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  1. #1
    Roll Tide mobilebadboy's Avatar
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    Company Bypasses Cookie-Deleting Consumers
    United Virtualities is offering online marketers and publishers technology that attempts to undermine the growing trend among consumers to delete cookies planted in their computers.

    The New York company on Thursday unveiled what it calls PIE, or persistent identification element, a technology that's uploaded to a browser and restores deleted cookies. In addition, PIE, which can't be easily removed, can also act as a cookie backup, since it contains the same information.

    Cookies are small files often uploaded to people's computers as they visit websites run by retailers, entertainment companies, newspapers and other businesses. The text files contain information that's used to track visitors' behavior, or to offer visitors products or services based on information gathered during previous visits, a process called personalization. In addition, cookie-gathered information is often pivotal for advertising campaigns and e-mail marketing.

    According to JupiterResearch, a division of Jupitermedia Corp., 58 percent of Internet users have deleted the tiny files, essentially making many consumers anonymous during site visits. In addition, 39 percent of consumers are deleting cookies from their primary computer monthly.

    United Virtualities's PIE helps combat this consumer behavior by leveraging a feature in Flash MX called local shared objects. Flash MX is a Macromedia Inc. application for developing multimedia Web content, user interfaces and Web applications. The technology runs on a Flash Player that the company says is deployed on 98 percent of Internet-capable computers.

    When a consumer goes to a PIE-enabled website, the visitor's browser is tagged with a Flash object that contains a unique identification similar to the text found in a traditional cookie. In this way, PIE acts as a cookie backup, and can also restore the original cookie when the consumer revisits the site.

    While consumers have learned to delete cookies, most are unaware of shared objects, and don't know how to disable them.

    Mookie Tanembaum, founder and chief executive of United Virtualities, says the company is trying to help consumers by preventing them from deleting cookies that help website operators deliver better services.

    "The user is not proficient enough in technology to know if the cookie is good or bad, or how it works," Tanembaum said.

    While United Virtualities, as well as marketers and publishers, focus on the benefits of cookies, consumers often see them as an invasion of privacy and resent having them loaded into their computers without permission, experts say. In addition, unscrupulous marketers can abuse the tracking capabilities of cookies.

    Fear is also a factor. Consumers are constantly reminded about the risks on the Internet posed by spyware, phishers and viruses, so deleting cookies makes them feel more secure, even though it's unlikely to make them safer.

    Using technology like United Virtualities's to circumvent consumers could cause a backlash, JupiterResearch analyst David Schatsky said. The research firm found that many consumers understand cookies, and may be willing to allow some in their computers, if they are given the choice upfront.

    "(PIE) sounds like it flies in the face of what consumers are telling us," Schatsky said. "They're seeking privacy and control, and if this is denied, then they won't be happy."

    Tanembaum also warned against using PIE to thwart consumers.

    "Any abuse of this technology is not welcomed by us," Tanembaum said. "We believe people should use this technology responsibly. If people don't want cookies in place, then (their browsers) shouldn't be tagged."

    Consumers can make PIE inoperable by raising the security settings in their browsers to its highest level, Tanembaum said. But he acknowledges that such a high setting would also hamper consumers' ability to visit non-PIE websites.

    For its part, Macromedia has posted on its website instructions for disabling shared objects uploaded to browsers.

    In addition, the San Francisco-based company is discussing with Microsoft Corp., the Mozilla Foundation and other browser makers the possibility of letting consumers control the use of cookies and shared objects from one location in a browser, Jeff Whatcott, vice president of product management for Macromedia, said.

    "Our goal is to always put the user in control over their own data and machine," Whatcott said. "That's the approach we've always taken."

    Flash-built websites often use shared objects in gathering information from visitors. Besides data on how the sites are being used, retailers, for example, can track what visitors place in their shopping carts, or store a list of previously purchased products.

