-proxy like AOL.

      And these cookies are typically gone when you leave the site. They're simply used to track where you are in the purchasing process. Its nothing personal.

      Plus, I do find it handy that certain sites remember me, but that's more of a convenience factor.

      I'm sure there are many other reasons.
  • It's a fair point... (Score:3, Informative)

    by kafka93 ( 243640 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @10:56AM (#12850911)
    ... although I should note that I *do* work in marketing, as a Webmaster. But cookies really do have a great number of uses, and often provide a good amount of convenience to users without having too many pernicious uses in practice. When people who don't know better are prompted by adaware to delete all of their cookies, the net effect is more likely to be frustration than anything--people don't tend to remember their passwords, for example, so being "forgotten" by some sites is likely to be a pain.

    And while cookies might be used to 'serve up targeted ads', it seems to me that if you're going to be served ads *anyhow* then you might as well see things that might be of interest to you...
    • Tracking me across the we is NOT a feature. If you are going to educate the surfers about what cookies can do for them do it honestly. IMHO sites that use cookies should describe what the cookie will be used for, but I don't think ad sites would do that...
    • And while cookies might be used to 'serve up targeted ads', it seems to me that if you're going to be served ads *anyhow* then you might as well see things that might be of interest to you...

      Well, actually, no, I don't.

      You see, the value of my eyeballs is propoertional to the number of clicks you can get from me. Essentially, by tracking my click stream, you're raising the value of my eyeballs -- that is, you're charging me more for your site, without telling me about that. I don't trust someone who ra

  • worrying online marketers and Web site publishers who feel that the changing consumer attitude towards cookies is harming cookie usefulness

    Perhaps if online marketers and other leeches hadn't abused that useful tool (and Javascript, and Flash, amongst others, both of which I have disabled permanently out of despair), people wouldn't have felt the need to get rid of it.
    • by tomjen ( 839882 )
      I have not yet turned javascript of (not permanently anyway), but i do block .swf and i have installed adblock.

      Get it marketorid lusers - i dont want your porn*, propertary software or whatever. And i WILL block it, as i see it as a waste of my time, bandwidth and electricity.

      *All good porn are free on usenet anyway.
  • I remember back in the dark ages of 1994 when my family and I picked up our first internet-ready computer and hopped on AOL with a 14.4 modem. It wasn't long after that there were published reports of a secret form of subterfuge in our midst (the one in particular I remember was on the Today show). Something called a "cookie" was being sent to our computer as we browsed web sites, and it could track where we went and what we did. Some people in the media were outraged. Mom was somewhat apprehensive at this
    • I generally block most advertizing but ocassionally i'll come across something interesting, unobtrusive and it will catch my interest. Absolut ran a series of flash ads that just invited me to play with them.

      If everything were targeted to my tastes then i'd be far happier.

      Occasionally i'll actually rewind tivo to watch a commericial that caught my eye as I sped through it.

      Of course intelligent advertizing is expensive but I think it works. Lots of people watch the superbowl to see the ads and if marketer
  • Not just for ads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stripmarkup ( 629598 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:00AM (#12850929) Homepage
    Cookies are used for storing your session information and preferences for sites. That's what the mechanism was designed for, and so far nothing better has come up to replace it.

    In terms of tracking your preferences, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I don't like someone keeping track of my browsing preferences for unrelated sites. On another, I'd rather see ads that may interest me than yet another "punch the monkey" or "refinance your home". Most people hate ads because they are annoying and uninteresting to them, not because they are selling something. This is why Google is successful: they are good at improving the chances that the ad you see is related to what you are looking for.
    • I hate ads because they:
      • try to tell me what I want/need, informative sites work far better with me than ads
      • look out of place in the site, often intentional, e.g. in the middle of the text
      • are disatracting, bright colours, animation, sound(!)
      • are too big, all ads together shouldn't take more then 1/4th of my browser window
      • call for action, you are certainly not going to make me to click on a big flashing CLICK HERE
      • advertise products/services unavailable to me, you are wasting your money and my time


    • I hate them because they blink.
    • Sites should use encrypted cookies for storing your preferances , and if they wish to share your data it should be explicitly stated that they will.
      Forced encryption of cookies would be nice , perhaps encryption on both ends so you decide which site views your cookies (in a more secure fashion).
      Getting people to agree and use it is another story
    • Why see ads at all? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Inoshiro ( 71693 )
      Get Privoxy [privoxy.org]. You know you want to.

