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  1. #1
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    The new do not track features in the latest browsers
    With IE 9 introducing a 'Do not track' privacy feature and Firefox already having one, what is the effect on tracking cookies? Has there been any research on how this may or may not affect the various tracking cookies put out there by CJ, Google, Linkshare, ShareaSale, Avantlink etc..?

    Here is an article on the new features and some tests they did, note how the doubleclick cookies were blocked by the new IE 9 feature - I wonder if this would prevent Google Affiliate sales from being tracked properly.

    The State of 'Do Not Track' in Current Browsers | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

    I did not find an existing discussion on this, I apologize if there is one, please point me to it, if so.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Search the forum for "cookie blocking". Here is a 2009 thread: http://www.abestweb.com/forums/midni...ookie+blocking

  3. #3
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    Thanks Chuck, that is old technology they are discussing. We need to find out the impacts of the new features in IE 9. Which from what I've read is much more robust then in version 8. IE is still about 55-60% of my traffic, so pretty important.

  4. #4
    Affiliate Manager affilorama's Avatar
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    Most browsers these days have the ability block/disable cookies. But this is optional. A user has to enable/disable this as most browsers, during first installation, has the cookies enabled. So a user would have to disable this and not all users know how to or actually would do so because most sites need to have cookies enabled.

    This is why I think this is not a huge problem. YET.

    Have a good day!
    Michelle
    Affilorama Group Ltd
    Affiliate Marketing by Affilorama | Free SEO Software by Traffic Travis

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  6. #5
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by affilorama View Post
    This is why I think this is not a huge problem. YET.
    It just became a huge problem. Microsoft enables do not track in IE 10 by default:

    Microsoft Turns on Do Not Track By Default in IE10
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  7. #6
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    More details here:
    In Ad Network Nightmare, Microsoft Making 'Do Not Track' Default for IE 10 | Threat Level | Wired.com

    So supposedly it won't block anything, it just sets a message that the user doesn't want to be tracked. The problem is that, if affiliate networks ignore this request, then they *might*, be opening themselves up to legal issues. I guess you could argue that Microsoft's decision to turn it on by default makes it really hard to know what the user really wanted.

    Damn, Microsoft shouldn't be turning this on by default. They seem desperate to get users back from Chrome and hope that a better privacy policy will help.

    I blame re-targeting. Flipping re-targeting is too creepy. It should have never been invented. Here is a discussion on Geno's blog that argues that it is re-targeting e.g. behavioral targeting that was the true target of the FTC's Do Not Track initiative

    http://www.amnavigator.com/blog/2011...ate-marketing/
    Last edited by isellstuff; June 2nd, 2012 at 09:06 PM.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  8. #7
    Member WebReviews's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    The problem is that, if affiliate networks ignore this request, then they *might*, be opening themselves up to legal issues.
    Hay Guys,

    Do you reckon that these affiliate networks will actually leave themselfs open to possible lawsuits by dropping a cookie anyway? I wouldn't think so!
    "You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water." [COLOR="DarkRed"]-Rabindranath Tagore[/COLOR]

  9. #8
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebReviews View Post
    Do you reckon that these affiliate networks will actually leave themselfs open to possible lawsuits by dropping a cookie anyway? I wouldn't think so!
    I think they have to do something to continue tracking and mapping sales -> affiliates or they go out of business. The IE user base is too large to honor "do not track" in the strictest sense.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

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  11. #9
    Member WebReviews's Avatar
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    Yeah I suppose your right, they're hardly going to let themselfs lose affiliates (sales)!
    "You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water." [COLOR="DarkRed"]-Rabindranath Tagore[/COLOR]

  12. #10
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    If they start losing revenue maybe its about time to go with cookie-less tracking methods!

  13. #11
    Member WebReviews's Avatar
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    Been honest with you Chuck, I don't even know how'd they'd go about that. Some form of opt in maybe?
    "You can't cross a sea by merely staring into the water." [COLOR="DarkRed"]-Rabindranath Tagore[/COLOR]

  14. #12
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Its rather complicated but there are other ways to track and some networks have been using it for years. You can use session variables but that limits you to the session unless you set a server cookie that records when the affiliate first directed the visitor to the site. Credit card companies are able to protect their redirects so why wouldn't a network work with them as they both gain profits. I fail to understand why the biggest networks are way a head on this.