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  2. #2
    MasterMike HardwareGeek's Avatar
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    sound slike it will be used for evil

  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I don't think anything that is essentially forced on consumers is a good thing. If people delete their cookies, it's probably because they think they have a good reason to do so. Even if their reasoning is wrong, as in the perception that cookies are spyware, they are doing it because they feel they need to.

    I think all this type of cr@p just makes it worse for everyone. People will read about this, and think, "Websites are so bad for trying to track me when I surf..." and that just makes it worse for honest sites that respect their visitors.

    As mentioned above, I see opportunity for evil, and at first reading it reminds me of something a parasitic app might want to do.

    Andy

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador
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    Lightbulb Answer: Ditch Macromedia Flash
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy
    I don't think anything that is essentially forced on consumers is a good thing. If people delete their cookies, it's probably because they think they have a good reason to do so. Even if their reasoning is wrong, as in the perception that cookies are spyware, they are doing it because they feel they need to.
    If people end up with 50,000+ cookies on their Windows computer and are waiting a LONG time for their computer to boot up and are running out of disk space, they just may wake up and ditch Macromedia Flash.

    I think all this type of cr@p just makes it worse for everyone. People will read about this, and think, "Websites are so bad for trying to track me when I surf..." and that just makes it worse for honest sites that respect their visitors.

    As mentioned above, I see opportunity for evil, and at first reading it reminds me of something a parasitic app might want to do.

    Andy
    I think that it is just a matter of time before PerpsFromTheDarkSide.com uses this for criminal activity.

    RadarCat, Webmaster
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  5. #5
    Defender of Truth, Justice and the Affiliate Way
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    "Any abuse of this technology is not welcomed by us," Tanembaum said. "We believe people should use this technology responsibly. If people don't want cookies in place, then (their browsers) shouldn't be tagged."
    And I'm sure M$ feels that the BHO function and ActiveX should be used responsibly also. What a cop out statement by this outfit.

    I'm not liking the sound of this one either.

  6. #6
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Stupid idea that won't get any traction from the cart folks, Microsoft or the browser companies. Pure play MARKETING PLOY from the Adwhore data mining side of the equation. Hell I haven't had FLASH active on my personal system for years. Never will turn the bugger on or support any merchant with a FLASH intro site. My Safe Haven Network model verifys the shopper has cookies enabled before they can even land on a SHN merchant's destination page. Cost and effort to impliment this ZERO....now that's priceless.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador DesignerWiz's Avatar
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    And I'm sure M$ feels that the BHO function and ActiveX should be used responsibly also. What a cop out statement by this outfit.

    I'm not liking the sound of this one either.
    I'm not liking the sound of it either. Once the darkside realizes this is a viable option to increase their revenue potential ... you know it's a quick race to implement this new work around solution.
    Ray Thomas
    Webmaster Resources: http://DesignerWiz.com
    ABW Board Category: Programming / Coding
    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=190

  8. #8
    Member infoscott's Avatar
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    This has all the appeal of a Christmas fruit cake that's been wrapped and unwrapped for the past two years.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    There was a slashdot article on this one today: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?s...741248&tid=158

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador AddHandler's Avatar
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    While consumers have learned to delete cookies, most are unaware of shared objects, and don't know how to disable them.

    For its part, Macromedia has posted on its website instructions for disabling shared objects uploaded to browsers.

    -------
    PIE acts as a cookie backup, and can also restore the original cookie when the consumer revisits the site.
    So basically it will just be another reason for shoppers to have to do something else in order to "feel" safe.. now they not only have to worry about "cookies" but this to.. not good

    If they release it - everyone will know exactly how to disable it through Macromedia, so what good would it do?

    The "restoring cookies" didn't sound to good either.. who's cookie, mine or someone else's?