      I've been surfing the web, advertisement free, since 1998.
  • Marketers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KavyBoy ( 35619 )
    If marketers want to to keep cookies, then that's all the proof I need to delete them. If these are the people who brought us popups, popunders, flash adds, etc., then screw 'em. I will block their efforts at very turn.
    I keep cookies enabled by default, but delete them regularly, adding the sites to my "block" list. It's sort of a hobby to see how many sites I can collect.
    • Have Firefox "Ask every time" and you can accept the sites you like (/., newegg, sluggy freelance) and block the ones you don't like, maybe even add them to your hosts file.
    • did you read the article?
      that's not all they're trying to do.
      they're trying to get anti-spyware software companies to not remove data mining cookies.
      of course, microsoft seems to be the only one who agreed to not touch cookies in their anti-spyware program so far...
      and they're trying to undermine people deleting cookies.
      why don't these marketing geniuses tell people why they really don't want you to delete cookies... it takes money out of their pocket. see how much people care about that...
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:10AM (#12850974)
    And realizing that cookies aren't spyware, but rather a means by which marketing companies gather and compile data about me on my own computer so that they more effectively target me with their advertising makes me more attitudinally inclined too. . .

    Ummm, where's that nuke button again?

    See, that's the problem with marketers. They like marketing and think it's a good thing, so they think we like marketing and think it's a good thing.

    Whereas most of us think that Bill Hicks was being a bit of a soft hearted wuss in his displayed attitude toward them.

    He simply called upon them to kill themselves. We want to roast them, slowly, while we watch.

    Pass the beer.

    • by rhizome ( 115711 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @12:54PM (#12851525) Homepage Journal
      That's a sample from a marketing recording that Negativland once used
      that is apt to be pointed out here.

      >See, that's the problem with marketers. They like marketing and think
      >it's a good thing, so they think we like marketing and think it's a
      >good thing.

      In an environment where everything is up to the consumer, everything
      becomes the fault of the consumer as well. This myopia of never, ever
      focusing attention on the methods and history of marketing and
      advertising is a sign of their manipulative and authoritarian nature.

      "There is a culture of fear in the marketplace" when it comes to
      consumer attitudes toward cookies, says Nick Nyhan, president of New
      York-based Dynamic Logic Inc.[snip]

      He takes an attitude of empowerment (for lack of a better term) and
      turns it into a fault. His statement is just as legitimate when
      inverted to acknowledge the reasons why people delete cookies:

      There is a culture of abuse in the advertising industry.

      This is built in to the profession. Advertising doesn't work at all
      unless you are manipulated. Case in point: calling this a problem of
      "marketing," which is more "behind the scenes" and perhaps a bit
      mysterious, and not "advertising," which is what puts the cookies on
      your computer. Advertising is what everybody knows. Commercials are
      easy to dislike, and they know it. This was the genius of Bill Hicks'
      bit: including marketing.

      Marketers, meanwhile, counter that cookies serve plenty of useful
      features consumers may not realize -- such as automatically filling in
      a username on a site that requires logging in, or helping a weather
      site remember a ZIP Code so that it can show a local forecast on
      return visits.

      None of which has anything to do with marketing and the cookies that
      *ads* place on your machine. Personally, Firefox is great for me here.
      It deletes all of my cookies at the end of a session, and I've
      whitelisted all of the sites that I use passwords for. Good cookies
      stay, bad cookies leave. It's that simple, and by looking at my
      browser's cookie cache it's easy to see which are the good cookies and
      which are the bad.