  15. #13
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Finding a solution to this problem is going to be more complicated than finding an alternative to cookies. We need to remember that Do Not Track is about tracking a users behavior, not the underlying technology that records that behavior. When a user opts out of being tracked, they aren't saying that they don't want cookies, they're saying that they don't want online advertisers and other services that monitor and record their behavior to do so. Utilizing technologies other than cookies doesn't satisfy that requirement. Tracking is tracking.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

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  17. #14
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Thanks for the clarification, does that also mean that the refer data that has been transferred from a users browser for over a decade will not transfer? That also effects analytics. Otherwise as I mentioned the consumer can at least be tracked on the merchants server, information saved and if that same IP came back again a first party cookie could be used to record the sale and commission. If all that is blocked then how are social sites accessed without requiring a login every time?

  18. #15
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Not sure, but I would imagine that data that has already been collected would be safe to use as the guidelines seem to be more concerned with the collection of data going forward. Keeping in mind, of course, that as that data ages it becomes less and less useful.

    As far as analytics goes; "the FTC says “Do Not Track” is not just about behavioral advertising. It could apply to any service, such as Google Analytics, that have to do with “sites and servers that build up a profile of what an individual does online,” according to the FTC’s incoming staff technologist Professor Ed Felten." (excerted from FTC Backs ‘Do Not Track’ Browser Setting)

    There is nothing that I've seen in the FTC's Do Not Track draft policy that would prohibit a site from maintaining login information on cookies located on the users system. If that were an issue, then users could use alternatives like Roboform and Lastpass that are safer means of storing and entering passwords anyway.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  19. #16
    ABW Ambassador CathyM's Avatar
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    does that also mean that the refer data that has been transferred from a users browser for over a decade will not transfer? That also effects analytics.
    This is getting a little off topic but yes, google stopped sending referral data from users that are logged to gmail or other google products several months ago and yes it is a big loss of analytical data.

  20. #17
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CathyM View Post
    ,,,but yes, google stopped sending referral data from users that are logged to gmail or other google products several months ago and yes it is a big loss of analytical data.
    However, the Google still maintains and uses that data for it's uses, whatever that may be...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  21. #18
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    Is this "The new do not track features in the latest browsers" totally shutting off cookies? Or is it only allowing certain cookies? I can't imagine people having a very good browsing experience with cookies shut off.


    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    However, the Google still maintains and uses that data for it's uses, whatever that may be...
    You know that's right. They'll use every little bit of info they can harvest from you and apply it to ad serving the hell out of you.

  22. #19
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    "Do Not Track" is a suggestion. W3C says that the browser compliant behavior is for it to be off by default, which Microsoft is going against.

    Google's opinion and I bet all other affiliate networks will be that Microsoft is releasing a non-standards compliant browser and they don't have to honor the settings. This won't be resolved for sure without a lengthy court case. It could be that Microsoft is trying to lure Google into a conflict with the FTC.

    More here:
    Microsoft and Google play chicken over Do Not Track - Jun. 7, 2012
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  23. #20
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    Don't know why, but that article made me smile ...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  24. #21
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Coincidently, yesterday evening was working on adding analytics code (NOT the Google Analytics!) to a website still in production.

    Asked another affiliate to visit the website and to click on some outbound links.

    Here is what was discovered:

    Fellow affiliate was using FF13, which also has a "No Tracking" option, which he had forgotten was activated.



    Cookies were set and his clicks tracked on the network. However, no data was returned to our analytics software. Did not show he had even been there.

    However, what we discovered was our live tracking/chat/monitoring software DID pick up and track his visit.

    Once we discovered that he had the "Do Not Track" feature turned on, he disabled it and retested. Everything tracked in the analytics software.

    Have not tried the Do Not Track with any other browser, yet...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  25. #22
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    We all think of cookies just from an affiliate tracking standpoint.

    They have other important functions.

    If you place something in a shopping cart, and want a second item, the info on the first item stays in your cart because of cookies. Otherwise, you'd have to order each item individually.

    Best/Billy Kay

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