The topic of online privacy is heating up. Recently we talked about how a U.S. congressman is looking to pass the “Do Not Track Me” act. Now Firefox is entering it’s hat into the conversation. By default, a patch for Firefox version 22 will automatically block third party cookies.
Good news for privacy advocates. Bad news for some affiliate marketers.
The news isn’t unprecedented. Safari has been using this as a default setting for quite a while now.
Safari for computers and iOS has been blocking third-party cookies for users for over a decade.
The Two Sides
Advocates want these cookies gone by default. The believe that the vast majority of web browsers are unaware that they are being tracked. And even if they do know they don’t know the technical steps to take to avoid it.
The other side (read mainly marketers) believe that to not support these cookies is a mistake. While the average web browser may not know they’re being tracked they certainly won’t appreciate the untargeted ads they begin to see. There’s not a lot of benefit in advertising combs to bald men.
The other point of interest is that the decline of the 3rd party cookie could hurt eretailer’s bottom lines. What’s bad for the retailer is bad for the economy.
How This Hurts Affiliates
Some affiliates will miss out on commissions without 3rd party cookies being tracked. That’s just the long and short of it. Good affiliates won’t need the 3rd party cookies though.
Here’s what marketingland.com had to say about it
Reliable affiliate marketing solutions don’t set or rely on third-party data to find users. Instead, the cookie isn’t set until after the user clicks on the ad. Then it becomes a first-party cookie.
So What’s Next?
In an industry that sees huge changes on a nearly daily basis we can’t let this put us off. It’s just another matter of swinging with the punches. Here a couple of things to consider moving forward
- Understand Your Cookies – How do the networks you work with handle cookies? Will the Firefox change make a difference? Knowing is half the battle.
- Are you using cookie dropping practices that are about to be outdated? If so you’ll want to set a plan to phase in new systems.
There’s nothing constant but change.