      Mr. Hughes and others want software makers to draw a big
      distinction between spyware and cookies.

      How about good cookies and bad cookies? No distinction? Tiny
      distinction? By the previous example of using irrelevant registration
      sites as a reason to trust advertising cookies, Mr. Hughes already
      betrays his bias, that he is speaking for and responsible to bad
      cookies. To acknowledge this distinction would implicate himself, and
      he knows it because he doesn't mention it. Does he think that nobody
      would notice?

      Interviewer: Why should we keep cookies?
      Mr. Hughes: Because sites use them for things other than advertising.
      Interviewer: What about cookies used for advertising?
      Mr. Hughes: [sound of crickets]

      The company has begun marketing a technology known as a persistent
      identification element, or PIE. The tool uses features in Macromedia
      Inc.'s popular Flash software, which is used for designing and viewing
      animated online ads, to secretly make backup copies of a user's
      cookies before they are deleted. A handful of Web publishers and
      advertising companies are using the technology to track users,
      according to Mr. Tenembaum, though he declines to name them.

      Call me nutty, but not being willing to name the companies who are
      tracking users is not a good way to engender trust. What is this
      article about again?
  • Gah Evil Flash Games (Score:4, Informative)

    by Cylix ( 55374 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:12AM (#12850988) Homepage Journal
    What a nifty trick.

    Looks as if flash gives each site a very small amount of local storage.

    The article says it can be disabled, but doesn't link to any information.

    A quick trip over to macromedia shows the web access controls... which is handy for setting global restrictions. Not really sure where my flash panel would be other then when the module is loaded, but here is a link to a web based method of setting those restrictions.

    http://www.macromedia.com/support/documentation/en /flashplayer/help/settings_manager02.html [macromedia.com]

  • it pisses me off how cookies are used for evil, but they can have some uses that are great for web developers such as saving a default stylesheet for a user
  • by Naomi_the_butterfly ( 707218 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:14AM (#12851001)
    I originally read that as "Monsters Back "Cookies Are Good For You" Campaign", as in the cookie monster. hah.
  • Some sites which have no use whatsoever for cookies try to set them. What the heck do cookies do for me when perusing, say, recipes? You give me a reason for cookies, show some benefit to me, maybe I'll use them.

    Some sites try to send me a half a dozen different cookies. I have contempt for these idiots. If they can't just use one cookie and key everything off that, they are incompetent and I will ignore their cookies just for the sheer perverse pleasure of it.
  • Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by legirons ( 809082 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:18AM (#12851021)
    "Other [marketers] are already busy experimenting with newer approaches to serve up targeted ads even if a user has deleted his cookies."

    With attitudes like that, they wonder why people don't trust them?

    These are the same people that discovered Flash could open popup windows even when you've disabled javascript. The same people that think nothing of attacking any security vulnerability they can find to display adverts. The same people that fill-up my "blocked webservers" list with dynamically-generated hostnames. The same people that put ActiveX controls with .exe files in hidden parts of a website, hoping to take control of their customers' computers.

    Malicious use of anothers' computer without authorisation. Basically, "hackers" in the let's stop these criminals sense.
    • Malicious use of anothers' computer without authorisation. Basically, "hackers" in the let's stop these criminals sense.

      That would be "hackers" in the crackers sense. Though I recall the Byte editorial on "those darn golfers" and I knew it was too late even then.
    • This is just like the spam email with everything spelled in spamish vi.aglra chermist

      If you have to go to those lengths to get past a filter I put up, get a hint, I am not interested in whatever your pushing. The
      filter is there for a reason.

      We delete the cookies for a reason. Marketers who wont
      take NO for an answer is the reason.

