Sep 21, 2010

Cookies and all the front page news

At one job, we used to say to each other, "Don't end up on the cover of the NY Times or the Wall St Journal." Yet, the WSJ has been running an series on online website behavioral tracking, especially picking on usage of cookies.

The publicity of how cookies and tracking works helps create an informed marketplace. As the WSJ notes, cookies have been legal since 2001 and 2003 court rulings. It is especially the newer "Flash Cookies" that seem to be problematic, as they cannot effectively be deleted by website users wishing to do so, and they appear to replicate.

Let's just not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Cookies do have positive benefits for the user experience in CRM and PRM. They enable automated login, on return visits. Cookies can enable a continuity of experience upon subsequent visits, and well as customization of website content based on what has been viewed before.

Of course, if a user wishes to remove cookies, they sacrifice some of those benefits, but may also prevent other, more frivolous websites from tracking their scent. Caveat emptor: strictest privacy, unfortunately, comes at a sacrifice of quality of digital RM experience.