Web marketing folks are worried about the state of cookies — because antispyware programs are whacking them.

WebAnalytics makes the point that 3rd party cookies are dying, but the sky is not falling. It’s an outstanding article and well worth reading.

To wit: “The people who are most badly affected by monthly cookie cutting are the ad-delivery networks. These are the companies placing ads in many sites, and tracking exposure to the same users across all these sites. Third-party cookies are the life-blood of these agencies, and it seems 40 percent of the internet population doesn’t like them.”

Cookies are actually valuable on a first-party basis — meaning when they are only used for you and the website you’re visiting, without consideration to other sites. 

The internet is inherently “stateless”.  A website simply doesn’t remember or know who you are, and the minute you refresh a page, it thinks you’re a brand new visitor.  That’s why cookies were invented years ago by Netscape and are so useful.  You login to a site and it will remember who you are from that point on—and the site owner knows it’s you and not a new visitor. It creates a sort of persistent web experience.

Marketing people like Doubleclick soon realized that you could use cookies to track online habits of users and then serve specifically tailored ads.  That’s a third-party cookie.

So you can go radical and proclaim “The internet should be stateless!  All cookies should be banned”.  Or you can look at real issue that people have, which is these third party cookies.

Alex Eckelberry
(Thanks Eric)