  • Matthew writes "An increasing numbers of computer users now understand that cookies are being used to spy on their surfing habbits and profile them without their knowledge. Consumer groups and knowledgeable web users feel that the changing use of cookies by Marketers to spy on users and profile their web browsing habbits is harming the usability of the web the trust on which it is based. These consumers want to persuade companies making antispyware programs to destroy all cookies used by marketers to profil
  • cookies don't steal your CPU usage or disable your windows firewall.
    • Yes, but they do allow online web sites to try and rip you off by keeping track of the previous items you have browsed. It really blows me away to see an airline try and charge me 1000+ pounds to fly between two UK cities (normal price 100 pounds).
  • people are becoming more and more aware that they are being tracked and profiled nonconsensually.

    many people _doing_ the tracking and profiling _think_ that doing so nonconsensually is acceptable.

    the people _being_ tracked and profiled nonconsensually know that it's not acceptable.

    the people _doing_ the tracking and profiling know _unconsciously_ that doing so nonconsensually is _not_ acceptable. they know that if they explicitly informed the "trackees" about this activity and how the collected informat
  • This industry group wants to persuade companies making antispyware programs to spare legitimate cookies while sweeping hard drives clean of unnecessary or harmful files...

    I really hope the Anti-Spyware/Adware people tell them to "Fuck-Off"! Or at the very least, still flag their cookies on a seperate tab like Ad-Aware does for low risk stuff.

    Otherwise, I'm doing what everyone else does and block them all.

  • Is this tea-shirt [big-boys.com] a cunning part of the marketing strategy?
  • by antispam_ben ( 591349 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:39AM (#12851131) Journal
    It's what the title might as well be...
  • You shouldn't take cookies from strangers!
  • Yeah cookies can remember my zip code. Big deal, I already know my zip code, and it is only 5 digits. As it happens my web browser also knows my zipcode from the last time I entered it, so the moment I type '5' it pops up a little completion box with my full zip code in it. Same for my address, city, and State. (Speaking of state, why do I have to find my state in a tiny pull down box, The standard is two letters that are easier to type than it is to navigate that stupid list)

    I don't want one click

  • by tkrotchko ( 124118 ) * on Saturday June 18, 2005 @11:46AM (#12851153) Homepage
    Cookies are useful and necessary in many cases (or perhaps they avoid ugly workarounds for statefulness).

    But here's what everybody should do:

    1) Go to the W3C
    2) Come up with a "standard" cookie
    3) This standard would have plainly understandable fields that tell you *exactly* what is in that cookie
    4) The browser makers and MS would make cookies easily visible and browsable
    5) Users could then decide to keep a cookie based on (a) Who its from (b) its content
    6) Cookies that don't adhere to the standard could be deleted by browsers without comment.

    Can this be abused? Of course. But the answer to this isn't more marketing jargon, its to make the process more transparent so people understand what's going on.

    This is simple stuff. Why do we have to make it so hard?
    1. When google tries to set third party cookie tied to a keyword in you search. You then may have cookie for a site you never visited and one you may never visit
    2. When a site tries to set a cookie before any content is loaded. This used to be standard for those firms trying to get traffic through mistyped URL. Now, unfortunately, even legitimate websites do this more than not.
    3. When a site sets 10 cookies on the home page

    Business is about trying to set up a relationship between people offering a product or

  • By overusing cookies causing browser caches to get clogged up with them making users regularly remove them to keep performance up they did it to themselves. Their own greed is their undoing.

    When I see no less than 3 cookies for every advertising site recorded in my cookies file, something is seriously wrong.
  • These people are a day late and dollar short worrying about what cookies will do to online marketing.

    They should be worrying about what the mozilla extension AdBlock is doing to them, particularly the ability to block with regular expressions.

    I am still amazed that people put all of their banner ads in a directory on their server called "ads" which makes it easy to block advertisements without blocking anything else.