  11. #11
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    The "restoring cookies" didn't sound to good either.. who's cookie, mine or someone else's?
    That brings up an interesting What happens when two different parties are trying to restore different versions of the same cookie (like 2 affiliates who both want *theirs* to be it)?
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  12. #12
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Great script application to use and spread to your shoppers eliminating the EVIL Flash for ruining your web experience... No Flash http://www.bbshare.com/noflash/

    Also push these BHO infestation prevention tools which are free and effective

    The most important step you can take is to secure your system. And SpywareBlaster is the most powerful protection program available.Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware, adware, browser hijackers, dialers, and other potentially unwanted software like Macromedia Flash.
    Block spyware/tracking cookies in Internet Explorer and Mozilla/Firefox.
    Restrict the actions of potentially unwanted sites in Internet Explorer, Netscape and Firefox.
    http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareblaster.html

    One check mark disables Flash under the Spywareblaster Tools section. Only problem with Spyware blaster is end users have to be TOLD to unblock Bfast -5 commission junction and the linksynergy default cookie blocking in Firefox and IE browser sections. The networks should contact these valueable Anti-spyware tool makers and bribe or convince them to remove their default affiliate network cookie blockers.

    Also use this one for a shield up safe browsing experience whacking drive-bys and browser hijack attempts.
    http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/spywareguard.html

    Every move by ABW to keep the Adwhores from datamining, tracking shopping habits, snooping cart purchases, and using web bugs and spyware cookies is a movement to protect our ouwn small affiliate businesses. That data goes to the technology affiliates, IAB & DMA members, network run SEO/SEM competing enities for the express purpose to eliminate us from the equation by intercepting our work and shoppers.

    Not one effort has been made by the networks to change their original tracking cookie technology ...not one dime spent on that! The CJ, BF and LS sales tracking code placed in the merchants checkout confirmation page is the same as it was in 1998. Meanwhile Millions have been spent on datamining cookies and customer clickstream spyware apps by networks and merchants, with the gleened knowledge shared or sold to the elite few driving mass traffic with cookie cannons.

    Domain bound affiliates need to align themselves with the other enity being victimized by the dataminers, seeking to eliminate them from the mix. That ENITY is the datamined consumer cut-diced and spyed upon before, during and after the sale. You want longevity in the pay-per-performance industry? Help consumers throw datamining bombs and monkey wrenches at the Adwhores hell bent to gather all the commissions for themselves.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  13. #13
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    Since the whole freaking country is computer stupid (as they should be - a computer is a tool - like a car - each operator need not be an engineer) and since there are people who's agenda is to label cookies as evil to sell their ineffective "spyware" removal tools and since we're all politically correct little lemmings who feed on buzz words and not actual meaning and understanding of things, I think it's time to stop calling cookies "cookies" - we should rename them "daggers" to reveal the evil they do and the lives they wreck.

    We should also rename the computer mouse to be a "firery rolling and damning pointing device"...

    Computer monitors, well seen by the masses, should be called "power-consuming reflecting and evil light-emitting array devices"...

    And we should tell everyone how evil a car's catalytic converter is - it is silently and quietly hiding deep under your car and it's using some exotic metals as a catalyst to convert the underlying nature and behavior of some pretty nasty gases - all right under your nose... errrrr... butt without your knowledge or understanding. And to make matters worse, let's point out the government requires that all cars have these evil-doing devices that no one understands and that we all hate replacing when it comes time. Down with the catalytic converter - they are wrecking peoples lives. I also heard that they are slowing down the central processors at the IRS and so we're now all more likely to be audited.... I'm telling you, catalytic converters, computer cookies and al-qaeda all really have to be eradicated before it's too late for us all...

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager nish's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    I think it's time to stop calling cookies "cookies" - we should rename them "daggers" to reveal the evil they do and the lives they wreck.

    We should also rename the computer mouse to be a "firery rolling and damning pointing device"...

    Computer monitors, well seen by the masses, should be called "power-consuming reflecting and evil light-emitting array devices"...
    There you go Donuts! You have figured it all out.

    You made my day!

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