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SEM SEO Expert by Nima Asrar Haghighi: Are Cookies treated fairly? - Toronto SEO, SEM, SMO, Web Analytics Consultant .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

SEM SEO Expert by Nima Asrar Haghighi

SEM SEO Expert” is a blog written by Nima Asrar Haghighi. Nima is an Internet Marketing Specialist with expertise in SEM (PPC Advertising), Organic SEO, RSS, Social Media and Web Analytics (Google Analytics IQ Certified). Nima holds an MBA in marketing, B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering, Project Management Certification, and CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) in E-commerce. Contact: nima @ sem seo expert.com.

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Welcome to Nima Asrar Haghighi's blog covering Internet marketing topics such as search engine optimization, search engine marketing, Web Analytics, RSS and online marketing industry as a whole.


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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Are Cookies treated fairly?

Are cookies treated fairly? That is the question we need to ask ourselves. Nearly 40 percent of respondents to recent study on cookies conducted by JupiterResearch in April said they trash cookies monthly. This number is big enough to make Web analytics, Internet marketing and affiliate marketing industries worried. It means that the measurements on metrics such as number of unique visitors and number of conversions generated through an affiliate are not quite accurate.

The real question here is why an increasing number of people are deleting their cookies. I personally started deleting my cookies the very first year I started using the Internet in 1999. It was mainly due to the fact that I was not sure what cookies do and what sort of information they gather about me. Then the anti-spy-ware software programs fed my cookie-deleting obsession with indirectly suggesting cookies are not privacy friendly.

After few years of working in the industry, now I have a different view of cookies. Now, I don’t have a fear of unknown and I see the value proposition of cookies and know them to carry no code or viruses. Cookies offer Internet surfers with better experience through customized and easy to use websites and relevant ads. Even though cookies may carry information on where users have gone on the web, most of it is anonymously tracked and that is why I think cookies are treated unfairly.

In my opinion, one of the reasons why people started deleting cookies was the abuse of technology by some marketers as they bombarded Internet surfers with pop ups. To get rid of the pop ups, people started downloading anti-spy-ware software programs. This intensified the competition over market share among anti-spy-ware companies. To offer more to customers they started offering tracking and removing cookies in addition to spy-wares which in turns fed to the misconception that all cookies are harmful among average Internet users.

In addition majority of people could not distinguish between first-party, third-party, tracking cookies and with lack of education, and sometimes misinformation, see all cookies as harmful and start deleting them. While they do not mind providing more personal information to get discount cards or cable companies monitoring which channels they watch, their fear of unknown makes them wary of cookies even though they collect less personal information.

Of course there is always the danger of getting exposed to “Cookie Poisoning Attack”. I see this as a risk of using a new technology to thrive in such a fast paced life we have.

In my opinion, there is a need for collaboration between all web site owners, web analytic experts, Internet marketers and spy-ware companies to educate users. This could be in the form of coming up with a good list of sites with trusty reputation as initiated by Safecount.org or as simple as offering a brief introduction to cookies and how they are used on our websites.

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