    I would make a comment about their intelligence, but how smart can I be blowing the whist
  • I would have to log into slashdot every time I visit.
  • just add an entry to HTTP get requests along the lines of

    X-Demographics: Age/32; Sex/Male; Location/Seattle; Hobbies/Games/WebComics/Everquest; Marital/Single; No/Loans/Credit Yes/Employment/Entertainment

    the keywords can be whatever the hell you want while it's in 'X-' status, logs can be scanned to see which keywords people actually use (suggested lists would come with the browser or plug-in that implements this). Some people will lie in their demographics, but odds are they would just be blocking the ad
  • Something really disturbing me about this campaign (aside from the "directly circument the user's explicit cookie settings by hiding backups in Macromedia's PIE and using them to restore deleted cookies") is the mention of coming after the anti-ad/spy/malware industry. Many of these products are aimed at the privacy conscious, and while you're scanning a hard drive anyway, it's quick and painless to throw in deletion of common common ad-network cookies. Are the marketeers going to pout and stamp around acti
  • What would be more descriptive of its actual use?
  • As part of a continuous effort of karma prostitution, I offer this related story:

    "Company Bypasses Cookie-Deleting Consumers"
    http://www.internetweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?arti cleID=160400749 [internetweek.com]

    Pertinent Sentence:
    "United Virtualities's PIE helps combat this consumer behavior by leveraging a feature in Flash MX called local shared objects."
  • The pro-cookie people have a petition [safecount.org] you can sign. But there's no way to vote no. So we need a way to vote no.

    Anyone interested in setting up "unsafecount.com", where you vote against cookies?

  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @12:35PM (#12851420) Journal
    I've found this configuration to be optimal for me:

    1. Always keep "ask before setting cookies" checked.
    2. When you go to a site you know would like to save relevant info on you (login status, online cart...), just check "allow sites to set cookies". Now you get to answer "yes" to its cookies or "no" if ad server cookies are sneaked in while you have this enabled.
    3. Afterwards, and in all other cases, keep "allow sites to set cookies" unchecked.

    You'll now never have sites annoyingly popup the "XYZ wish to set a cookie" dialog, and the only time you have to at all care for them is when you for the first time visit a site with cookies you want it to set. All other times, nothing will be set for stuff you don't want (disallow cookies in Firefox will still allow cookies you have formerly accepted) and nothing will be popped up about cookies.
    • To clarify again (not sure if this message got through well):

      If you disable cookies, cookies are still set and works for all sites you've earlier allowed to set cookies. You won't have to enable cookie support in Firefox for previously visited sites like Slashdot that you've allowed them for at an earlier stage.

      It's something with Firefox that may not be widely known, and exactly why the method above works, and if you use that method, over time you'll need less and less to enable cookie support.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday June 18, 2005 @02:36PM (#12852013) Homepage Journal

    If marketer's hadn't spent the last few decades making people feel as if they've been shot in the butt with a tranquilizer dart, poked, prodded, measured and sampled, then woke up with a tag affixed to their ear and a barcode tattoo on their forehead just for looking at an ad, perhaps more people might trust them today.

    If marketers didn't spend so much time trying to figure out how to cram pop-up/under/over/whatevers down people's throats and how to track their every move through the web, often exploiting browser bugs in ways that would get them convicted if they were 15 and in school rather than mid 30's and marketers leading to many browser crashes and hogging a great deal of CPU/RAM (yes, the bugs shouldn't be there, but that doesn't grant a get out of jail free card), perhaps people wouldn't mind marketing so much.

    If marketing would focus more on making sure new products ARE a great value and then letting people know rather than the current all too common mission of convincing people that bad to mediocre and overpriced products are somehow better than the competition's equally bad/mediocre overpriced products, perhaps people would be more inclined to listen to their message.

    I have met marketers that really DO try to influence product design to give the people what they want and who really do want to tell the truth about a decent product, but unfortunatly, those don't seem to be in the majority anymore.

    Of course, the absolute lowest is when a dozen or so PhDs in psychology gang up on 5 year olds to create reasonable (for a 5 year old) expectations that no product can possibly live up to.

    Much like the legal profession, the marketing profession has come to be dominated by bottom feeders out to legally rob the public. No amount of "image rehabilitation" will improve their public image until they find a way to flush the bottom feeders out of the profession.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"