Cookie Armageddon

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You are being Tracked


Wherever you go on the web today, you are being tracked, it’s simply a fact of being online. A great deal of this tracking is benign and has positive purposes such as presenting you with better content, better networking recommendations, special offers and generally a more personalised experience. But the reality is that a lot of data collected on you is now being sold to 3rd parties to target you in ways that are less appealing.


It’s not just you that’s being tracked, it’s your parents, grand parents and children as well as your colleagues and staff.


The tracking is now also becoming much more pervasive and potent, a look at the Google Dashboard gives you an example of the level of data that a company can have on you.


What can go wrong?


The companies doing the tracking and building up profiles on you may have good intentions today, but that can quickly change as the business evolves, meaning that your data might be shared and used in way you would really prefer it not to. Equally no system is perfectly secure and increasingly data is being compromised and sold on the black data market. Your profile, your family’s and your company’s profiles can then be used in any number of scams.


Benefits of Privacy Tools to the User


Privacy tools such as Ghostery are simple browser plugins and mobile browsers which let you selectively block 3rd party trackers that you don’t trust. Equally you can simply blanket block all of them and then un-block the ones you want to use such as video plugins. It’s been estimated that 10% of traffic is now protected by similar tools.


These privacy tools have a host of benefits beyond simply protecting your priacy with the web as it currently works. This is because the side effect of protecting yourself from being tracked across the web is that a lot of the commercial elements disappear off sites. There’s no point for an ad provider to display an ad if they can’t track if it’s been viewed.


Other key benefits include:

  • Faster page downloads
  • Less clutter
  • Longer battery life

The longer battery life one in particular was a surprise for me as moving to Safari and running Ghostery with all 3rd party cookies default blocked roughly doubles my battery life when browsing.


The best thing here is that once you have the privacy protector in place, it reduces 99% of the unwanted tracking taking place.


Disadvantages for Site Owners


The disadvantages to site owners of privacy blockers on the other hand are immense, and if not addressed will potentially cripple many companies, especially media companies. A fairly typical site which uses 3rd party solutions for delivering ads, promotion campaigns, sponsor campaigns, ecommerce, analytics, personalisation, advertorial (native advertising) and social sharing is likely to see all of these elements compromised or simply missing from their sites all together.





We’ve also created a short informative animation that takes you through it.





The reality is that if 10% of your online revenues are already being compromised, and this is likely to increase significantly over the coming years, then your company needs to be doing something about this now.


The Affino Way


There are going to be a multitude of ways for companies to tackle the issue, the first is to connect your systems together directly using real-time APIs behind the scenes, however most solutions providers are simply not set up to do this and the process will most likely be very costly.


Another way is to use fewer solutions to run your online business, but the reality today is that even when you use fewer solutions or solutions from a smaller number of providers, even the same provider, they frequently connect together using 3rd party cookies and that will all need to be reworked over the coming years.


The Affino approach is somewhat different in that Affino delivers the full digital front-end and doesn’t rely on any 3rd party cookies to deliver content, commerce, campaigns, personalisation, native ads or to analyse all the traffic and interactions on your site. It means that with Affino you simply won’t have the problem of people using privacy protection tools.


To understand more about the issues brought on by the rise of pervasive profiling and privacy tools get in touch with Jonathan or myself.

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